Menu Planning Alleviates “What’s for Dinner, Mommy?”

Perhaps worse than not knowing what to make for dinner are the sweet little voices asking continually, “What’s for dinner, Mommy?” when you have no answer for them. I discovered a simple solution – weekly meal planning.

Before grocery shopping each week, I wrote out our dinner meals for the following week. Then I printed it and posted it on the refrigerator. I could check with a glance if I needed to defrost meat for the next day’s meal or prep veggies in the morning. Best of all, those children who could read knew where to look for the meal plan. When the pre-readers asked what was for dinner, I usually had already checked and was ready with the answer, but if not, I had it at my fingertips.

With all adults living in our home, we still do weekly meal planning (see the screenshot of my Google Doc spreadsheet below with my meal plans for the last three weeks). I no longer post it on the refrigerator, though. The adults are content to discover the dinner meal when they sit down to eat.

Trusting in Jesus,

Menu Planning with Google Docs

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That
man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
Luke 4:4

13 thoughts on “Menu Planning Alleviates “What’s for Dinner, Mommy?””

  1. I do menu planning on a blank calendar template that I print each month. I can jot down events which might interfere with meals, such as church events, doctor appointments, or extracurricular activities, and can plan meals accordingly. Crock pot meals are especially helpful on days where we have a doctor appointment and won’t be at home, and I like to cook large batches of meals on slower days, to plan for leftovers on busier days. I keep the current and previous months’ meals handy on my kitchen counter so I can look back at what we’ve eaten and add some variety to our meal rotation.

    I think the key is to find a system that works *for you* and helps you be a good steward of both your grocery budget and your time.

  2. Teri- I really liked seeing your meal plans for dinner. Would you be willing to share some breakfast and lunch ideas as well? 🙂

  3. Yum! Can I come for dinner?

    Seriously though, I wanted to ask, do you plan breakfasts and lunches too? I often find myself at a loss at noon with a hungry baby, wishing I had some ready-made hardboiled eggs or something. I really need to get more organized with meal planning. Also, what kind of vegetable side dishes do you make for the meals like smoked ham or biscuits and gravy where you don’t mention them? Thanks!

    1. When I was homeschooling, I had a weekly lunch plan. We had the same meal every Monday for lunch. The same meal every Tuesday for lunch, but it was a different meal from the other days of the week. Does that make sense? I can’t remember right now exactly what it was but something like: Monday – Sandwiches, Tuesday – Soup, Wednesday – Leftovers, etc. That greatly simplified my lunch planning. Plus everyone knew what we had on the various days of the week. For our vegetable sides at dinner, most nights we have a fresh green salad. We also regularly have green beans or cooked mixed vegetables.

  4. Thanks so much for this.. I do weekly menu planning for all our meals ( breakfast and lunch too ) but never could figure a good way to do it so I always wrote it on paper which would always get lost or drawn on by a little one. Google docs looks simple and easy to use!

    1. I think you will like the Google Doc. Plus you can go back and easily repeat a section of meals when you are planning and lack creativity that day.

  5. As a busy mom of 2 under 3 I can definitely appreciate the meal planning! Also, I’m curious, what is Pike’s Peak roast? Recipe, please! ? We live in Denver so very familiar with Pike’s Peak.

    1. Pike’s Peak Roast is a cut of roast that our Amish beef farmer’s butcher does. We were used to chuck, arm, or shoulder roasts but had not previously heard of Pike’s Peak Roast. Here is the actual recipe I used for this Pike’s Peak Roast: We didn’t like the gravy as much as we like simple brown gravy, but the roast, potatoes, and carrots were delicious. We used the crockpot method. I searched for a recipe for Pike’s Peak Roast because we have cooked it other ways, but we have not always been happy with the results.

  6. I just love it! I hate planning dinner. I was just thinking you could integrate this google calendar and share it with your family members.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. It would be great if this were a method that would help you not have to hate dinner planning. Yes, you are right. If family members wanted to know what was for dinner, I could easily share the Google Doc with them. Right now I link the cooks to it.

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