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19 October 2011

Making My Shopping-Menu

A friend asked me, would I please explain what I do to plan my menus? Sure. Here it is.

I start by printing out the form I made. I've got a file I made up in Word. The menu goes down one column, and all the stuff I buy on a regular basis is in the second column. I also grab a highlighter and a pen.

Then comes the hard part: actually making the menu. I write out 2 weeks of meals, lunch and dinner. We generally just have cereal for breakfast, so that's a no-brainer. But I mark in the left margin when we're having company, when we're traveling, and anything else that I know about that will affect menu-planning, and then I go through and figure out what we're going to eat. This is easily the hardest part of the whole process.

When I know what we're eating, then I take my highlighter and mark the things that we'll need on the list, and write in any odd items at the bottom. Normally, this doesn't take very long at all, and I often go through and do it as I make the menu, so by the time I finish that chore the list is 90% made too. I always read through it, just to make sure I haven't missed anything. Sometimes I mark which stores at which I plan to get the various items (I regularly shop at 3-4 to get the best prices. It sounds excessive, but it sure makes the money go further). Then I fold it in half.

With my list folded in half, it fits better in my pocket for going to the store. Plus, it's easier to look at. But, if I get to the store and bell peppers are on sale, I can flip it over, make a quick adjustment to the menu, and feed my husband one of his favorite foods: fajitas. Having the menu right there isn't a big deal... except for when it is. As I go along, I scratch off the stuff I bought, just like a regular list, only I ignore anything that's not highlighted: it's not "on" the list. When I get home, I flip it over and stick it on the fridge.

At this point, I don't have to think about it: I just make whatever's on the list. And, if I need to swap things around a bit the meals I have foods for is all right there, so even that's not very hard.

And that is how I do my menus. Thanks for asking!


misskate said...

I totally, agree: Menu planning is rough business (and we only go week to week) but Oooh.. I like the idea of having a printed list of things you frequently buy. I have a little magnet notepad that I make our menus and write our shopping lists on, but having a list of stuff we always buy would save time.

Carolyn Jefferson said...

Thank you so much! Now to work on compiling our frequently purchased item list!

Ritsumei said...

Glad you guys like it! FlyLady is responsible for the original idea, but this is my take on it. It works out pretty well for us. I've actually used it for a couple of years now, with occasional modifications to the list, but very little tweaking to the actual format.

Sara said...

What a brilliant idea! I know what I'm working on today!


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