I am not an expert on menu planning. I don’t do it the same way every month (although if I did it would make my life a lot simpler). Sometimes I shop once a month. Sometimes I shop every 2 weeks, and sometimes I shop once a week. I try to avoid the store because 1)I have six children, its impossible to just run into the store real quick and 2)I spend money when I go into the store, making it hard to stay on budget. So that being said, my favorite way to shop is once a month, but I have been unable to do that lately just because we are so busy. Also, I prefer to shop at Sam’s Club, Sprouts and Walmart when I shop once a month, and the closest Sam’s is an hour away so I don’t get there as often as I would like.
I am going to split this up into 3 posts. This first post will give the steps and how to accomplish the first step.
Steps for large family menu planning:
- Go through pantry and freezer, making a list of what you have.
- Make a list of the meals you wish to eat.
- Put it on your calendar.
The first thing I like to do it dig through my pantry and freezer to see what food I have left. I always have some kind of meat to use and usually I can find some veggies in there too. To accomplish this I grab a notebook and a pencil and head out to my freezer, which is in the backyard shed. I make a list of the different meats, veggies and extras we have in there. Then I go back into the house to check the pantry. Sometimes I give my 10 year old daughter the notebook and pencil and have her make the pantry list, she really enjoys organizing things so this is a good job for her.
When my lists are done, I go through them and write down any meals that can be made from the foods we already have in the house. When I do this, I can usually stretch my menu for another week or so before I need to make a large shopping trip, if we need milk or bread then I just grab those things when we are at the store closest to our house.
That’s it! That’s the first step. Pretty simple and painless. Stay tuned for step 2!