Menu Planning…for the Busy Family

Rotational Menu Planning...an easy approach to meals for busy families.

This year has been a year of complete overwhelm for me. I’ve probably been the most scattered I’ve ever been before. Thankfully, I’m finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and realizing that with four kids, it’s time for me to streamline and simplify things as much as possible. So, in preparing for our sure-to-be-busy, half-homeschool, half-public school year this past week, I actually worked on our menu. Tim has been wanting me to do this for a long time, and I’ve been resisting…mostly because it took a little time to get it lined out. But, alas, it is done, and I suddenly have a plan for every week of the month.

I realized that we really were falling back on specific meals pretty often. Surprisingly, nobody in my family really gets tired of our staple meals. Things like spaghetti, chicken and dumplings, and sandwiches never get old around here. So, I decided-with Tim’s prompting-to make a rotating menu.

First, I made a master list of the easiest, most liked meals in our family. NO DIFFICULT RECIPES…okay, no recipes at all.  This year, I decided, if the meal requires an actual recipe, it doesn’t make the cut.  Then I made a generic rotating menu like this:

Sunday: Sandwiches or Leftovers

Monday: Pasta Night

Tuesday: Meat and Sides Night

Wednesday: Sandwiches or Leftovers

Thursday: Casserole or Soup Night

Friday: From the Freezer

Saturday: Take Out or Leftovers

Then, I took the editable menu you can find by clicking HERE and plugged in all our favorite meals using my generic weekly list. For breakfast and lunch, we pretty much do the exact same thing every week. I made four different menus, listing all the grocery items I would need for each day in the “To-Do” column.

Here is a quick look at my four rotating menus:

Rotational Menu Planning...an easy approach to meals for busy families.

Rotational Menu Planning…an easy approach to meals for busy families.

Now my biggest problem was that I leave my list every. Single. Time. So, even if I make a list, it gets left at home…or in the passenger seat of the car. So, it ended up being a complete waste of time. So, here’s the true beauty of this plan. Once I had my rotating menus in place, I used a word document to make four bookmark sized lists, and typed in my grocery lists for each week. Then, I laminated the weekly lists, and bound them with a jump ring and stuck it in my purse. I went shopping today, and totally planned on taking my full menu list. But, surprise, surprise! I left my list sitting in the passenger seat of my car. No worries! I had my pocket size list! Now, I’m ready for a trip to the store any time!

I’m really hoping that this menu plan works out for us. Because my family is getting pretty sick of McDonalds. What works for your family?  Do you plan you menus?

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