The Importance of Menu Planning

groceriesWe save more money when I practice menu planning.

I have to admit that far too often, I just wing it with figuring out what is going to be for dinner, and that tends to lead to more spending, either because we decide to go out to eat, we use up the more expensive convenience foods we keep on hand for emergencies, or we ignore our pantry or fridge and have more expired food.

Since one of my goals this year is to stay on track with grocery spending, I am adding regular menu planning to the list of practices. Menu planning is so important, because with it you can take advantage of low cost ingredients, yet still provide nutritious meals to your family. In addition to the reasons I listed above, menu planning can account for individual family styles and commitments, as well as location or time of year! For example, if you live near a farmer’s market and it is summer, chances are they are practically giving away zucchini and tomatoes. Your menu plan for the week might include any of the following: ratatouille, chocolate zucchini bread, pasta with homemade sauce, salsa and chips, etc.

This week, I’m going to start slowly, with just planning out our dinners, knowing that I usually will make breakfast and snacks as part of my daily routine anyway. At the moment, I am leaving Sunday open because the new grocery sales start then–and I am not sure what will be available. I’m also planning in one back up meal that could get carried over to next week.

Monday: Ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, side salad

Tuesday: Cheese enchiladas with corn and bean salsa side dish

Wednesday: Fettucini Alfredo with ham and peas

Thursday: Breaded baked chicken, green beans, homemade rolls,

Friday: Homemade pizza with toppings

Saturday: Turkey cheese burgers, fries, broccoli

Sunday: Open (see above)

Back up meal: Honey turkey (fully cooked in freezer), mashed potatoes (also in freezer) and a green vegetable.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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