• A menu plan saves money. Reducing trips to the supermarket, a menu plan reduces impulse spending. Using leftovers efficiently cuts food waste, while planned buying in bulk makes it easy to stockpile freezer meals at reduced prices.
  • A menu plan saves time. No dash to the neighbors for a missing ingredient, no frantic searches through the freezer for something, anything to thaw for dinner.
  • A menu plan improves nutrition. Without the daily dash to the supermarket, there's time to prepare side dishes and salads to complement the main dish, increasing the family's consumption of fruits and vegetables.

1. Start small and simple.
  • Don’t go for the whole month of planning right away, but start by planning out a few days and then progress to weeks and months.

2. Overview of the Process.
  • Scan the food ads for specials and sales. Rough out a draft menu plan: seven dinner entrees that can be made from weekly specials, side dishes and salads.
  • Wander to pantry and refrigerator to check for any of last week's purchases that are languishing beneath wilting lettuce or hardening tortillas. Check for draft recipe ingredients. Review your shopping list and note needed items.
  • Ready, set, shop--but shop with an open mind. That 59-cent fryer won't look like such a bargain next to a marked-down mega-pack of boneless chicken breasts at 89 cents a pound. Be ready to substitute if you find a great deal.
  • Return from shopping. As you put away groceries, flesh out the menu plan. Match it up with the family's calendar, saving the oven roast for a lazy Sunday afternoon, the quick-fix pizza for soccer night
  • Post the menu plan on the refrigerator door. Refer to it during the coming week as you prepare meals.

3. Build a personal shopping list.
  • Include the items that you need at the store on a regular basis. Fill the list out as the week progresses so you know what will be needed.

4. Make it a Habit.
  • Simple or not, a menu plan won't help you if you don't make one. Weekly menu planning is a good candidate for the Habit Patrol. Get into the habit of planning before you shop, and you'll get hooked--one addiction of great value.

5. Recycle Menus.
  • Use your menus more than once. You can even mix up the days during the week from old menus and end up with a whole

For more information about Menu Planning click on the following links:
Organized Home
Simple Mom
Dinner Planner