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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Menu Planning for Busy... Everyone

I am honestly not quite sure if anyone pays attention to the links on my sidebar or not, but just in case someone very observant is wondering why I have two different menu planning sites over there, here is the answer!

I am terrible at menu planning.  Abysmal, really.  It hurts our time management for the family, it hurts our budget, and it hurts our health.

Several years ago, I discovered Menu Planning Central (to be honest, I don't remember exactly where I first saw it.)  I downloaded a sample menu, saw how well everything was laid out, and noticed they were having a sale, so I signed up.  Amazing!!  It took a couple of weeks to figure out how it best worked for me.  (I only bought 3 days worth of groceries at a time, and made sure to use up leftovers before the next shopping trip.  My kids were much smaller then, and we never ate all of anything.)   It saved us a lot, and the recipes were really simple to follow.  You downloaded 2 different pdf files for each week, depending on which type of menu you want (family friendly, healthy, money saving), and the new menus come out at the beginning of the month.  You can mix and match.  One pdf file is all the recipes for the week, including side dishes nicely paired with their main meals, and a couple of weekend brunches, and some desserts.  The other pdf file is the shopping list, organized by the different sections of the grocery store.  Each day's recipes have a letter, so you can easily tell which things on the shopping list are which.

A little over 2 years ago, I was introduced to the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.  The principals of the plan make SO much sense to me, and after a bit of a learning curve, it really is simple.  MPC did not include THM menus, and so I muddled through with book recipes and combing different blogs.

THEN, the sisters at Build A Menu posted in one of the THM FaceBook groups.  Their service works a bit differently.  They have several different categories (breakfast, lunch, sides, dinners, snacks, desserts, etc).  Each category has new recipes each week, and you pick and choose which ones you want to use, and which ones you wish to pair together.  The site has a sidebar which lists which recipes you've chosen, and even keeps a running total of your estimated grocery cost.  They have several different types of recipes, including Paleo, THM, Family Friendly, etc.

Now, MPC has recently been purchased.  Christine is going back to school, and felt it was time to move on from MPC.  I don't know if any of you remember SuperMom's Health & Wellness, but I sure do!  I was very happy to read that none other than SuperMom herself, Erica Johns, was the new captain at the helm of MPC.

So this is a brief history of my time with meal planning, and why there are two different services linked in my sidebar.  Feel free to ask any questions, look them over, and see which method will work best for your family!

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