Five tips for meal planning + free printable meal planner and shopping list

It was something I hated, and it turned out I wasn’t the only one.

I’m talking, of course, about the dreaded act of sitting down with a pad of paper and a pen and figuring out what the H-E-double hockey sticks you’re supposed to feed your family over the course of a week — otherwise known as menu planning.

We were awful at it. Truly. We were making three and four trips to the grocery each week to “pick up a couple of things,” and never actually doing full grocery hauls. We weren’t making lists, unless it was to remember that we REALLY did need TP and man, seriously, don’t forget TP. We were spending a huge chunk of our incomes at the grocery store and weren’t even eating all that well, really.

Earlier this month, I put on my Herald Homes hat (well, T-shirt actually) and spoke at the Fall Ideal Home Show about why I love DIY projects. I brought some of my finished pieces to talk about, and there was an overwhelming interest in the menu chalkboard that hangs in kitchen family command centre.

People were intrigued by this piece of wood that I’d slathered with a coat of chalkboard paint and hung up on the wall. With the days of the week painted along the left, I had a space to write down the dinner I’d planned for each day.

I made the board because it looked cute, to be totally honest, but I wasn’t sure it was going to work for us. Like some household projects that start out with good intentions, there was a good chance this menu board was going to end up shoved in a closet until I repainted it for some other purpose.

But not this time. The menu board used the combined superpowers of chalkboard paint and swirly letters to convert me into a dedicated meal plan maker. I don’t know if it’s the accountability of having it right up there on the wall for visitors to see (and read thoroughly), or if it’s just because it’s more visible than a scrawled list stuck to the side of the fridge, but it’s definitely working.

Want to know my patent-pending method for planning meals and making a weekly grocery list? OK, get ready to have your mind blown.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene

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