Planning a weekly menu

I know – I knowyou’re busy and you don’t want to take time to plan your menus even though you know it would help you shop. But if you think about it, you already are planning your menu – when you decide at the last minute what to cook or order out today.

Jot down what you prepare each day for a month – on a calendar, piece of paper, on the back of a junk mail envelope – spend ½ an hour at the end of the month looking for too much repetition or not enough vegetables, etc., and you’re done.  You don't have to plan for 7 days a week...that way you can use up leftovers.  Even 3-4 planned meals a week would help your budget and sanity.

Now you have what folks in the institutional food business call a “cycle menu” – one you can rotate over and over again. Research shows that most families use a limited number of recipes anyway. You might want to try 1 or 2 new recipes each month depending on what is fresh and available.

Make up a list of items on this menu that are not something you keep on hand, divided by each week, and you are a long way towards your grocery list. See if this won’t help you get away from wasting your time (and your money) at the supermarket or fast food window every night after work.


  1. I just found your blog today, I have been looking at multiple sites with an interest in menu planning. One of my goals for 2013, to be more efficient cook and financially sound. Thanks, Tammy J @

  2. I fall off the menu planning every once in a while! Usually I plan the next week on Saturday and pick up any needed groceries. Plus I also keep a pretty stocked pantry. Planning our menu really cuts down on our grocery bill, along with helping me keep my sanity. Although my family might argue that last statement. Ha!

  3. The way I menu plan is by the grocery store circulars. I see which store, of the 3 in my area I shop from, has the most or best things on sale and then plan a menu using those items. For me it's an enjoyable thing. I like to organize in my head but I guess it's not enjoyable for everyone.


Hi...we'd love to hear from you.
Comments are moderated before appearing...Thanks.