I do up our menu plans each week, now. I find it easier to catch the sales that way!
My menu planning process is dead simple, really.
1) What's on Sale?
I look through the weekly flyer to find out what is on sale. You could do this with multiple flyers if you shop at more than one store.
The store I shop at has a digital flyer where I can click on the item I want to buy--and when I am done, it generates a shopping list I can print.
I have a ceiling for how much I will pay for meat "on sale." This week, only the chicken breasts met my price point. Fortunately, I have other meat stockpiled in the freezer purchased throughout the month when it was on sale.
2) What Do we Have?
Clipboard and pen in hand, I go downstairs to the freezer and check on what we have.
Turns out, there's lots.
So, so far I have two lists--what's on sale and what we have.
The third piece of information I need is my work schedule. You may need to take other activities into account. I like to know when the kids are working, too.
2) When Am I Working?
If I am not going to be home to make supper--then I either plan something the kids or Chris can make--or I plan a crock pot meal. Turns out I have one shift next week that's from 1:15pm to 8:15 pm. Definitely a crockpot night!
Another night, I work until 4pm--so that is going to be something dead simple.
3) A Source for Recipes.
Recently, I have been using skinnytaste.com to find yummy calorie conscious recipes. I also have my trusty recipe binder. A pinterest board is another option: but if I used it to sort recipes, then I would probably have separate boards for each category: chicken, beef, fish, crockpot, vegetarian. Given the rising cost of meat, I now plan at least two vegetarian meals per week.
4) My Menu Planner.
I use a word document with a place for my schedule, dinner, and notes on the top half and a place for a shopping list on the bottom half. The shopping list is divided into categories, like so:
sorry, we print everything on scrap paper: you can see the other side bleeding through.
Whenever I choose a recipe, I type it next to the night I want to make it and then look it over for ingredients we need and type them into the appropriate category.
I will also add the sale items in a different colour so I don't have to flip through pages of stuff. (I do bring my print out for back up and clarification.)
Here's my completed menu plan (and shopping list) for the coming week. As you can see, this late in the month, all I really need is fresh food (and the sale items).
All set for grocery shopping this afternoon!
If you'd like a squeaky clean copy of my menu planning form, you can download it from Google Docs in two formats:
1) a WORD document: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-_zTxY8ozUVRWJ6VENkY3hfVTA
2) a PDF document: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-_zTxY8ozUVQ1c3TUEtejdyQm8
Do you menu plan? Would it be better if you did, or are you fine with deciding that day?
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