The internet has a plethora of menu-planning resources. There are many, many methods of doing this, and with a little bit of research, you can come up with many options and styles of menu-planning. Some plan a menu for a whole month. Some plan for a week or two. Some plan only suppers. Others plan three meals a day plus snacks. Some plan only main dishes. Others plan EVERYTHING, including condiments! With time and practice, you will eventually fall into your own style and method. Be patient with this process and don’t panic if something doesn’t work for you.
My personal recommendation is to start by planning only one week. HOWEVER, plan all three meals each day of the week, and if you’re ambitious, plan your snacks, too.
There are two ways of doing this:
1) Use the menu planner I have provided on the Printables Page, or choose one from the Menu Planners list on the Links Page. Plan your meals with the specific days in mind. You will end up with a little weekly “calendar” type menu plan.
2) Make a list of 7 breakfasts, a list of 7 lunches, a list of 7 suppers, and a list of however many snacks you think you’ll need.
Usually, I do a combination of these two. I use the calendar-type menu planners, but I list snacks separately instead of “scheduling” them. And I don’t stick to the assigned day for the meals. If I have Minestrone Soup planned for lunch on Monday, but for whatever reason we don’t want it then, I shift it around to another day. I switch it up. I allow my menu plan to be flexible.
Once you have your Menu Planner sheet ready, write down any meals you came up with during Step 2. Then, take a look at how many blanks you have left, and plan accordingly.
I find it helpful to write the dates on my Menu Planner. This reminds me of appointments or plans we might have scheduled on specific days. If we are going to be out all of Friday afternoon, I will try to plan a crock-pot meal or reheat a soup or leftovers for supper that night. If I know that we have to leave the house really early on Tuesday morning, I will be sure to plan a quick and easy breakfast that morning (yogurt and granola, for example). This is most important if you’re using the calendar-style menu planner. But even if you are using the list style, it’s helpful to be aware of the need for three crock pot meals this week, or two on-the-run breakfasts, for example.
For now, plan your meals based on what you’re familiar with, what ingredients you have on hand, foods your family likes and is used to, etc. As we continue on with this process, more recipes and menu plans will be added to this site to inspire you, and you will come up with your own faithful plans and recipes.
Practice makes this step easy. It can even be fun. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. This takes time, but it’s well worth it!