As much as I sing the praises of menu planning, there are still times when I’m having a tough time putting together a good selection of meals. Either I’m tired of planning meals or inspiration just doesn’t want to strike, even though there’s an endless amount of recipes to choose from out there. Or maybe it’s the fact that I have to execute my plan by actually cooking and buying the groceries I need!
Regardless, I still have to make a menu plan to make my grocery dollars stretch. But on days when I get stuck, here are the menu planning tricks I use to complete my plan:
Copy an old menu
I have notebooks full of old menu plans and blog posts dating back to 2009 with our menus. So when I’m in a pinch, I just copy one of those. Just goes to show, it never hurts to have a notebook especially for menu plans!
Copy someone else’s menu
There are a ton of websites out there that offer free weekly menu plans. I quite often browse a few, then use a couple of recipes off of each one to create my plan for the week. Here are some sites I enjoy checking:
While it’s not free, I have also used $5 Meal Plan in the past. For just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. You can even try it for free for 14 days!
Head to Pinterest
Pinterest makes everything seem so deliciously appealing. So when nothing is sounding good to me, I head to to drool, I mean choose a few recipes to try.
Use theme Nights
List five different themes then plug in meals to fit the themes. Here’s an example:
- Mexican night
- Pasta night
- Sandwich night
- Soup night
- Chicken/beef night
When all else fails, I walk away for a while. When I come back, the ideas usually start flowing again!
Do you ever struggle with planning? What are your menu planning tricks?