Why I Don’t Menu Plan

I have done menu planning before, and I will probably do it again. Right now, though, I don’t do it. I have spent weeks thinking that I should get back to it, but I have finally decided that I’m not going to. At least not right now. Here’s why.

It works for me.

  • I’ve done this dinner thing enough that I don’t find myself spending too much time deciding what to fix. I start thinking about it early in the day, if not the day before.

  • When I shop, I buy meat and other items that are on sale, and I keep some meat in the freezer. I buy an assortment of fruits and vegetables and keep potatoes, rice and pasta on hand. I also keep on hand things like spaghetti sauce and canned food that I commonly use.
  • If I come across a recipe I want to make that uses ingredients I don’t have, I put it on my shopping list and make it after I have gone to the store. I don’t make little trips to the store for things like that.

I save money. I know that sounds backwards, but for me it’s true.

  • When I plan a menu, I usually plan for more food than we really need. I end up with lots of leftovers that don’t always get used.

  • I also tend to plan more expensive meals than what I would cook normally.
  • I don’t know what will be on sale when I plan the menu. That is because I never liked planning one week at a time. I really prefer to plan one month at a time.
  • I simply don’t take the option of eating out. Instead, when I find myself in a jam, I make due with what I have, even if that means eggs and toast for dinner. We like breakfast for dinner anyway.

So now you know. And since my secret is out, I can be free to say, “I don’t menu plan!” and not feel guilty about it. Do you menu plan?

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  1. Anonymous says

    I don't menu plan either, I never know when to count on leftovers, and if I menu plan I end up with tons of un-eaten leftovers. plus Dh likes to bring home a pizza now & then. if I havn't spent time and money by planning something else,I'm less likely to grumble at this blessing.

    Mrs Nehemiah

  2. Rebeckah says

    I don’t, but I really think I should. I a glad not planning works for you though : ). YAY! Whatever is less stressful is the way to go!

  3. Brooke says

    i use it to try new recipes, but since mr. right likes the tried and true ones, i could probably save more time doing it your way!

  4. Crafty P says

    hmmm, such good points. I’ve been trying to menu plan and I’m still stuck somewhere in between to do it or not to do it!

  5. caitlin says

    As a newcomer to the GF life style, (one month!) I have been thrown a little off track with my eating.(ya think? lol) I was thinking it would be a good thing to plan ahead with some menus, but since I never did in the past, I think it would just add more stress to an already sometimes stressful situation. Instead, I have started an always-have-on- hand list of ingredients…much the same as you do. That way I’ll always have a meal ready to be prepared.
    I do confess to running out a couple times a week for ingredients for the first couple weeks. I was so afraid of starving to death without grains, I over compensated by buying lots of unnecessary foods. Fortunately I’m now actually enjoying this new healthy way of eating. I’m also enjoying the wonderful blogs such as yours that I have found!

  6. Mike Eberhart says

    I am with you on this one. Neither my wife nor I typically “plan” a meal. Spontaneity yields new creations and better variety from our experience. And, like you said, you save money by using what you have around the house already.

  7. Sarah says

    I’m like you. I dont meal plan either. I shop sales and buy in bulk. I have a handy list of all the things I can make with what I have on hand but usually I just check the fridge to see what needs to be used up and cook accordingly. Saves money as less food gets wasted.

  8. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) says

    I think I’m somewhere in the middle.

    My most effective “meal planning” method is to make a list of meals that I want to make and/or know I have the ingredients for, then when it’s time to make dinner I take a look at my “short-list” and go from there.

    I totally over-plan when I try to give each night of the week its own meal.

  9. Anonymous says

    When I am in a jam for meal time and I don’t want to go to the store… I have gone to allrecipes.com. There is a tool called “ingredient search” that lets you choose what ingredients you want to use and what ingredients you want to exclude in a recipe. – gia

  10. The Gluten-free 'Dish' says

    How refreshing to see this post! I used to plan before kids. Now I look for what is organic at the store and then that’s what we eat.
    My energy is not predictable and a menu plan would be frustrating if not failure. My boys eat like breakfast for dinner, too.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  11. Deborah says

    I don’t menu plan at home but I do when I am at the store. I buy the sale items in quantity. I shop the clearance bin at my favorite meat counter where I frequently find meats at 50% off then freeze immediately in my deep freeze. I stock up on staples such as butter and freeze that as well. I save tons of money by not buying anything not on sale. That way the menu for the week is decided by what is on sale that week.

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