Last week I covered some of the reasons why I menu plan. Today I want to continue the menu planning theme with tips for making your plan work for you.
I tend to be a person that likes schedules, but I know many of you are not. Not everyone likes a plan or routine. Some people like and need a little more flexibility.
Many people are turned off from menu planning because they don’t make it work for them. They think it has to always go as planned, but it doesn’t. In fact, my menu plan often doesn’t go as planned.
My number one tip for menu planning is to make it work for you.
My plan works for my family, but it may not work for yours. Don’t try to do what I do, figure out what works for you.
We eat at home almost every meal, but you may not. Maybe you work full time, or have no children at home. You might have a schedule that is continually changing.
Most of the time like to plan three meals a day, seven days a week, but you might not eat that much at home. If that is the case, just make a dinner plan. If breakfast is the meal that you struggle with, then start with just planning breakfasts for the week.
If you tend to have really busy weekends and do not want to be locked into a plan, then just plan Monday through Friday meals.
If you do not want to plan a specific recipe, just put the meal type on the plan. If it is easier for you just put Mexican or pasta on the plan instead of a specific Mexican recipe. This will give you a little more room for change.
Enchilada Rice Casserole
Some people I know do Mexican on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, soup and/or sandwiches on Wednesday, pizza on Friday, etc. Having a theme works better for them then having a set recipe plan.
This is your plan; you can do what you want. There is no right or wrong way to menu planning.
I think too often people avoid menu planning because they do not like to be locked into a plan, but do not look at a menu plan like this. It is not set in stone. Make it work for you and your family.
Many times life happens and my plan changes. We all have sickness, doctor appointments, broken down vehicles, kid’s schedules, etc.
That is to be expected, just go with it when that happens. You are not failing if you don’t stick to the plan every day of the week. It is okay to relax with your plan every once in awhile.
If you menu plan do you plan all your meals or just dinners? How do you make your plan work for you?
I try to plan dinners one month in advance. I don’t have too many rules, but I do like to do something a bit more fussy on Sunday since my mother and daughter come to that meal. Other days I just try to not repeat the protein from the night before. For example, I have a beef day, a fish day, a chicken day, etc. I like to say my menu is fluid, always changing. It takes a lot of the stress out of trying to decide what to prepare on any given day.
I often try to plan around the side dishes also trying not to repeat the meat for the day. So one day will be chicken and rice and another day might be biscuits and gravy and then the next time I do chicken it might be with potatoes in the crock pot.
We recently moved and it’s been really hard to come up with lunches that we all like and have time to make so most often one of my daughters is making bread for the day and we almost always have sandwiches. We made Tortillas yesterday and that was a nice change of pace. I really love bread but it’s too hard to lose weight while eating bread. Your post is inspiring me to get going on this again. I have a very loose menu plan of sorts but it definitely needs tweaking and lunches added in.
I am glad my post inspired you. Lunches are always hard for me. We used to do leftovers a lot, but as the kids have gotten older there are fewer leftovers to use as lunch. I need to work on getting more creative with lunches. And big changes like moving are always hard and take time to get back to a schedule and routine!