menu planning.

I started planning out my meals a few months ago. I don’t follow my plans all the time, but when I do it certainly helps. If I don’t make something one night, I know I can bump it to another.

It’s made grocery shopping easier; I know exactly what I need, and I don’t have to wander looking for inspiration.

I waste less food. I plan around what’s languishing in the fridge, and I only buy as much as I need for the meals I’m making.

And best of all, meals get started sooner in the day. I don’t have to think about what we’re going to have that night, or what I’m in the mood to make. And if meat needs to be thawed or marinated, it’s already done the day before. I end up making better food instead of quickly whipping up pasta and jarred sauce with salami thrown in yet one more time.

I both looked for and made a few meal calendars over the past few months, looking for one that would work best for me. I finally made one that I like enough to hang onto for a while (despite the fact that it’s rather utilitarian).

Breakfast is always the same for us, and rarely requires planning unless we have guests so I didn’t bother including its own separate row. The other row is used for baking or prep work that I want to do during the week. I usually write ingredients that I want to use up along the bottom of the page to keep them in mind.

If you want to use this, click on the image for the printable pdf file (it prints two to a page). At the very least, give meal planning in general a try and see how it improves your meals and your ‘what’s for dinner mood’.

P.S. Another (prettier) meal calendar here. Or use a whiteboard or chalkboard in your kitchen – although it means the grocery list isn’t very portable.

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