How to Become a Menu Planning Addict

How to Become a Menu Planning Addict

I was recently asked what one word my friends would use to describe me. I stumbled and came up with some generic (hopeful) responses like sincere, thoughtful, but Zach later reminded me of the one word that I really believe that people would use: organized. 

As someone who is definitely organized, menu planning or meal planning comes a little more naturally to me than some, but this one thing made it a surefire win for me. I read Dinner: A Love Story by blogger/author Jenny Rosenstrach. It reads like part novel, part cookbook, and her tales through raising two kids under two, while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life struck a chord with me. 

At the core of her philosophy is organization, and her bible: the menu plan. She has kept a weekly meal plan (or dinner diary, as she calls it) since 1998. Me, since 2013. 

 Jenny Rosenstrach's dinner diary, which dates back to 1998.

Jenny Rosenstrach's dinner diary, which dates back to 1998.

 An excerpt from book one of my own meal plan, dating back to 2013.

An excerpt from book one of my own meal plan, dating back to 2013.

So, here's my quick and easy guide to becoming a menu planning addict: 

Step 1: Read Dinner: A Love Story and fall head over heels with her sweet approach to family dinners. 

Step 2: Get a journal and start planning your weekly dinners. This is where it gets tricky. You have to dedicate some time (I usually do this on Sundays) to thinking through the week and making a grocery list. Then shop for as much of it as you can so you have it all on hand. Then cook your dinners as the week progresses.

It seems simple, but it does take dedication. There have been many weeks when I have skipped the planning (babies born, moves, burnout), but those weeks are always a little off. My least favorite question is "what are we going to do for dinner tonight" when I don't have a plan. Thanks to Jenny, I have this great tool.

Dinner: A Love Story, $17, Amazon

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