Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How I Meal Plan

I have a new method of meal planning that is working rather slick, so I thought I'd share it with you. I'm a little OCD about lists, so it only made sense that I should create an Excel Spreadsheet for my Menu. It's so easy to cut and paste to shift ideas around.

Start with a basic spreadsheet, adding the header row titles. Then fill in with your meal ideas. Typically I get a basic plan, grocery shop, than revise the plan for a final print out. Use the side column to write meal prep info such as thawing, make ahead, or grocery shop. At the end of the week I evaluate what meals we may not have eaten, or what's left in the pantry or fridge that needs to be used up.
 
Notice I used wide rows with narrow but uniform sized columns. I highlighted the worksheet and made all cells to "Wrap Text." Though not necessary, I used the "Freeze Pane" option to freeze the header row in place, so when I scroll down I can still see those headings.
 
When you are updating this every 1-2 weeks, you can cut and paste old weeks onto a separate worksheet within the same file (tabs at bottom of spreadsheet). I sort them alphabetically for quick searches. I can then copy and paste old meal ideas into the main Menu worksheet.

 
Finally, I can quickly print this out to clip to my fridge. Anyone in the family can see what we're making for each meal - and hopefully help if they're really hungry or feeling inspired to cook/serve.
 
What's for breakfast? Go look at the menu!
 
Often times due to schedule changes, what we're in the mood for, or what might spoil earlier than anticipated - we might choose a meal from somewhere else on the menu. I simply check off what we've eaten to see what is left to choose from. I use the blank space on the page to add grocery list items as needed.
 
I hope that inspired some of you to get a spreadsheet started! If so, please let me know by commenting on this post.


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