So as I am going through the weeks and having the kids each be responsible for a room, I am learning that they think meals magically appear on the table with no thought, no planning, no preparation and definitely no WORK! :-) So as I am doing this, the kids have the dining room responsibility one week and the kitchen the next week. When they are in the dining room they are responsible for creating a menu for the following week and taking that menu and building a grocery list from it. This is more complicated than it sounds apparently as my 14 year old just informed me that this is HARD! :-)
I have found a menu paper that I am liking fairly well. Of course, it is a PDF and I don't know how to imbed that in here! ACK! So, I will have to take a picture of one and post it! Anyway, I use a menu plan where they plan 6 main meals. Yes, I am aware there are 7 days in a week. I also recognize that I am not super woman and it is fairly unreasonable to expect that I will be able to manage to cook all 7 days and if by some miracle that DOES become a possibility, I can always use something that I didn't manage to make the week before! Usually on the 7th day, or the 2nd or whatever day my schedule goes nuts and cooking is no longer an option, we have leftovers or sandwiches! I do not plan breakfast, lunch and dinner the way many online menu planning gurus seem to be able to! Actually, I struggle in the summer time because I have to have three meals a day! They are usually on their own for breakfast, lunch is often sandwiches or leftovers and dinner is all together. They have to choose side dishes, any desserts they want, etc.
I also have a grocery list form that seems to work well for me. Yes, it is PDF also and if I can find a way, I will come back and edit this to include that instead of just a picture! This grocery list seems to work pretty well for me. I know, I have tons of grocery lists that involve pre-printed complete lists that I just have to check off when I need it with a \ then when I purchase it I use the other / so that I have an X when I have it on hand but this doesn't seem to work well for me! I like this one that is set up in generic categories and leaves me room for adding in my own items. Personal preference here and if anyone wants different grocery list options...or wants to be able to print anything I have included a picture of, I have figured out I can email a .pdf so I am more than happy to email it to you!
Is my menu/grocery planning perfect? Absolutely not! But have I improved the planning ahead for our family? YES! I used to have multiple days where I stood in front of the cupboard or the refrigerator or freezer and shook my head and said "What sounds good? Oh, I don't have the ingredients for that!" and I have pretty much eliminated that! I have also shared the menu planning with the children which means that at least one week a month they get to pick all of their favorite meals! This means I know they will be happy and they will also NOT complain about other meal choices because they know their time is coming!
How does menu planning work in your house? Or does it even exist? How about grocery shopping? Do you use a list?