The following is a guest post with ten must-try menu planning tips from regular contributor, Morgan from Morganize with Me.
While I love summer, I often find it more challenging to keep up with the menu planning and cooking. Lazy days of summer can lead to well, laziness. And even more so now, after months of staying home and needing to cook more!
However, with some added intentionality I believe you and I can succeed in this area. I’m personally working to stay more motivated this summer with my menu planning, I want to rise to the challenge. Yes, cooking is a chore and a daily one, but it’s an area where you and I can not only survive, but thrive. Here are ten menu planning tips to try implementing.
10 Menu Planning Tips
Tip #1: Shop on a consistent day each week (or bi-weekly)
Avoid shopping without a plan or without a routine. When you get on a schedule and follow a pattern, it will save you time, energy, and money. Decide how often you need to shop (weekly, bi-weekly, or…) and then follow this as consistently as possible.
Tip #2: Keep a running list of things to buy
Have a place where you and your family members or roommates can jot down things that either you are out of or need. This will help to minimize mental clutter and ensure things are purchased and restocked.
Tip #3: Schedule time to prepare your menu plan and compile a grocery list
A plan and list are the foundations to a successful week of cooking and eating. Whether digital or on paper, this step (like #1) will save you time, energy, and money.
Tip #4: Do regular inventory checks of your refrigerator and pantry, ideally when making your shopping list
Inventory checks help to avoid buying duplicates and triplicates and also to see what needs to be used prior to expiring. Know what you have and use what you have.
Tip #5: Create time and margin to put away groceries and do a reset of your kitchen, pantry, and refrigerator
The entire shopping experience is a process! Allow adequate time when you return home to put everything away. Decant and recycle as much packaging as possible and rotate older products forward etc. This step is essential to keeping your food inventory organized.
Tip #6: Schedule one night a week (or two) to order take-out or go out to eat
If this is possible, it can add relief and also be something to look forward to. Friday night pizza or take-out from your favorite Mexican restaurant are not only fun experiences, but it also means no cooking or cleaning up!
Tip #7: Consider delegating the cooking to others
My kids are all teens and we recently started having them each cook dinner one night a week. This has been a game changer! They pick the recipe, I buy the ingredients, and then they cook and clean up the entire meal. Not only is it a benefit to me and my husband, my kids are learning how to really cook. We’ve enjoyed everything from homemade ravioli to vegetarian lasagna.
Note from Laura: Teaching your kids to cook so eventually you don’t have to
Tip #8: Plan one night a week that is either OYO (On Your Own) or LO (LeftOvers)
Depending on your family dynamics and ages, On Your Own may not be an option, but Leftovers always are. This helps to not only clean out the fridge but also gives the cook a night off!
Tip #9: Try making one new recipe a week
Changing things up helps to keep things interesting and you just might discover a new recipe that you love!
Tip #10: Divide up the kitchen cleaning duties
Maybe this means the cook doesn’t have to clean up or maybe this looks like everyone pitching in to get all of the dishes washed after dinner. Whatever works best in your home will definitely help with the daily chore of cooking and cleaning.
Is it possible to survive summer and the meal planning that comes along with it? Yes it is! Delegate where you can, follow a plan, and try a new recipe now and then. Make it less of a chore and more or a challenge.
Happy Organizing & Happy Summer!
Morgan is a professional organizer (chaos calmer), writer (list lover), and exercise enthusiast (fitness fan), keep up with her on her site, Morganize with Me. Her mission is to share tried and true techniques that she hopes will encourage her readers and clients as they focus on their health and homes. Check out her Books, join one of her Challenges, listen to her Podcast, and be sure to check out her Shop full of fabulous organizing printables!
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