Do you feel like you spend a “fortune” on groceries and yet you never have anything at home to fix dinner with? Are you familiar with the 5:00 stare? You know, the one where after schooling the kids, doing laundry, playing taxi-mom, etc, you look into the fridge about 5:00 p.m. and realize you don’t have a clue as to what you are fixing for dinner. The one where you realize you haven’t done that week’s menu planning.
With a little planning you can know ahead of time what your family will be having each night for dinner that week and when and what to set out to thaw. Most importantly, you’ll find yourself spending less money on groceries each week and you’ll find yourself a much happier, less stressful mama.
There are so many advantageous to menu planning. Here are a few of them:
- Saves you time: When you take the time to menu plan, you’ll actually be saving time. You don’t have to do the 5:00 stare into the pantry trying to figure out what you are going to fix or make extra trips to the grocery store during the week to pick up ingredients. Sound familiar?
- Save money: Outside of mortgage/rent payments, grocery bills are the number one expense families have. When you have a menu plan you eliminate the “impulse” buying, you don’t buy things you already have in your pantry and you don’t waste money eating out as much.
- Keeps Your Family Healthier: Less junk food and less eating out means your family will be healthier. What Mom doesn’t want that?
- Not as Much Waste: How many times have you cleaned out your fridge and found that the things growing in there could qualify as your kid’s homeschool science project? When we go to the store without a shopping list we’re more likely to purchase things we already have in our pantry or fridge. Menu planning lets you check off the items on your list that you already have before you hit the store.
- Stress Buster: It’s amazing how much stress can be eliminated from our evenings just by menu planning. No more rushing around at the last minute and wondering what you’re fixing for dinner. Evenings become calmer, dinner time is more pleasant and Mom is a happier camper.
- Setting an example: As we all know, our children watch us. When they see us scrambling at the last minute to plan dinner, or not having anything in our pantries that will allow us to pull a simple lunch or breakfast together, we are setting the example for our children of how we should take care of our families and home. On the other hand, when our children see a mama who (most of the time) has a plan for meals, they see good stewardship habits.
Believe me, as a homeschool mom who runs a business, I get it. I know how hard it can be just to get dinner on the table sometimes. That’s why I also know how important it is to plan. Dinner time can be a joyful family experience when we do something as simple and easy as menu planning. Ready to give it a try?
Lisa Holcomb is co-founder of Build A Menu, an online menu planning website that helps families get their grocery bill under control and helps them to bring “dinner back to the table”. She is known as the “Queen of Meal Time Makeovers”. She is an advocate for family nutrition, savvy grocery shopping and family dinners.