Menu planning

14 Apr

If there is one chore I really can’t stand, it’s grocery shopping. I don’t have any particular reason for despising the weekly trip to the store so much – maybe it’s the long lines, the poor choices of produce, or the fact that our bill is always going to be more than I would like to be spending. Whatever the reason, I don’t like going so I try to make it as painless and fast as possible.

My usual approach is to come up with a weekly menu plan and build my list around it. First, I look through cookbooks until I find things that sound good that day. Then I write the needed ingredients down and a piece of paper, add some sides, and repeat until the whole week is done. Lastly, I add whatever snacks or non-grocery items are needed and the list is complete. After double checking the pantry to make sure we don’t buy something we already have, all 3 of us go to the store. That’s right, I make everyone join in the misery of grocery shopping.

Then I throw the list away and don’t remember what I had planned on cooking for the week. Efficient, right?

Eventually I got tired of the paper tactic and made myself a little spreadsheet that would keep track of everything.

Now, after I have my list all completed, I copy it into Evernote, which then syncs with my phone and presto! Paperless grocery list right at my fingertips! Recently I have been adding the items one by one to my Reminders on iCal, which also syncs right to my phone. The downside there is that I type everything twice. On the upside, GP and I can share a list and each edit/receive edits whenever we think of something we need.

Here’s this week’s menu. My favorite column is the one where I can write down ideas for the next week. I always come across a blog or a recipe in a cookbook, think it sounds great, then forget about it! This lets me record those and makes the next week’s menu planning that much easier.

It’s not foolproof – today we forgot to put sandwich things on the list and came home without them. Still, anything that makes our lives a bit more streamlined and a bit less hectic are great!

Any tips on menu planning or streamlining your life? If you want a copy of my spreadsheet, let me know in the comments and I can get one to you!


3 Responses to “Menu planning”

  1. ashpags April 15, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Ooh, good for you! I’ve tried to meal plan before and when I get to the planned meal I think to myself, “Eh, I don’t really feel like that, I’m going to make this other thing instead.” Also, I love grocery shopping, everything except the bill! What I have started doing is keeping a list on a mini white board in my kitchen of all the fresh/perishable foods I have on hand so that I am more likely to use them before they go bad. That seems to be working fairly well so far!

    • Gena April 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Ooooh, I like the whiteboard idea! We always seem to have some fruit or veggie go bad because we forget it’s in a drawer in the fridge.

  2. katiedid April 16, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I do this every week too! I usually go through the fridge, freezer, and cupboards to see if we have anything that needs using up (especially if it’s near the end of the month and funds are low). Then I plan the meals in Excel, print it off, and post it on the fridge. While I’m planning the meals I use the Notes app on my iPhone to type in my grocery list. I also keep a list of recipes I’d like to try. And, like you, I started all of this because of my hatred for shopping and it has really helped. I rarely forget things anymore and I only have to go to the grocery store once a week, on Sundays.


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