Is your compost pile eating as well as you are? Maybe a little menu planning could solve that. If you’re like me, you don’t go to the farmer’s market with the idea of composting a bunch of beautiful rainbow chard. Or at least it was beautiful when you bought it, but now it’s in the veggie drawer of the fridge, limp and not the color you were going for.
Menu planning allows you to use up what you already have, and buy only what you really need. You’ll save money, eat better, and stop wasting so much food. Not a bad way to stay within your budget and go green.
You don’t have to spend hours pouring over cookbooks to plan a menu. In fact, there are sites that even make them for you. They are easy on your budget too since they’re free.
Eating Well has a great menu planner and tons of recipes for you to use. They allow space for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. That’s a little more than I can commit to planning at the moment, but it’s nice to know it’s there when I’m ready. It even helps you out with a shopping list after you’ve chosen your menu.
Want fewer decisions? Try Epicurious’s menu planner. They make a new menu for you each week. It’s dinner only, Monday through Friday, but includes an appetizer and dessert. It’s not very vegetarian-friendly, but you can always make substitutions. They also give you a shopping list for the week. You can bring it along to the farmer’s market and make sure you have everything you need for the whole week.
Wish you had menus to cheat off of? Organizing Junkie hosts Menu Planning Monday on her blog. 200 to 300 people post their menus every Monday. Each person’s menu is different and some posts even have recipes or links to recipes. Organizing Junkie is the reason I was able to get into the planning habit. I decided I would post my menu for a month and I was hooked.
So give it a try. I know it’s hard to think about planning one more part of your life, but once you start, I promise you’ll look forward to dinner instead of worrying over the decision of what to cook.