Daily Archives: March 26, 2011

Frugal Dinners: Thoughts on Meal Planning


I’ve been reading quite a few finance /frugal blogs which post their meal plan for the week.

The idea of a meal plan is quite foreign to me.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I live on my own (sharing basement with a room mate), and I usually batch cook for most of the week.  So my “menu plan” usually consists only one or two dishes on repeat.

Of course, most of the bloggers who do post their menu plan may live with a partner, or family, and I can understand how cooking for more than one person (and more than once a week), a plan can come in handy – or indispensable.

After cleaning out and re-organizing my pantry (later post to come), I realized that I could definitely benefit from a menu plan.  I probably have quite a few meals that I can make from my pantry and freezer combined.  And so, I created a nifty little spreadsheet with all my pantry items – categorized and tallied with pretty colours, and then I also made a tab for menu planning.

I really like spreadsheets with pretty colours and nicely organized :).  It’s like it’s calling me to use it!  (Click on the images to enlarge.)

The spreadsheet is still in the works, but I’d like to also add a line item if a certain ingredient needs to be used up so it doesn’t go bad (i.e., my yogurt expires next week), and a quickie grocery list.

I am going to try making and using a menu plan for the next few weeks, and see how it goes.  What I’d like to accomplish from this exercise is better utilization of my pantry items,  being more organized and also eating more healthy.  I would really like to incorporate more legumes into my diet, and as we know, cooking legumes (from dried beans) takes preparation.

Wish me luck!

Readers, do you have any tips for making or using a menu plan?  For readers who don’t currently use a menu plan, what helps you plan your meals?



Filed under Frugal Dinners