Get into the menu-planning routine

Like any new habit, menu planning gets easier with practice. Over time, you'll figure out ways to make the process work for you. In the meantime, here are some tips and tricks from seasoned menu planners:

  • Give each day a theme. Don't start from scratch every week. Establish theme days. For example, designate Mondays as pasta nights and Thursdays as chicken nights. Plan to try new recipes on Saturdays and polish off leftovers on Sundays.
  • Recycle your menus. Don't throw away your menu plan at the end of the week. Instead, hold on to it and reuse it later.
  • Be flexible. Your menu isn't written in stone. Feel free to swap things around. Or designate one night as "cook's choice" and use that night to clear out the refrigerator by making a casserole, stir-fry or other mix-and-match meal.

Bask in the glory

Take a moment to feel good knowing that menu planning is making it easier for you to eat a healthy diet. And give yourself an extra pat on the back for saving money while you're at it!

Oct. 25, 2011 See more In-depth