Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lifestyle Blog: Meal Planning with a DIY Menu Board

On a quest to make my weekly grocery shopping and dinner time meal planning more efficient, I decided it was time to implement a menu board into my routine.  I did a little research online and gathered some ideas.  I created a simple table via my OpenOffice application on my computer followed by a similar table format for my menu items. 
I then printed my menu board and menu items.  I chose to print all my regular menu items on pink paper and all items that require heating the oven on blue paper.  I had initially planned on dividing all menu items based on a color coded seasonal system however, that proved to be too much as a lot of dishes cross over between seasons.  After I printed out my menu board and menu items, I took them to my local FedEx printing center where I was able to laminate the paper.  At home, I proceeded to cut out each menu item and attach an adhesive round magnet on the back.

I chose to create menu item magnets so I could easily just pick a dish without giving my meal planning much thought about whether I'd just made that item that week or the week before.  I'm hoping this system will enable me to change up my dinner routine by adding variety to our nightly meals.  This new system will also help with putting together my weekly shopping list so I know I am buying exactly what I need for each trip to the grocery store. I also created a "Leftover" and "Dining Out" menu item for those weeks where I know we'll be having excess food or a special event planned. 

A similar system for those who enjoy implementing new recipes would be to utilize a dry erase marker to write meal items on the laminated menu board for the designated days of the week.  If I am planning to implement a new recipe, I figured this would also work in place of the pre-made magnet items. 
After I completed my menu board, I placed a few adhesive magnets on the back of the main menu board and placed it on my refrigerator.  Now my husband and I will both know what to expect each night of the week for our dinner time meals.  Overall cost of my menu board was less than $10.00.  Let me know if you've implemented a similar meal planning system and feel free to share what you do for meal planning in the comments below.

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