What’s for dinner?

The dreaded question that plagues us day after day and can wreak havoc on a perfectly nice day. I know some people love to cook and enjoy spending hours in the kitchen concocting delicious meals for their family to enjoy.

I am not one of those people.

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Even if I didn’t work, had no children, and had endless time to prepare a meal uninterrupted I still wouldn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking.

It’s just not something I enjoy.

I cook because I need to and because cooking at home is almost always cheaper and healthier than eating out.

It’s no secret that I’m a planner and that I organize most areas of my life. So, it should really not come as a surprise that I plan out our menu days and sometimes weeks in advance. There have even been times that I have planned for an entire month.

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Reasons to menu plan

  1. Whoever gets home first is the one to start dinner and there is never a question of what to cook
  2. You can grocery shop on one day a week and be sure you have everything for all meals for the week eliminating extra trips to the store
  3. You don’t have to think and try to make a healthy dinner choice after a long day at work
  4. You won’t be tempted to go out to eat or pick something up because you already have a plan
  5. You will save money since you won’t be doing #2 or #4. You will plan ahead for eating out.
  6. You can be assured that leftovers won’t go to waste because they will be accounted for in the menu plan. Growing up it was known as “MUSTGO night,” because everything in the refrigerator must go.

We have been menu planning in our house since we were married. There are times that I get sick of trying to figure out what to make for dinner. That is when our menu planning suffers. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to get right back on track, because I hate hearing, “what’s for dinner?”

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We have tried many different methods for menu planning including:  a list, a calendar of sorts, and most recently an app called COZI.

With COZI we can access our menu anywhere.

I can check while I’m at work and if I have a free minute while waiting at an appointment I can begin planning for meals in the future. Cozi also has a nice feature for a shopping list. So while we menu plan we can add things to our grocery list. Brian and I both have access to the app so we can both be responsible for the shopping and menu planning.

There is no excuse for one of us to claim we didn’t know what was for dinner so we ordered pizza! (though that doesn’t always stop Brian.)

What are your tips for menu planning?

2 comments on “Why I Menu Plan and Why You Should Too”

  1. While I don’t plan for the whole month in one sitting, I will keep a monthly meal calendar. I can mark times when we’ll be out of town or when we’ll be home late (work, Brian’s games, etc). My biggest struggle is not having a lot of space in my fridge, so all of the Sunday pre-prep for the week is really out. So I struggle with finding meals that are quick and healthy.

    • While I would love to prep for the week on Sundays, it doesn’t always happen. Even just looking at what the family is doing every night is helpful. You can plan which nights need to be quick versus a little longer meals (in our world longer is anything that takes longer than 20 minutes to prep, nothing fancy here).

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