Do you menu plan?

 How cute is this little notepad box? My Mum bought it for me. I don’t want to use it, it’s too cute!


Do you menu plan? If so, how far in advance?

I am shocking at organising what we are having for dinner in advance. I always wing it. I usually decide some time around lunch what we’re having (if anything exciting and this means I’ll go to the supermarket), or I say we’ll just use what we have here.

I need a simple plan to help me get more organised. Do you have any tips? I bet someone’s written an ebook or something like this. Help! Point me in the right direction…

I’ll come back and share what I find 🙂


  • Kek

    I usually wing it too, but when I do make the effort to plan ahead, I find we spend less, waste less and eat healthier. I’ve read lots of helpful sites over the years, but somehow I always rebel at being “organised”, so I just keep muddling along my own way. ;o)

    Organising Junkie has some good tips – and this list of online resources should have something useful; it’s HUGE:

    • Katrina (author)

      Thanks Kerryn, I check it out 🙂

  • A-M

    Oh how funny. I’m talking about food today too… but along the lines of how bad a baker I am. Great minds. I sort of wing it too. I make sure I have the staples and make up the week as I go. I have the running list of favourite recipes and make them over and over. I was only just thinking the other day that things need to change. I need to mix it up a bit and get adventurous. Dietetics never taught me how to cook. I always joke to my chef friends that at least I can keep my boys alive with my cooking … and they don’t seem to complain ….and have even been heard muttering, “you’re the best cook ever Mum”. Love ’em. Anyway, you are not alone! A-M xx

    • Katrina (author)

      Ha! I only cook for ‘survival’, and I am happy to be that way (no desire to get all fancy!!), but I think I need some organisation. Drives me mad and my husband mad when I have nothing organised for dinner. I think with 4 males in the house it’s about time I pulled my finger out!

  • Viv

    Hi Katrina! I hate always having to think of meals so I usually plan them using my family planner calender that I keep on the fridge. Basically we all have a column including ‘meals’. By writing them out at least 2 weeks in advance (I often leave weekends free so that we can have some spontaniety!) we can then shop specifically each fortnight and I don’t need to think about it each day, just grab what meat we need from the freezer and place in the fridge the night before. It also means that as we shop for produce at the markets we can be specific and have very little waste. This year I’m back at work full time (we have two girls)so I think this will be essential to ‘stay sane’!

  • Lisa

    A couple of months ago I brought a meal planner magnet and found writing on it week by week we were spending less money and having more variety and healthier meals rather than thinking about what to eat until lunch time that day when you choose the easiest meal to quickly go to the shops. You can buy all different types of planners – ones with shopping lists etc.

  • Tracey

    Yes, I meal plan. I work full time so find it essential. I have used a kikki-k meal planner in the past…mostly using this one and then I can write what needs doing during the day as well as the meal. They also have a specific meal planner but it has breakfast/lunch/dinner which I don’t need as we have school and work lunches. I find it much easier to manage that way and am able to shop for only what I need. It’s easier to stay healthy as well and not be tempted to grab take away every night or my favourite…scrambled eggs! Another thing that helps is cooking double quantities and freezing meals such as casseroles and sauces and also making hommus in bulk and freezing it for lunches.

    • Katrina (author)

      Sounds great! I’m going to check this planner out. I need something pretty to inspire me!

  • Jo

    Hi Katrina
    I love a bit of organisation and meal planning. Unfortunately, I don’t always follow through and like you, do the daily dash up the shops. But, this year, the idea is to stop all that. Like Lisa, I have splashed out on the pretty planners. I figure if it’s pretty, I am far more likely to use it.
    Kikki K is my friend! I llllove Kikki K stuff. I have bought their shopping list and menu planner. Both magnetic and stick on the fridge. Have also bought their family planner calender. You write each member of the family’s name across the top and it is so much easier to write everything in. It also has a column for birthday’s. I like that because quite often, I will miss a birthday because it has dentist appointment/school sports/haircut written over the top of it!
    And, the other thing that I am going to use this year is a present my Mum gave me for Christmas. She gave a copy to my sister and I and when we opened it, we both laughed. It’s a cookbook called “Cooking with Aldi – one family, one supermarket”. Now, I’m not a huge Aldi fan (apart from their teeny tiny choc top ice creams), but when I sat down with the cook book, I think I may just be a convert. Great, really practical, easy family meals where you can buy all the ingredients at Aldi.
    So, the plan is, to sit down with my cook book, write a menu plan on my kikki k menu planner and at the same time, write out the shopping list. So, there we go.
    Essay over. Got a bit carried away.
    Keep cool today X

    • Katrina (author)

      I think I like that idea – have something pretty to motivate me! Will check that out. Thanks Jo! x

  • Kylie
    I like to use this idea! I started doing meals this way and had a heap of meals and a full freezer ready to go in no time!…Though My Budget is more like $200Plus not $70 But I love the idea of making up a Bolognese then converting it into …Chilli,then shepards pie,then sloppy joe wraps ect just by adding different things to the original starter.:) Good luck and check out the other ideas on the same site from others who have added their plans:)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Katrina, yep I menu plan. I dont always fulfill the weekly meals I have chosen but there is always something else in the freezer if someone else wants to cook. I love to go that is a good to check out! I go through my freezer fridge and pantry and make up meals from what I have. My fave thing to do when i have time is sit at the kitchen bench with all my cookbooks and mags spread out and add one or two new recipes. A little tip though! Just use the one book at a time. You soon forget why you brought that ingredient languishing at the back of your fridge. I also keep basics like chicken,bac and pizza bases. Then we can have apricot chicken, bacon and eggs, spuds in there jackets are awesome with baked beans tuna sour cream and salad in them. Easy stuff for boys could be tacos and pizzas and they could do their own. I was going to suggest the organizing junkie. Laura has come along way since I started following here about oh six years ago?

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining

    I am a “wing it” chick- that’s my NY resolution – plan more. I think it would save us a bucket of money too. Kekky, I’ve bookmarked that link! xx

  • Ange

    Hi Katrina. Yes I menu plan. I just can’t cope with working and then having to pop into the supermarket on the way home every day. I plan my meals every fortnight – things do change however so it’s not set in stone – but mostly I do one big shop for the staples each fortnight based on my menu and then I do a fruit and veg shop every week. I really like this idea as it’s one less thing to think about and organise each day. Good luck with your menu planning! Ange

  • Miss C

    With 4 kids, I grew up in a menu planned household. It was good when we were older & something on the menu was not to your likening – you arranged to go out. It was at least one meat free day, at least one fish meal and quick meals on Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights.

    • Katrina (author)

      Thank you!

  • The Distressed Mother

    ha I’ve just done a post on this! I really need to get organised, especially with cooking dinner. I call in at Coles every day on the way home from work and decide what to cook that night.

    I have a cupboard full of recipe books that I never use so want to start having a ‘new’ meal once a week.

    We can do it!

    TDM xx

    • Katrina (author)

      You sound exactly like me!

  • Jane

    I use a meal planner template that I got from Kikki K for about $10. It’s great because it means I know exactly what I need to buy at the shops, plus it means I never have to really think about what I’m going to cook! Mind you, I haven’t planned a meal for the past month or so because there have just been so many Christmas parties/BBQs/family lunches to go to! Starting tomorrow I will be back to my super-organised meal planning self! xxx

  • Kindred Spirits

    Gee some really good ideas! I wish I had one BUT when I get hold of a thermomix you will know abbout it!! I think thats my answer to organisation iin my house

    • Katrina (author)

      Please share! Sounds interesting 🙂

  • Laura

    My hubby gets paid monthly so we have to try and be pretty organised. We have a list of our usual meals and do a big shop at the Butchers on pay day and then just buy the fresh stuff as we need it. I have found on the months that we don’t get organised at the beginning we spend so much more money. I also have a folder that I keep in the kitchen where I keep any recipes that I get online or from friends, once I have cooked a recipe I tick it so I know it was good and move it towards the front of the folder. The chicken and corn chowder that you and Amie cooked on the block is in there!

    • Katrina (author)

      Oh yay! My fav meal 🙂

  • Julie Silcock

    Hi, each Sunday I go through my recipe books, magazines etc, write down in my diary what each days meal will be and do my shopping list at the same time. I spend less at the supermarket and feel more relaxed cos I’m not stressing at 5pm.

    • Katrina (author)

      This is me – a stresser at 5pm!

  • Leonie -Australia

    No I don’t, but I really want to this year, I think this is a problem for those of us that would really rather be doing something else besides cooking. It’s hard to be inspired when you are not passionate about it. I must admit I loved your recipe from the block & have cooked it heaps, my kind of recipe, quick easy & yummy, oh and only one dirty pot. We need you gran to give us some more like that one LOL.

    • Katrina (author)

      Yes, I should ask her!!

  • Bronwyn @ Mad Crafty Mama

    A couple of times a year I get back into the menu planning routine, and it does make a big difference. (Usually I decide what we’re having when I ready to start cooking!). We are almost an hour away from a decent supermarket, so I only shop once a week, or less. That means no spur of the moment meal decisions – if I don’t have something, I move onto Plan B. Maybe I should get back into the swing of menu planning – the kids usually love knowing what’s coming up, so they might motivate me more this time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *