Do you find yourself struggling to eat healthy? Does the thought of making a decision every night about what to eat make you instead reach for the phone and call for takeout? Do you and your spouse play the game of ‘what do you want to eat tonight? I don’t know honey, what do you want to eat? I don’t know what do you want to eat’?

A weekly meal menu is a key way to make life run smoothly during the busy year. The few hours spent making up a menu plan will save loads of time and frustration in the long run, imagine coming home every evening knowing what you will make for supper!

The menu’s can be as simple or as complex as you want, including only suppers, or adding in lunches as well as morning and afternoon snacks. A menu reduces that after work stress of trying to figure out what you’re going to eat and it makes grocery shopping so much easier. One trip a week with a list in hand can save lots of money as well. If you are a parent, a menu is also a great way to get the rest of the family involved too. Older children can begin preparations before parents get home at the end of the day and enlisting their help with making school lunches helps this chore become a breeze.

Here are the simple easy steps to take:

1.Involve all family members, set aside some time, and brainstorm.

2.To help in the brainstorm process, make a list of common foods and favourite meals. If you want to change your eating habits get some cook books or look online for ideas and commit to trying something new each week.

3.Take the time to make a master list of all the types of food then you can mix and match and change things up by changing how it is prepared. For example- hamburger can be made into spaghetti sauce, Sheppard's pie, tacos, lasagne or just plain hamburgers. Pork can mean pork chops, tenderloins, ham or bacon. Don’t be afraid to be different, one of my families favourite suppers is pancakes with bacon and hash browns (it’s not just for breakfast anymore!) Variety is endless!

4.Plan main Course first Start with main dishes and then add side dishes, remember to use leftovers in your plan for lunches and quick meals. If you have meetings, events or kids activities that limit your meal time note them in your plan and add quick meals on those days.

5.Once you have an idea what meals you want to include in you menu use a menu template and fill it in. We have made one available for you just click this link to get it: Blank Menu Planning Template.  Just click the option to make a copy for yourself or download as an excel file!

6.Side dishes can add spice to your life. When planning side dishes think variety, rice dishes, potatoes dishes, vegetables, salads and pastas. Change it up during the week and enjoy trying new things.

Last thoughts I suggest doing a 6 week menu plan as this only require you to spend time once every 6 weeks and the plan can be reused or revamped so you are not starting from scratch each time. I personally have seasonal menus as we eat differently in the summer as we do in the winter (more BBQ in summer, YUM!)

Sometimes you need to use time to save time, I can guarantee that by spending a little time every six weeks planning your menu you will save loads of time, money, frustrations and possibly some calories too. Here’s to a happy healthy menu!! xox Kim