What I like to do for my meal plan is to sit down once every 2 weeks (usually the day that I get all of the grocery ads) and plan out meals for the next 2 weeks. I find that I waste a lot less when I start by taking a minute and writing down all the food in the fridge that is perishable and then pull out my cookbooks and try to plan out all my meals around what I already have. That way, I use what I have, less goes to waste, and my shopping list tends to be a lot smaller.
As far as filling out the sheet that I made, when you plan out meals, plan around your schedule... For instance, I used to have cub scouts on Wednesday, so Wednesdays ended up being left over night, or a frozen pizza; anything easy so that I wasn't tempted to just pick up fast food.
The column on the menu plan for ingredients, is great for me, because I like to find a recipe, write down all the ingredients needed and that way when I am all done planning my meals, I can go through my kitchen and check off all the ingredients that I already have. It makes it so easy to make my shopping list and I don't end up buying more than I need.
Well that is my Weekly Menu Planner, so if you want to use it, just click on it to view full size and print it out.
I also wanted to share some things that I have learned about grocery shopping.
1. PLAN your shopping trips
- Do not make random trips to the store, I used to do this all the time and almost every time I would do this, we would end up buying stuff that we didn't need
- Take a Shopping List and stick to it. It is hard to do but, if you don't stick to your lists, it always seems that when you get to the store you suddenly "need" more than you did before and usually if you didn't think of it at home, you don't need it.
- If you did forget something and need to make a quick trip to the store, just get what you forgot, don't browse around. I find the more I browse, the more I want
- Look for deals, coupons and ads can save you lots of money. I like to plan my meals around what is on sale.
- Beware: Even though something is a really good deal, it doesn't mean that you have to buy it. So don't obsess over ads, because buying something on sale is still more expensive than not buying it
- I like to eat left overs for lunches, but my husband isn't able to go home for lunch, so we by him microwavable stuff. Just make sure you plan something for lunches so that you don't have to "pick something up"
These are some of the things that I have found useful for Menu Planning and Shopping, but if you have more ideas, please comment, I would love to hear them.