Our Monthly Meal Plan has kind of become a staple of our budgeting process. Rather than planning for meals from week to week, we put in a little extra time and effort and knock it out right away. It takes a little discipline, but sticking to the plan can keep costs down and lead to a healthier and closer knit family. Research supports the notion that having dinner as a family has a number of benefits for the kids (http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important).
I’ve had a few people remark in the past that they just don’t have the time to plan a menu like this. My response is that we don’t plan because we have time; we have time because we plan. Taking the time to plan out our meals makes our shopping list easier to make. We simply look at our plan and buy the things that we need for the week. That keeps us from buying all sorts of extras and it saves us the time of planning our meals and our shopping list at the same time. Other people tell me that they just aren’t disciplined enough to stick with it. Here’s a “not so secret”: neither are we! We have a plan to keep us on the right track, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get cravings or just not feel like cooking sometimes. Rather than having no ideas as the default, however, we have our plan to fall back on. This becomes one of our main rationales for keeping up with it.
March is the last month of our New Year’s diet plan. I’ve heard that, after a few months of not eating meat, many people lose a taste for it altogether. Let me just say that we are not those people. We are anxiously awaiting the last week of the month when we are able to enjoy a nice thick hamburger or some fried chicken. As it is, adding cheese and milk back into our diet have given us a lot more options for our menu. We made it a point to go back to our Thursday night leftover plan. Otherwise the fridge just backs up with leftovers that we wind up throwing out at the end of the week. I hate wasting like that.
We hope that you enjoy our humble offerings.
March 2012 Monthly Meal Plan
Week 1 (February 26 – March 3)
Sunday–See February Meal Plan
Monday–See February Meal Plan
Tuesday–See February Meal Plan
Wednesday–See February Meal Plan
Saturday–Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Week 2 (March 4 – March 10)
Week 3 (March 11 – March 17)
Sunday–Veggie Pot Pie
Monday–Brocolli Fettucine Alfredo
Wednesday–Veggies, Pita, Hummus
Week 4 (March 18 – March 24)
Monday–Veggie Lo Mein
Tuesday–Veggie Fajita Nachos
Saturday–Polenta with Mushrooms
Week 5 (March 25 – March 31)
Wednesday–Fish with Noodles and Veggies
As always, if you are looking for recipes or answers on monthly meal planning, please leave a comment or email us with your questions. We can’t promise that we will have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find them! Just send us an email at [email protected].
Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?
Lynsey @MoscatoMom says
I told Mike this week I wanted to try doing a full month. We have done weekly and it has worked but… if I get busy and cant make it to the store, we end up eating out which not only kills the budget BUT the calorie intake as well lol
How often do you shop with this schedule?
We tend to shop once a week. It’s rare that we go as a family unit. If we know that the weekend will be busy, one of us will head out earlier in the week or after the kids go to bed. We have also set up months as “clean out the cupboard” or “empty the freezer” months. In those cases, we are pretty much buying fresh produce and milk at the store, taking advantage of all of the good deals that we had stored up for a couple of months.
Whitney at It's Gravy, Baby! says
I did a monthly menu plan once, but right now weekly works best for us. One thing I do want to start adding in is a meatless meal at least once a week. It’s awesome that you both have staying with your diet plan! I can’t imagine going that long without meat.
Love meal plans, I generally do mine a week in advance to match grocery sales but perhaps I will try doing it monthly.