Those of you that follow us on Snap Chat (ValentinasCornr), I have been sharing our menu list for a few months now. So many of you asked me to do a post on menu planning and where to start, so here we are. I promise, I am NOT an expert and don’t have all of the answers, but what I do know, I’d love to share.

Meal Planning Tips.Those of you who are skeptical, just please give it a try. It truly is life changing in so many ways. Yes, it takes some time to sit and plan everything, make a shopping list, but it’s so worth it. I plan for two weeks at a time, that just works better for me but you are more than welcome to plan one week at a time. When planning, all of the family members voice what they would like served. This is awesome as they get excited when their favorite meal is planning to being served.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

I try to go shopping once a month to a Wholesale store where I purchase in bulk. Then once a week, I just go off of my grocery list and get everything I need for the upcoming week. I prefer to do my grocery shopping on Fridays as the whole family is home during the weekend for all three meals and I love our fruits and vegetables fresh. Once I have our menu planned out, I go through the menu and make a shopping list off of what we are planning to have that week.

Benefits-

Can you just imagine not having to deal with “what’s for dinner?”, or trying to think what you did or didn’t have, or digging through your fridge to think of the things you could come up with? Awesome stuff.

You will definitely save money on groceries. Less trips to the grocery means less spent money as you won’t be buying on impulse but with a list. Stick to it. If you are walking down the grocery isle and you know you won’t be needing broccoli, no need to purchase it regardless if it is on sale. Two dollars here, one dollar there and at the end of the month those amounts really add up.

Most importantly, you will definitely not be throwing away as much food as you used to. That is what pushed me to begin meal planning. It killed me to have to throw things away food because we weren’t able to use it. There are so many people starving in his world and I knew something needed to change. That and my dislike for grocery shopping, haha, the dislike is for real!

Last, no need to run to the grocery store 15 times a week!. Whoot, whoot. And even if you will need to get something really quick, you’re in and out as you know what you need.

THEME NIGHTS:

Theme Nights are great. Sticking to a certain theme on a particular day of the week is wonderful. So say Thursday night is seafood night, usually on Thursdays we have seafood. The family gets used to the routine and it’s so much easier for me to think of what to prepare.

Theme night ideas:

Seafood

Soup

Fun Food

International (Mexican night or Italian, etc.)

One pan/crock pot

TIPS:

  • I have a binder I keep all of my menu planning papers in. Looking back at what we had helps me create for upcoming meals. Keep a list with big things that you are going to need to stock up on once a month. If you notice you are almost out of angel hair pasta, write it down so you don’t forget to check when you go bulk shopping once a month if you need it. Look through your pantry/freezer before you go do your weekly or monthly shopping, make sure you won’t be purchasing what you have tucked away behind cans.
  • Freeze leftovers! Then when something comes up and you just don’t have time to make dinner, just thaw and serve.
  • If you like trying new recipes, leave one day of the week to try something new, perhaps the day you do your shopping.
  • It’s okay if you skip a day, don’t beat yourself up for it, just move on. Life is life.
  • PINTEREST is a great place to save ideas for recipes from different bloggers that you enjoy. Those of you that don’t have interest, keep a journal with names of recipes you like for each category and if it’s from a blog, write down blog name so then you don’t spend an hour googling each of you fav bloggers and seeing where you saw that recipe you wanted to try.
  • Make meals that require fresh tomatoes, cuces etc. in beginning of week. Then towards end of week plan means that are in crock pots or one pan meals where the items you need won’t go bad.
  • Create a place in your kitchen where you have your meal schedule hanging, your grocery list and Stocking up list. As you think of something just jot it down. (I took a pic of ours, it’s at the bottom of this page.)

I created a few different templates for you to print out and use. There are different designs for weekly layout and bi-weekly layouts. 🙂 Yes, I took precious time to put these designs together so there is definitely a design that fits your style:).

BI-WEEKLY layouts:

Layout 1: (PRINT LAYOUT)Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.Layout 2: (PRINT LAYOUT)

Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.

Layout 3: (PRINT LAYOUT)

Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.

WEEKLY Layouts:

Layout 1: (PRINT LAYOUT)Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.

Layout 2: (PRINT LAYOUT)

Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.

Layout 3: (PRINT LAYOUT)

Meal Planning Tips, bi-weekly.

Grocery List-

Here is the paper I made and use for grocery shopping. I usually am able to reuse it few times. So if I went shopping this week and I still have open space to write, I just cross out all of what I’ve already purchased and use remaining space.

(PRINT GROCERY LIST)menu-planning-valentinas-corner-1-2Stocking Up:

This is the paper that I just keep track of things I will purchase in bulk once a month. I leave it up on my board as well that way I can just continue adding things so I don’t forget.

(PRINT STOCKING UP)

Valentina's Corner. Shopping List.

Here’s our Board of Stuff that hangs in the kitchen. Menu planning things, a place for receipts as I track every penny that we spend and income, TO-DO list for my hubs, kids’ budgeting stuff and our Russian/English vocabulary builder:).

menu-planning-valentinas-corner