It's no fun trying to decide
what to make for dinner every night. Planning your meals ahead of time often
saves you time as well as money.
Weekly meal planning
There are many different ways to plan your meals. How you plan yours depends on
how much time you want to spend now to save yourself time later.
your meals once a week. If you have limited refrigerator/freezer space and a
small family of three to feed, this plan might work best for you. You’ll only
go to the grocery store once a week. When you are getting ready to go to the
store, sit down and starting planning your menu for the next week.
Clean out the
This is a good time to go through this week's grocery ads to see what's on sale
this week. Also take this time to clean out your refrigerator to see what needs
to be thrown away and what can be re-used as leftovers in the next couple of
days. Cleaning out your refrigerator weekly is crucial in avoiding wasting food
that could still be used to make a perfectly good meal.
after you've cleaned out the refrigerator and scanned the grocery store ads, you
can start your shopping list. Try to plan around what you already have in the
freezer. For example, if you know you have a pound of hamburger in the freezer
and you know you have spaghetti noodles on hand, then you just need to put
spaghetti sauce on your list in order to have spaghetti for dinner one night.
may also find that, often, we don't need as much meat in our meals as you might
think. For our family of three, a pound of hamburger can be used for both
spaghetti and tacos. If you cook the hamburger all at once, you can just put
half of it in the refrigerator for the next meal (a big time savings!). If you
already have taco shells on hand all you need is to make sure the sour cream you
have in the refrigerator is still good, and add lettuce and tomatoes on your
Stock up on sale items
You should always stock up on meat when it's on sale. If you do you'll find that
at some weeks you'll end up buying almost no meat at all, if any. Also stock up
on items, like jars of spaghetti sauce, when they're discounted. Then you’ll
always have a quick dinner ready on a moment's notice if you already have
hamburger and spaghetti noodles on hand.
weeks you realize that you already have much of what you’re going to need for
the week. Some of the staples you can keep on hand: sour cream, cheese, taco
shells, spaghetti noodles, egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, onions,
potatoes, garlic, tuna, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, black olives, canned
clams, and rice. These ingredients make a lot of the meals we eat, like:
hamburger and rice, beef stroganoff, tacos, spaghetti, clam chowder, and
hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes.
system might work really well for you and may save you lots of money. Plan once
a week, shop once a week, and don't give a thought to meal planning for the rest
of the week. And you don't hold yourself to cooking a certain meal on a certain
night. I usually decide that day what I'm going to cook for dinner to be a
Extra room in the
There are many other ways you can plan your meals. Some people cook once a month
and freeze their meals for later use (requires a lot of freezer space).
Meal planning doesn't have to be hard. Modify your plan to suit your
family's needs. Just make sure you HAVE a plan. It will inevitably save you time
as well as money.