Phew..you made it! If you’ve been following along with the series, you’ve now got the beginnings of a great menu planning system, a start on building a better pantry to be prepared for whatever life throws you, and you’re ready to go on your own, right? But what if you need more info?
So far you’ve gotten:
- a Meal Guide & recipe cards for your family, meals your family loves and you can add to your cycle
- a Meal Calendar,
- an idea how to put that into a Shopping List.
Today, I wanted to talk about some extra hints, as well as some additional resources for you to help you make this your own. No one’s system is going to work for you unless you can make it work for your lifestyle. So my system may not work for you if you shop weekly, don’t stockpile, and don’t want to do a bunch of from scratch cooking. And that’s okay – you can still make this work for your family’s lifestyle.
Hints & Tips:
Be Flexible – some weeks, you may find that your schedule has been changed drastically, or someone is sick and the meal you’ve had planned just won’t work. Just swap out a night, or use an emergency meal to replace it. And yes, it’s still okay if you get take-out, but hopefully this system will help you rely on it less and less.
Keep or scan your old menu calendars. If you’re having a huge month where you don’t have time to plan, pull out an old one and just reuse it. No one said every meal had to be an original creation every single night.
Consider a white board if you know that you’ll have to change frequently, consider using a white board instead of paper. That way, you can erase and change to your heart’s desire, and still be able to show the family what’s for dinner.
If meal planning is too daunting to take on a month at a time, do it for a week at a time, then build up your recipe stash and gradually increase the time you plan.
Here is a great, organized food storage cookbook that you might find helpful:
Some Great web resources to read more:
- Finding Joy in My Kitchen – great menu ideas by category that you can add to your meal plans
- Say Mmm – a free, online menu planning service with shopping lists. You can read a review of it @ Heavenly Homemakers
- MealsMatter.org – full of information, printables and articles
- Organized Home – more information, printables and articles
- The Organic Prepper – The Pantry Primer – and amazing series on building your pantry from scratch!
- Prepared-Housewives.com – “How I menu plan for a year“
- Bake with what’s in your pantry – KingArthurFlour.com
- What can I cook with what’s in my fridge? MyFridgeFood.com
- Pantry Essentials Checklist — Food Network
Other sources for meal planning charts and calendars:
Fee-based Meal planners
Cute ideas from Pinterest on a meal planning board:
from LexyDay.com – menu planning in a photo frame
Another great photo frame idea – and you can get these from most hobby & craft stores then print out your own inserts!
Reusable Magnetic Menu Board Tutorial
Hopefully, these links will give you some additional resources to check out and more encouragement to tackle menu planning for your family. It really CAN change your life in the kitchen! (just don’t think it’ll remove your wrinkles, though!)
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