With menu planning you actually make the meal twice: 1st time is when you make it in your mind while you are planning. 2nd time you make the meal is when you actually do it. AND! — the 2nd time is always easier than the first.
Here are a few benefits of using a menu plan
• Less stress — make fewer decisions.
• Time saving — process oriented.
• Less food waste — buy what you need.
• Enjoyment — attain your goals.
• Variety — embrace the spice of life.
• Healthier — know what goes into your food.
• Budget friendly — use store specials to buy local and seasonal.
Download this Menu Plan template to get started with your fast and easy weekly cooking.
Steps to making a menu plan
1. Choose the length of time (3 days? 2 weeks? Monday - Friday?)
2. Select or make a template (there are many free menu templates online). Fill in the blanks for each meal starting with:
- the easiest ingredient — your favorite meat, or favorite veggie
- the hardest food item, this could be your least favorite item that is on your plate
- coupons from newspapers, online, a store flier
- a specific dish (ex: lasagne)
- a cuisine (ex: Mexican)
3. Use recipes or not: if you don't use recipes then determine the ingredients for each dish, and have a cooking method in mind.
4. Take inventory and make a shopping list: check the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry. Don't forget seasonings. Now is a good time to throw out unwanted food items.
5. Set a date for shopping and cooking.