Menu Planning Tips and Tricks

As much as I sing the praises of menu planning, there are still times when I’m having a tough time putting together a good selection of meals.  Either I’m tired of planning meals or inspiration just doesn’t want to strike, even though there’s an endless amount of recipes to choose from out there.  Or maybe it’s the fact that I have to execute my plan by actually cooking and buying the groceries I need!

Regardless, I still have to make a menu plan to make my grocery dollars stretch.  But on days when I get stuck, here are the menu planning tricks I use to complete my plan:

Copy an old menu

I have notebooks full of old menu plans and blog posts dating back to 2009 with our menus. So when I’m in a pinch, I just copy one of those. Just goes to show, it never hurts to have a notebook especially for menu plans!

I also have a recipe binder full of favorite recipes or recipes I want to try. Whenever I flip through my binder, I often find ideas that sound perfect!

Take inspiration from someone else’s menu

menu planning tricks

There are a ton of websites out there that offer free weekly menu plans.  I quite often browse a few, then use a couple of recipes off of each one to create my plan for the week.  Here are some sites I enjoy checking:

Head to Pinterest

Pinterest makes everything seem so deliciously appealing.  So when nothing is sounding good to me, I head to Pinterest to drool, I mean choose a few recipes to try.

Use theme Nights

List five different themes then plug in meals to fit the themes.  Here’s an example:

  • Mexican night
  • Pasta night
  • Sandwich night
  • Soup night
  • Chicken/beef night
  • Meatless Monday

Walk away

When all else fails, I walk away for a while. When I come back, the ideas usually start flowing again!

Do you ever struggle with planning? What are your menu planning tricks?

While it’s not free, I have also used $5 Meal Plan in the past. For just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. You can even try it for free for 14 days!

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