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?

About Linda Etherton

Linda has been gluten free since 2000 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease which propelled me into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking. I am convinced that gluten-free food can and should be delicious, and I never apologize for serving it.
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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. 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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