Managing Your Time In The Kitchen: Menu Planning

Menu planning is something that we often hear about doing to save money. Many people plan their menu around sales and coupons.

I agree that menu planning saves money and the main reason I started menu planning years ago was to save money. However, I now menu plan mainly because it saves me time.

Why does it save me time?

If I have a plan done ahead of time, I don’t panic at 5:00 looking around the kitchen, opening every cupboard to see what I can throw together for dinner.

If I have a plan I know what we are having and I can get right to work on cooking dinner. The time it takes to sit down once a week or several times a month to put together a plan, pays off in the end.

Not only does menu planning save time it allows us to eat healthier without putting much thought into it.

If I plan meals ahead of time I tend to make them more balanced. If I don’t have a plan, I find all to often that the fruits and vegetables get left out. I either forget to buy them or I forget to use them. It is much easier to plan out what fruits and vegetables we are going to eat during the week.

Next week I will post more details about how I menu plan and I will offer some tips on making your plan work for you.

Now I am curious, how many of you menu plan? And if you plan, why do you do it?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I meal plan for many of the same reasons as you: time, convenience @ 5pm, health, etc. It also helps me be focused on different recipes/requests my husband has for food. That way I can plan out meals that he can get excited about coming home for! :)

  2. Amy Ramos says:

    I menu plan for the same reasons you do-saving time, money and my waistline!
    My husband and I work long hours during the week and we do not have alot of time to cook meal on a whim(my max time in the kitchen for a meal is 30 mins). That is why I menu plan every Saturday afternoon. Yes, it takes time at first but when you get into a routine, it is really easy. PLUS, we dedicate at least one night for leftovers and then hubby cooks one night so technically, I am only responsible for about 4-5 meals.
    Also, we have a mini white board on our fridge and every week, I write out our dinner meals. I also make enough dinner so that we both have leftovers for lunch the next day!
    Finally-using the crockpot once or twice a week is a huge lifesaver for me. I know when we have kids, all of this menu planning will come in handy (freezer meals anyone?)

    • @Amy Ramos, The mini white board is a great idea. I write it down on paper and put on the paper on the fridge, but I might try the white board. I agree with the crockpot. It is a huge time saver.

  3. I wouldn’t know what to do without a plan! I do it for budgeting purposes as well as convenience and health. I like knowing what’s coming up and seeing that I am serving my family a variety of foods.

  4. I also do menu plan because I need to create healthy foods for my family, I have a ‘menu journal’ , for me it’s my guidance to literally see what am serving, and I also do a lot of research.

  5. I agree that a plan helps! I do try to plan. Sometimes, I do better than others, and I work every other weekend, SOOOO the kids really like it if I have something already thought up, or else hubby makes fishsticks.

    My only issue with planning lately is that hubby is in sales and summers are SLOW for commission, so grocery shopping is funky at our house right now. We have been doing a LOT of just eating our stockpile.

    I cant wait to read about how you plan, and I have enjoyed reading your recipes! Thank you for sharing your ideas with us!!

  6. We used to menu plan and I think it was good for us for all the reasons people have listed. When my husband goes through a bout of unemployment, however, the meal planning drops off as he takes over the household chores and doesn’t like to plan.

  7. I menu plan – cause if I don’t we end up going out to eat waaayyy more than we should! It also helps keep the meals balanced. And like lots of other people have said, it allows for requests from other family members to be fulfilled.

  8. I menu plan mainly because it saves me money. I always base my menu plans on what I already have at home and by what’s on sale at the store that week. That way I make sure I’m not letting the ingredients I have at home go to waste, and I’m making the most of my grocery budget. And that way I also don’t just go throwing lots of random things in the cart thinking, hmm maybe I’ll use that in something this week!

  9. I am extremely guilty of eating out if I don’t have a plan. We live near far too many great places to eat on the cheap, but most of them aren’t as healthy as I would like. I found that we were doing that two or three times a week and I put a stop to that and started meal planning.

    I take care of a little girl with special needs and during the school year, I don’t get home until after 9. That’s late to be eating dinner, let alone start it! My husband is thankfully very supportive and usually had dinner done when I got home. I love cooking though, so I found I was missing out on the aspect of wife-dom that I love the most. On Sunday afternoon, I spend a lot of time cooking several meals at once and freezing them. I have worked out a great system! Of course, there are a lot of things I can’t freeze, like the fixings for tacos or other fresh ingredients I need, so planning for those definitely comes in handy!


  1. Meal Planning 101: Getting Started | Food on the Table Blog says:

    […] Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures started meal planning because she needed to save money.  Now it saves her time and avoids the 5:00 panic.  When you’re getting started, she recommends: […]

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