Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Plan a Weekly Menu

It is very important to have control over the meals that we eat at home.  I find that it saves me time, energy and money whenever I go to the grocery store well prepared in advance.  With proper planning, you can assess the needs of each family member, accommodate their requests and favorites and look out for ways you can save money.

There are a few simple methods to keep everything organized. This way, you refrain from buying things that you don't really need or probably already have in your pantry.  Don't you just hate it when you come home from shopping only to find out you're missing a few important ingredients for dinner?  Let those days be a thing of the past.  Here's how...

1. Check the family schedule.

It is important to know when to make meals that are quick and easy for days when no one is around and what day everybody is home.

2. Make a note of what you already have in your pantry.

When you know what you have at home, you can build your menu around that. You may already have the main component for certain dishes, so all you need to buy are the missing ingredients. This is also the best way to use up your supplies before expiration.

3.  Keep your meals simple.

I do believe in varieties and trying out something new once in a while.  But by sticking to what works and what the family likes, you don't end up with a lot of waste.  So consider that when you plan out your menu.

4. Plan for leftover meals.  Make certain dishes in big batches. 

There is nothing wrong with eating leftovers.  It gives you time to do other things.  Also, there are a lot dishes that taste better over a period of time.

5. Make a list and stick to it.

This is an effective tool to save both your time and money.  It takes no more than 5 mins to write down the things that you need.  Trust me, it makes shopping faster and more efficient.

6. Watch out for sale items.

Take advantage of coupon books that are displayed by the entrance.  Take a minute or two to check what's on sale and stock up on those.  I usually keep my eye out for canned vegetables like corn, peas, water chestnuts, canned tomato sauce etc.

7.  Stay within your budget.

It is very easy to get carried away at the grocery store but keep in mind, that it is a weekly trip and if you don't practice self discipline by sticking to your budget , it will add up.

8.  Eat first before you go shopping.

It's a rule of thumb.  When you go shopping hungry, you end up with a cart full of food that you don't necessarily need.

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