How To Plan Your Weekly Menu

The Dinner Jar

how to plan dinner menu

So, I love the idea of those magnetic weekly menus, where all you do is go through a handful of printed-food-items then clip them by the day you decide to cook it. But, I love my notebook. My dinner jar is like a guessing game.

First, I downloaded a jar-label-print-out. Then I typed up all our favorite dinners on scrapbook paper, then printed them out! I ended up having fifty- or so of ┬áthem…

making a dinner menu

…I just punched them out with a paper punch, some I even cut out with scissors. Then I hot glued a little twine around the jar and declared it my new best friend (when it comes to meal planning).

menu planning made easy

I just shake-shake-shake and pull out meals one by one. If you aren’t jonesing for what you pulled out, leave it out and pull out a different one! Super easy, huh!

Breakfast, Lunch and Dessert jar anyone??

For more info, check out How I Meal Plan

Store List

Making a store list keeps me organized and sane. It helps keep me in the mind-frame that all I need is what is on the paper. It keeps me from throwing junk and unnecessary items into my cart. It really does save me money!
Make your menu… BLD&S (breakfast, lunch, dinner, & snacks)
Take out a piece of paper or notebook and divide it into six categories/sections.
Trust me, this will make your shopping trip a breeze. Label those categories:


Look at each meal and write down what you need, and how much you need, to make the meal according to where it is located in the store. List all similar items under it’s category, even if you already have most of the ingredients. After that, go through your cub-bards, pantry, and refrigerator and cross off the items you already have enough ingredients for. For example, I might plan on eating eggs for breakfast- totaling to three eggs each morning- but later that week I am also going to make banana bread- so add on an extra two eggs This means I’ll need 23 eggs total, but I only have 18 in my fridge. Therefore, even though I have 18 eggs which I thought was plenty in reality will not be sufficient so I will still need to purchase more eggs, (especially because I have kids).
Keep your list very organized. Use a good, sharp pen. Color code sections to keep your eye on the ball and to stay organized. Now you are ready to go to the store!
Here is a (horribly lit) picture of my notebook and the beginning of my store list.


When you are at your favorite grocery store, grab all the items from your miscellaneous list first. Then move on to the aisles for your non perishables. Grab your produce next, then your dairy and frozen foods. Keep them as cold as you can. Perhaps even invest in a cooler bag. I live around thirty minutes or so from the nearest town, so purchasing, loading the trunk up, driving home, and unloading takes around an hour for me. Having refrigerator foods out longer than an hour grosses me out. Try even something as simple as putting a cooler with a little bit of ice in your trunk before you head to the store. If you live close to the store you are going to then don’t worry about it.