Menu Planning Tips and Benefits

A big thank you to my friend Jill for sharing today about menu planning! We’re enjoying a few unplugged (and kid-free days) in the Finger Lakes region.  You can find Jill’s contact info at the bottom, and check out her blog if you don’t already follow her! She also hosts a fun Fitness Friday link up each week that I often participate in.

Are you a menu planner? Have you considered weekly menu planning and need a little push? Read on and you will realize how beneficial it can be to you and your family. Then, before you know it, you won’t be able to imagine starting your week without a plan.

Benefits of Menu Planning.Consider this, menu planning…

  1. Saves you time. You always have the ingredients you need so no weekday last minute trips to the store.
  2. Saves you money. When you have your menus planned out, you know exactly which ingredients you need to buy at the store. You have a list and you stick to that it while shopping and fewer impulse buys.
  3. Promotes healthy eating. When meals are planned out, you will usually end up with a more balanced, nutritious diet. You don’t have to run through a fast food lane, grab a processed food on the go, or skip meals.
  4. Reduces waste. Often, we buy foods at the grocery store, thinking we’ll use them for something, but they end up getting thrown out. If you’re sticking to the list, you’re not buying anything you won’t NEED for your planned meals.
  5. Saves on gas. No more emergency grocery runs = less driving = less gas money.
  6. Encourages family involvement. Everyone has input and everyone has a chance to request his or her favorites.
  7. Supports regular eating of meals together as a family. If left to the last minute, it can be very tempting to whip something up quickly for the kids and then another meal later for mom and dad.
  8. Takes into account life’s busier than usual times. Plan for the school activities, working late, and the unexpected and you’re less likely to make a trip through the drive thru or grab processed food on the go.
  9. Reduce stress. Enough said

Menu Planning Tips.What has made my menu planning a success?

  1. Make creating a weekly menu part of your routine. I write my weekly menu every Saturday for shopping on Sunday.
  2. Consider what ingredients you already have.
  3. Get family input.
  4. Plan for an on-your-own night.
  5. Make a list and stick to it when you’re shopping.
  6. Look at your calendar for the week before you start planning. Make note of busy evenings.
  7. Make lunches the day before.
  8. Cook on Sunday with leftovers in mind.
  9. Whether you’re using your computer or handwriting the menu use a menu template*. It helps make the planning more efficient and less time consuming.
  10. Use recipes that can be made ahead of time and reheated for a meal during the week.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me:

Blog: [Fitness Health and Happiness]
Twitter: @jillconyers
Facebook: Jill Fickling-Conyers
Facebook Page: [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

Thank you Laura for allowing me to share with you today.

Do you plan weekly menus? Do you have menu-planning tips to share? Would you be interested in participating in a menu planning challenge?

* If you’re interested in a menu-planning template I would be happy to share mine. Leave a comment with your contact information and I will send you a template (or 2) to help get you started.

Check out more Summer Staples posts at Peas and Crayons!


31 thoughts on “Menu Planning Tips and Benefits

  1. Pingback: Mid-Week Motivation | [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

  2. I have been trying to get organized and do just this for around………2 years now! I LOVE everything you have said/do here! It drives me nuts that I go shopping (with my 3 kids) and end up leaving the shops with the same things and next to no idea what to do with it. I love to cook, I cook every day for my family, we eat next to no processed food but I struggle with snacks and all to often grab something quick and….crap. I have started to write out menus I like (discussed with family) and was going to create menu cards, with ingredients required which I could then use as my shopping list after checking in the kitchen which things I have and which I need. But I’ve just never got round to it. You’re planning challenge would be the incentive I need, give me some kind of deadline. I also need to go shopping at the weekend so I can leave the kids with my husband, I can’t think straight with a 5, 3 and 1 year old driving me nuts! 😀 I’d love your template too please!
    Sorry for banging on, it just makes so much sense to shop/cook this way and I need to up my game and do it already!
    Thanks for sharing, I will have to check out your blog!

    • Hi Vicky. First, 3 kids 5 and under? Start shopping on the weekends or have hubby go with you. The weekend gets my vote 🙂 Start with a basic template and tweak it to make it work for you and your family.

      I will send the template this weekend. I need your email.
      Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Mid-Week MotivationMy Profile

      • thanks for the response! My email is (something else I haven’t got round to is changing it since I got married…..7? years ago :D) I went shopping with only the 1 year old this weekend (which is like having no kids really;)), armed with a list of ingredients for the weeks meals and snacks! I am so pleased with how it went and how easy it has been thus far to prepare meals knowing I have everything I need. I baked up a storm on Sunday too (tripling all the ingredients) and the freezer is now filled with some snacks and meals that will last….. a few days.
        It took a bit of time to make the plan and write the list but I was quicker at the supermarket and will save time all week not having to go back as often or have to wrack my brain what to make each day! Thanks for providing the incentive to get this done, I will make it part of my routine every weekend!

        • Vicky that is awesome. I know it feels a little time consuming now but I promise if you stick with it the whole routine gets quicker. I for one dread the thought of having to go to the grocery store on my way home from work so not going back to the grocery store during the week is one of the reasons I stuck with it in the beginning.
          Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Top 5 Running Must-HavesMy Profile

  3. Have a great vacation Laura!

    I try to make menu planning a part of each Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Throughout the week if I think of new ideas I start a list and then have a head start on the next week. It also helps to make one or two meals on Sunday to have ready for the start of the week, easy to throw in a bake instead of cooking after a busy day at work 🙂

  4. I’ve slacked off on menu planning during the summer – I kind of like taking a break from it and just winging it, which allows for spontaneous nights out and dinners at the beach : ) But it’ll be nice to get back to it when school starts up again in a few weeks. It definitely makes my life easier to know what I’m making when, and it always results in fewer leftovers getting thrown out!
    Michelle recently posted..Running, Swimming, Biking, Biathlon, and the BoysMy Profile

  5. Menu planning is something that I’ve always felt that I should do but never have, at least not formally. But I’ve been feeling like I need to become more organized especially as we head back into the school year and work has been crazy for both my husband and I. I’d love to see your template. Email: lovelifesurfblog {at}

  6. Hi there, I have no clue how I found you, I followed a link on another blog about triathlon and here I am. And glad too! I got into Triathlon this year and love reading about other ladies efforts too. Another Mummy of 3 here as well, and I’d love to see your menu planner template please x
    Sarah @ The Christie Clan diaries recently posted..WIAW#2My Profile

  7. Pingback: Weight Loss Tips To Help You Quit Eating Out « BAM Fitness Coaching

  8. Pingback: Why I Menu Plan « Life As Mom Knows It

  9. HI thanks for the advice- I love the idea of a menu template- could you send me some? Thanks

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