Monday, August 15, 2016

"Go-To" Menu Planning Backup System

No matter how pretty the menu planners, sometimes you need a backup!
Menu planning. Some of us love it, some of us hate it - but there are very few of us who get it done perfectly without ever missing a week. Invariably, shopping day hits us once in a while when there's nothing planned, yet groceries need to be bought. Or, dinner time hits us when there's nothing planned, but tummies need to be filled.

Enter my new backup plan, the "Go-To" Menu Planning System.

This is how it works:

Sit down with each member of your family, and ask them this question: "If we had an entire year of the same seven meals - every Monday had the same menu, every Tuesday had the same menu, etc - what would YOU want those seven meals to be? Which of our family meals could you enjoy eating once a week for an entire year?"

Make a record of each person's answers. Don't forget to ask yourself!

This is your "Go To" menu plan.

Of course, if one member of your family adores Tempeh, while all the rest hate it, keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to add it to your backup plan. 

Then, when you're at the grocery store without a plan, pull out your "Go To" list.

When you need to cook dinner and don't have any ideas - pull out your "Go To" list.

In our house, I was pleasantly surprised to find out some things

1) Some of our family's favorites are also some of my easiest meals! NONE of them take more than 30 minutes hands-on time, and many of them are MUCH quicker than that!

2) There are some meals that we ALL like a lot!

3) As you can see - on its own - this is a solid two week plan.

4) This wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. There are some things that all of us liked that I did not anticipate, and some of those things that I thought would be on everyone's list weren't. 

3) This plan is a great conversation starter with friends - ask your friends what their lists are! : )

Once you have your "Master List" keep it in your wallet or on your smart phone for quick grocery store access. 

Here are some of our greatest Vegan & Vegetarian hits (I do keep an additional Omnivore list, too) :

Hummus & Veggies with Salad & Bread
Fasolia Yachni with Rice and Dolmades from a Can
Greek Black Eyed Peas or White Beans


  1. Good morning,

    This is a great idea! I am a work-in-progress when it comes to meal planning. I am definitely getting way better at it and more consistent, but this is a great tip to stay on track and not end up having cereal or take out for dinner some nights! Thank you for sharing!

    Lisa at Dreams and Caffeine

  2. I need to create a back up menu list! Great idea!

  3. This is a great idea Anna! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! :) It is nice to see you at this link up again! I hope your summer has gone well.


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