Sunday, March 1, 2009

Need Help with Meal Planning?

If you are having trouble with meal planning, here are a few websites that you may want to look at to get you started.

Menus for Moms is a free website that emails you once a week with a weekly plan. It includes a grocery list and recipes. These recipes are easy to fix and don't require that you be a chef.

Saving Dinner is a website run by the Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely, in which you obtain a weekly PDF file with the meal plan and grocery list. The cost is minimal ($9.95 for 3 months, $17.95 for 6 months or $29.95 for an entire year). You will save the cost of this service in just one month of being prepared and skipping the drive thru. Her recipes are extremely good. My family has only found one in nearly 18 months that I used this service that we didn't like and my husband is a very picky eater. The only drawback that I found with this site is that it requires a lot of spices that I don't generally keep on hand, but the grocery list has it so you are sure to grab it when you go shopping. You can try a week of free menus by clicking on the green bar at the top of her homepage.

Another free site that I have used is Dinner Beat. It allows you to plan your menus and print a grocery list. There are recipes to choose from or you can add your own if your family has something that they are craving for the week.

There are also lots of blogs with meal plans if you are having trouble getting started. My biggest problem when I first started meal planning was not having the same old, same old every week.

If all this is too overwhelming, just make a copy of a calendar page for the month of March. Write down every meal that you have this month (planned or unplanned). Now next month, you have a month of menus to use. This idea also has a 2nd advantage. You can quickly look at the calendar page and tell when that grilled chicken was cooked and if it is still usable or needs to be trashed.


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