MENU PLANNING!!! This is something that I always INTEND to do...but more often than not, I either make the plan and don't follow through, or I just don't make the plan. However, when I bite the bullet and do it, I find there are a LOT of benefits! A few of those benefits are...
1- WE SAVE MONEY $$$ - Everyone loves to save money and when I'm not running to the grocery store every day for one or two items to piece together something edible for dinner, I'm not only saving on groceries, but gas as well. Plus, I NEVER make it out of the store with just those two items. I always find other things I "need!"
2 - WE EAT HEALTHIER - When I plan my menu, I plan healthier meals, and I make sure I have everything on hand to create them. I don't look at the clock at 5:30 and realize I've only got time for grilled cheese, mac and cheese or chocolate chip pancakes! Plus, I plan for more fresh fruits and veggies as side dishes instead of rice, potatoes or bread.
3 - IT SAVES TIME (and STRESS) - The least enjoyable, and most stressful, part of cooking for me is deciding what to make. I often put off planning a weekly menu because it takes so much time. However, if I can just get it into my head that in the long run, if I take the time once a week instead of fretting about it every day before throwing together the above mentioned "meals," my time is far better spent.
4 - WE EAT LESS PACKAGED FOOD and WE EAT OUT LESS - Eating out less is something that we are doing MUCH better at in general, but sometimes I'm just tired and I don't feel like whipping something up from the scraps in my fridge while listening to my kids whine about "being so hungry, they're going to die." When I have a plan in place, it's much less tempting to pack the kids in the car and blow $30 on greasy fast food (I do like that I don't have to do dishes, though).
5- MY KIDS GET A SAY IN WHAT WE EAT - When the kids help me decide what we are eating, I hear less, "eww...this is gross...what are these green things?...this tastes a little like poop (yes, my kids are so fun to cook for!!)
So, the question is...HOW DO I MAKE A MENU PLAN? Should it been done weekly? Monthly? Do I assign specific meals for each day? Or just plan 7 meals and decide each day which one to use?
I don't know that there is a "RIGHT" answer. I think you have to figure out what works for you and your family. To help you decide, here are a few online articles that I liked...
Hope this helps you (and me!) If you have a planning tip that works, please feel free to share with all of us!! I always LOVE fresh ideas!!