I’ve mentioned before that meal planning makes cooking dinner each night easier for me and helps me save money so I thought I should share how it helps me do these things and how I plan our menu each week.

Grocery shopping happens every Sunday or Monday in my house, just depending on what we have going on that week. This means our “week” starts on Monday and so my meal plan goes from Monday to Sunday.

I start by filling in Pizza Party Friday Night. This was a tradition we began when my son first started kindergarten. He was not at all happy with the idea of having to spend 5 days a week at school, so to make it a little easier on him, we started having pizza (his favourite food) every Friday night. We also usually watch a movie together as a way to celebrate making it through another week. Then I write in anything we have going on that week that will affect dinner. If we’re eating out, having friends over, or going somewhere special.

Next I ask my husband if there’s anything in particular he would like to eat this week and also what he is thinking for Saturday. I mentioned in my Ways to Make Cooking Dinner Each Night Easier post that my husband usually cooks on Saturday nights. If he has an unusually stressful/busy week ahead I will plan something else, usually just something simple I can throw together or take-away, just to give myself a break. Then I ask my son what he thinks he might like to eat this week. I make no promises but I do consider the suggestions they both give me.

After that I take a look at what we already have in the cupboard and fridge for ideas. If there’s something that needs using and I make a mental note to add it to the weeks meal plan.

Finally I look at what’s on special for the week. If something I know my family loves to eat is on special I will usually stock up, or if something I have been wanting to try is on special I will try and incorporate it into our menu for the week.

When I’ve done all of this I sit down and write out our meal plan for the next week, making a grocery list of anything I’ll need to purchase as I go. This sounds like a lot of work but really it only takes a few moments and saves me time through-out the week.

So that’s how I meal plan, let me know in the comments below how your family plans their menu for the week