Part Three is where the magic happens, creating a weekly menu plan! It will seem like a lot of information at first but hang tight.
Our menus start and end each bi-weekly pay period. For example when we were active duty military that fell on the 1st and the 15th. So, accordingly I would plan our menu to cover the 1st-14th then 15th-30th. Anything we had leftover in the fridge or pantry from the previous weeks that could create another meal was a bonus and helped to cut down on the grocery bill.
5 steps to planning your two-week menu:
***To aid in the process grab either a free calendar printout or good ol pen and paper to make a hand written list of dates you’ll be planning meals for.
1. check your schedules and include any nights that require something quick (think paninis, breakfast, salads, rotisserie chicken) (1-2 meals here, easy!)
2. using your list of “family favorite” meals jot down 2-3 you haven’t had in a while (now you have 3-5!)
3. add in any theme night or eating out (i.e;friday night pizzas) (2 more down =5-7 meals)
see how fast we’re planning?? You may have an entire week planned already!!
4. working from all the meals you have listed fill in the remaining days with meals that provide a variety, not chicken/chicken/chicken!
5. go back through the list and make sure all your meals include side dishes and you’ve paired the right kind of meal on the right kind of day according to your schedule.
>>>additional tips that really make it complete and effective<<<
-Find a way to hang your weekly menu for the family to see! It will also serve as a reminder if there’s anything that can be prepped in advance.
-Plan meals that render leftovers (I indicate leftover days with an asterisk) on weeknights so you can quickly pack the hubby’s lunch for the next day!
-Don’t forget to plan for lunches on the weekend (I keep a separate small list for kids lunch rotation ideas). After church everyone is always starving for lunch so 95% of the time I plan for leftovers from Saturday night. In the summer, it’s not as critical as we all just throw together some sandwiches and head outside!
-I also find it helpful to circle the weekend dates. Anything to help me get a clearer picture the better!
There you have it! Creating a weekly menu plan will become easier and easier the more you do it and save you lots of time and possibly money going forward!