I never thought I would be the type of person to organise a weekly menu let alone stick to it. However, I’ve found that over the last year, a weekly menu has added to my goal of an efficient and stress-free lifestyle.
In this post I will share with you why I use a weekly menu, how it has helped and ways you can integrate a menu in your life to navigate around daily demands.
I also share a downloadable PDF for you to kick-start your menu making!
For years, I have watched videos on meal-preparation and how it has helped other people. Being so comfortable with eating out and “eating how I feel”, it wasn’t something I was keen to implement.
Two years ago, my boyfriend Luke, landed a full-time job and one year ago, I started studying full-time. Very quickly, I found it exhausting coming home everyday, trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, knowing I had x amount of time to study afterwards. I would either: throw random things together, buy extra items or go out to eat for convenience. This happened for at least 3 or so months. Maybe longer.
Eventually, I gave in.
I thought that there had to be an easier way to organise grocery shopping and meals.
It was time for change!
1. List all your favourite breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner meals.
This helps you flesh out what ingredients, staples and specialty items you will need as you build your menu.
If you live with your partner, a roommate or have children, get them involved in this process too! This simple activity is great for communication and bonding. Ask them what food they like and brainstorm meal ideas. This also ensures less food wastage! What’s not to like?
2. Write out a 7 day plan.
List each day of the week. Now, figure out what day will be grocery day. It should be a day or night you can easily commit to. Another factor to keep in mind, is pay-day. For me, it’s easier to shop on Tuesdays since that’s when I get paid. Make it work for you.
3. Write all ingredients/staples needed.
By now, there would be ingredients that may overlap or repeat. Use that as a staples list! For me, I realised rice, oats, fruits, eggs and pasta sauce were staple items, so I plan the menu around them. Knowing what items are your staples, makes it easier to organise a stress-free week of meals!
1. Trial and error.
It took me and my boyfriend at least a month, if not two months to work out the kinks of a weekly menu. We realised what ingredients worked, how long they lasted and what we could conveniently cook each night or cook ahead of time to make things easier.
What I found with starting a menu, is that instead of having too many items and no meals to eat, we had just enough food which highly decreased wastage. In order to maintain this, communication was key! If we were low on cheese for sandwiches or laundry detergent, we would make sure to communicate this.
3. Utilise a list!
Besides just telling my boyfriend we were running low on something, I’d make it a priority to write it on a shopping list. Luke always has a notepad on the cabinet bench for easy access. I love using lists for day-to-day organisation!
As seasons change, your menu will change also. During summer, weekly menus at my house are kept simple. Lots of cooler meals including salad and iced smoothies. Bread is kept in the fridge to keep from getting mouldy in humidity. During winter, or colder weeks, I plan soups and meals that can be served piping hot for comfort and enjoyability.
Keep this in mind throughout the seasons.
Be mindful of your budget.
Budgets are a huge factor in maintaining a menu. I’ve found in previous years, shopping in bulk at Costco or sales at supermarkets is the way to go. If it is a protein, I freeze the rest to use later. Even things like toilet paper can be purchased bulk to save some coins in the long run. Alternative brands are also something to look into. These days, quality doesn’t always come from a well-known brand. Branch out a little, test new things. You might be surprised at how much you save!
Here is a downloadable Weekly Menu Plan. I’ve also included my own menu as an example.
Let me know in the comments if these tips were helpful for you!
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It is possible to create change and manifest positivity in your life! x