So after years of making menus (BECAUSE IT TOTALLY SAVES TIME AND ENERGY) I slowly found that I have a system in my head that guides my choices…. I know. I really am just realizing this… 🙂
Beyond keeping a growing list stuck on the side of the fridge or inside a cupboard of yours and your family’s favorite meals- this is how I have found making a weekly menu that is not only full of favorites, but also full of variety. I think sometimes we lose ground in our homemade dinners when we feel “its all the same.”

So here’s what I have done that works well:

Seven days a week, so pick seven types of meals. Examples:

1. Soup
2. Ethnic/or new recipe
3. Breakfast foods
4. Pasta dish
5. Sandwich of some kind (grilled cheese, baked bagelwiches, french dip, burgers, etc)
6. Salad night (or something like a salad- nachos, potato bar, pasta/chicken salad varieties with rolls,    green salad with all sorts of yummy toppings, etc)
7. Pizza (gotta have it once a week around here)
8. Fish meal
9. Casserole
10. Out to eat/pre-made frozen dinner (I only use this one 1-2 times per month- and its ok! I promise.)

So as you make your menus, to keep it full of variety try having 7 different types of dishes each week and pick your menu items based on which day you want to have which type of foods.

One other tip- look at your week and choose the quick and super easy meals for your busiest days. Then when it comes to that crazy day when you have been on your feet all day and your kids are whining for food at 5:30pm, you glance at your already planned out menus and see “Frozen Pizza” and all relief floods your thoughts and you just pop it in, and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. And since you planned ahead, you probably have stuff for a side salad or fruit to go with it! YES!

And on Sunday or another less stressful day, you may have time to glance at the menus and see that you planned Spaghetti and have time to plan out how you will get those noodles cooked in time for dinner later.

I’m tellin’ ya. If you are not planning out your meals weekly (I find weekly is the most reasonable), then you are most likely sacrificing your family time (which by the way, family time around a table with a home cooked meal is PROVEN to create more love, security, and balance in a family…), and if you are eating out a lot, there is some nutrition lost as well. And don’t tell me its cheaper to eat out— because its not.