Erin Gappmayer, a Burlap & Denim reader, contacted me and wanted to share her BRILLIANT meal planning techniques. She calls it her Menu Board. I am honored that she has written the following tutorial for all of us to admire and recreate! Take it away Erin:
I love this menu board. It has been a work in progress for a long time and I absolutely would not do my meal planning any other way now. To create it in Microsoft Word, I first typed in any meal my family might eat during the month. I also typed in some things, like pizza, twice because we have a tendency to eat them more than once a month and “Out” to identify when we would be eating out that month. Then I changed the font color to reflect my own coding system – green for Mexican, purple for Italian, orange for sandwich-type meals, etc.
I printed off the Word document, cut the labels into strips, and put them onto magnet tape.
I then put them on a white board, organized by category.
For $10, I bought a calendar magnet board. I fill in the dates for the current month, any activities we have going on that may affect dinner plans (out of town, friends coming over, late work nights), and begin my meal planning for the entire month.
Getting Ready To Start
Completed Menu for the Month. This is what it looks like when I’m done.
What I love about using this calendar board:
- I keep coupons on the peg board at the bottom of the calendar and can grab them on our way out to eat.
- On the right side of the board I keep a freezer inventory and can make sure I use items before they go bad.
- I remember special days like birthdays easier because I’m looking at a calendar.
Why I LOVE this system:
- I save money on grocery shopping because I buy for two weeks worth of dinners.
- If something comes up, I can quickly look to see else I can make that will fit in our plans and that I will know I have the ingredients stocked in my pantry.
- If I change menu plans for that day, I simply switch around the magnets. No crossing out and writing in changes like I used to when I wrote out our menu for the week.
- If we try a meal and like it, I make a handwritten magnet for it. If we didn’t like it, I don’t make a magnet. When I have a stack of handwritten magnets, I type them in the computer. This way I remember to make the new meals and recipes don’t just get lost and forgotten in my recipe binder. They stare me in the face while I’m making our menu.
- I can easily see if we are eating Mexican three nights in a row.
- I make sure to use the entire jar or can of perishable items by putting meals that use similar ingredients within the same week.
- We eat out less and save money.