What’s For Dinner? Menu Planning Tips for Busy Moms
This week is the first full week out of SCHOOL! Wooot, Wooot!
So meal times are now even more hectic. There are so many other activities and without the scheduled ritual of school hours I often find that fixing dinner happens around 9pm. Not good.
Time to tap into menu planning knowledge. These menu planning tips should also help you make dinner meals easy.
1. Steal meal ideas. Clip coupons and read advertising circulars. These can not only help you come up with some menu ideas but also save money. Some stores will have double or triple coupon days when you can save even more. If one ingredient is a common denominator in many meals, buy it in bulk to save more money. With my family of 7 we shop at Sam’s Club. There’s not much difference in price but it does allow us to buy in bulk. That saves me time and I’m not going to the store 2-3 times a week to replace common staples like milk, eggs, bread and butter can be.
2. Search online. After a while your family will get tired of chicken and rice every Thursday. I once read that a family rotates the same 12 meals. Call it Menu Rut . I like to use the Internet to search for new and exciting recipes or to learn to put a twist on old recipe for a new taste. If you go to Cooks.com you can type “Lipton Onion soup mix beef” into their search box and it will find all of the recipes with those 2 ingredients! Cool huh?
3. Don’t cook every night. I like to cook a bunch on Tues. Fri. and Sat and save the leftovers. Then I rotate them out on our busy nights. Monday night is Karate and Boys Scouts so we’ll eat Saturday’s leftovers. Wednesday is Bible Study so we’ll eat Fridays meal and on Thursday I do what so ever I like! This way they forget that they are eating leftovers. They just feel so lucky that, “Mommy made some more of that good stuff!” Unless they didn’t like it the first time….
4. Schedule your meals a week in advance. Better yet, get someone else to do it for you! Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food place for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Below are 2 affiliate links to the best menu planning services I know. They’re inexpensive and the meals are with simple ingredients for families. Frugal Mom’s book plans out meals for an entire month; and then gives you the step by step plan of how to get it accomplished! It also comes with an open forum AND a bonus book, Bulk Cooking for The Freezer.
Dine without Whine sends a menu to your email with the week’s plan AND the grocery list as well! Both are the bomb and will help us moms move through summer meals without the frustration of wondering, “what am I going to cook for tonight?”