I have literally tried and done pretty much every extreme of menu planning out there. From- NO plan whatsoever to planning meals and snacks and everything in between.
The thing is ..I love, love, love to cook. So it's not cooking that's the issue here..it's the planning of it. If someone could just hand me the groceries and the meal plan for the week i'd be in HEAVEN..almost..maybe add someone to clean up after I make a mess while I cook and then we'd be close. Will I get to cook in heaven? I wonder...(yet I digress)
So..I did Super Suppers, Dinner Station for a while. (check out the websites) You go and prep the meals there, usually with some friends, come home with about 12 meals and put them in the freezer to use when you're ready. Not a bad deal really..if you don't want to eat out and don't really like to cook either.
We've also done the eating out marathons. NOT good for the figure at all! And eating out..for me..gets old real quick.
When I was a SAHM in 2001...I had a 4 week rotation on an excel spreadsheet. Week A, B, C, D. Grocery list, taco night, chicken night, leftover night, pizza night etc... this worked great and it was easy to swap out meals if we got tired of something or were having guests etc. I made the spreadsheet once and really didn't have to mess with it again.
Now..we don't really do a lot of "repeats"..so the ABCD plan doesn't work for us anymore. But I found a great new website that had a Meal plan worksheet that I love so of course I wanted to post it here. The website is called MommyTrackd and they have a ton of info and some free downloads which is where I found the EAT SHEET. Great tool. I sit down at the beginning of the month...plan out my meals (in pencil because I tend to change my mind)..then when that week arrives..I review the menu..make changes...head to the pantry and fridge to see what I already have on that list and put the rest on my grocery list. For now..this is the perfect Meal plan for me. I print off several sheets...got a little 3 ring binder..hole punch the pages and keep on the cookbook stand in my kitchen. My husband loves to peek to see what's cooking! :) Would love to hear any tips or ideas others have found useful for mealplanning...seems it's a pretty common struggle for most families.