SO excited to be kicking off a wonderful series this month with Annie from All Things Big and Small! She’s a fellow momma with a real talent for DIY decorating! She’s also full of amazing organizing ideas. Stay tuned each Tuesday for the month of February for a fun post from both of us on our favorite tips and hacks for getting organized!
And today, it’s all about Food! After you read this, don’t forget to head over to All Things Big and Small to check out Annie’s best tips!
Oh so many tips to share around grocery shopping and meal planning! If this is your first time here at Cup of Tea, then I share almost every Monday my weekly dinner menu plan. Confession – I hate meal planning. But I’ve learned over the years that doing a weekly menu plan for dinner saves us money AND saves me the headache of figuring out what to cook. I may hate doing it, but it really does save me in the long run.
Whether you’re just deciding to dabble in the world of menu planning, or if you’ve been menu planning for years, here are my favorite tips to make this tedious task a little easier!
Keep track of your family favorites | It makes it easy to fill a menu for the week if you have a go to place where all your favorites are listed. I have a few places. I have a recipe box full of favorite go-to meals. I also have a private Pinterest board where I save all the best pins that were big time favs. Not to mention a few favorite cookbooks that I refer to. One other fabulous idea comes from my friend Whitney at Come Home for Comfort! She keeps a handwritten list of her favorite dinners & sides. That makes it really easy to reference!
Have a set menu (kind of) | Taco Tuesday? Friday Night Pizza? Sunday Soup Night? Try incorporating a theme for a few days a week to help guide your menu planning. It doesn’t have to be the same meal every week, but having a theme gives you direction for finding a new recipe! For us, Friday nights are always soup and salad in the winter. Saturdays are leftovers. That’s 2 of 7 days planned right there. We also have at least one Mexican meal a week and one Italian meal a week.
Utilize a printable | There are a million beautiful printables online at your disposal. I have my favorite, but I have a post that features a few more. Displaying your menu on a printable each week gives your family a hub to see “what’s for dinner”. I also make sure I jot down whether that dinner is from a cookbook (page number too!) or from Pinterest. My favorite printable also features a grocery shopping list section. I fill that in! And then, because I enjoy rewritting lists, I rewrite my shopping list on a cheap notepad to take with me to the store. And if you’re wondering why I do that… hold tight!
Reuse your menus | So all those menus I write on the printables? I save those! I label them “Fall/Winter” or “Spring/Summer” and then file them away. And because I wrote the complete grocery shopping list on the printable, I can use that to reference when I make a new shopping list weeks later. (Seriously, this was a GAME changer for me!)
Enough menu planning tips for you? How about a grocery shopping tip or two?
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a couponer, sale shopper, or super deal scouter-outer. It’s just not my thing. I stock up on regularly-used items, like canned beans, when they’re on sale, but other than that, that’s my extent of saving. But I do have a few tips that make grocery shopping quick and easy!
Organize your shopping list by section/aisle | This saves you a ton of time when you’re in the store. Not to mention it helps you not overlook something on your list! I’ve done that SO many times, and it’s annoying to be zig-zagging all over the grocery store.
Meal prep what you can | I’m not the best at this, but I do try to prep food where I can post-grocery trip. One thing I’ve learned is my family will eat more veggies and fruit if I pre-wash and slice them when I get home from the store. My toddler consumes raw bell peppers and cucumbers at an alarming rate! I’m more likely to toss them on her dinner plate if I’ve already sliced them all up ahead of time. Another prep I do? When I buy a bundle of cilantro or parsley, I pluck off leaves and lay them on a paper towel to dry, then slip them in a storage bag. They last SO much longer that way!
So that’s it! I have SO many tips running around in my head that we could easily make a menu planning post again next week.
Don’t forget to head over to Annie and see what ideas she has! So many good ones over there.
Stay tuned each Tuesday for the month of February for our favorite tips! Here’s what you can look forward to!