Simple Menu Plans: Thinking Through Your Needs

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source: romanlily

source: romanlily

I’m so excited about this Weekly Hot Spot, and I can’t wait to get input from each of you on the role menu planning plays in your home.

This will definitely be a meaty week (no pun intended!), as there are dozens and dozens and dozens of great posts across the blogosphere dealing with menu planning. I’d say there are almost as many methods as there are posts, and so we’ll be highlighting a bunch of different methods so you can create a system that works for you!

Let’s start by thinking through our individual needs:

Food Preferences

::Thinking back over your meals for the past few weeks, what stands out about your family’s food preferences?
::Do you eat a lot of casseroles? Meat-and-potatoes type meals? Pasta?
::What meals does your family love and request often?
::What is your parenting philosophy when it comes to eating what’s on your plate? Do you serve as a short-order cook, or is everyone expected to eat what’s served?
::What foods do you avoid because most of your family dislikes them?

Type of Cook(s)

::Who cooks in your home?
::What is your/their skill level?
::Do you like to try new recipes, or do you stick with the basics that you know?
::Do you cook from scratch or look for easier meals?
::Do you follow recipes carefully and exactly or often find yourself improvising?

Menu Planning in the Past

::If you currently use a menu plan or have in the past, what were things you liked or disliked about your system?
::Do you prefer to have set days for the meals on your plan, or do you just follow the basic plan and fix whichever one appeals to you on a given day?
::What is the biggest challenge you face when menu planning?
::How much time are you willing to invest in a menu plan system upfront? How about on a continuing basis?

Like I said above, there are literally dozens of different methods for menu planning, each with their own strength, but answering some of these questions before we start looking at the different options will help you decide which plan will work best for your family.

Do you have a system you love or one you’ve admired from afar? I’ve got quite a few bookmarked already, but if you have a post to share (from your own blog or another one), I’d love to include it in this week’s link roundup!

Also, I’ve got a new poll in the sidebar. Come vote and tell us whether you regularly plan your meals and how your system is working for you!

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

3 Responses to “ Simple Menu Plans: Thinking Through Your Needs ”

  1. I have no choice but to menu plan, I have a home daycare and the state says I have to have a months worth of menus posted. I usually just rotate the menus, I keep a large supply of basics on hand and rotate fruits and veggies through the weeks, changing if something is on sale. I need to work more on dinner menus though, it is easier to plan for kids, they don’t come home at night and say something doesn’t sound good like my husband does. I really don’t have too much of a system, by biggest problem for breakfast, lunch and snack is that I am required to serve a certain numbers of serving a day out of the food groups. Which I like to balance my meals but sometimes it feels really forced.


  2. Meal planning has never been my thing – I’m terrible at planning. When I think I’m going to try a new recipe, I inevitably get all the ingredients in my basket, then realize a KEY one is not available! This just happened to me (again) the other day. I don’t know how to substitute, since I’m not a cook, and especially if I’ve never tried the recipe before!

    My husband is super picky – no meat, fish, eggs… (he doesn’t think he’s picky).


  3. Menu planning has been such an awesome tool in keeping our household running smooth. No more wondering what is for dinner or wandering around the grocery store aimlessly. I don’t plan meals each specific day. Over the weekend, I make a list of what meals sounds good (usually based on what’s on sale) and then I just get the ingredients at the store. I fix whatever sounds good that day. Right now, I only plan dinners. I usually have left-overs for lunch and we have the same staples for breakfast. That is getting boring. I need to add lunch and breakfast to my planning.

    Marci’s last blog post…When the going gets busy…


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