Menu Plans

How To

Why Menu Plan?

Taking a little time to plan out your meals for the week can help you save time and money. The biggest benefit is that you can eat healthier by knowing and controlling the ingredients going into your meals. By planning ahead for the week, you can shop for sales, buy exactly what you need and reduce food waste, avoid those last-minute trips to the grocery store to purchase missing ingredients and reduce the need to order take-out!  


How To Plan Your Menu 

1. Use a menu planner. Calendars, apps, notebooks, white boards - use what works best for you. If you are unsure of how this will all work, try using our printable planners to start with.  

2. Set a goal: Why are you menu planning? Is it for health reasons? Saving time? Or saving money? 

3. Look at flyers or online sales pages. Many stores release their new flyers later in the work week. 

4. Make a list of favourite recipes. If you are short on ideas or just drawing a blank when you’re planning, this list can help you move forward. 

5. Set aside a planning time each week. If you tend to shop on Sunday, give yourself an hour on Saturday to plan out your menu.   

6. Get everyone involved. Whether it’s your roommates, spouse or kids; they’re more likely to go along with the meal plan if they are involved. 

7. Make a list. When making a grocery list write out all the ingredients you will need and how many times you need them.  

Group your lists by aisle or section in the grocery store to avoid circling around the grocery store. Try using our Printable Shopping List Template to get started.  

Once your list is done, see what you have at home already and cross off items you have to avoid buying doubles. 

8. Post the menu so everyone can see it. This helps prevent repetitious choruses of “What’s for dinner?”  

9. Be flexible. Prepare for days that don’t work. Have some basics in your pantry. 

10. Keep a well-stocked pantry. That way you have some wiggle room for changes. Not sure about what to have in your pantry? Check out our Basic Pantry page.  

  • In the Grocery Store
    • Learn how your grocery store is set up and write your list according to the store arrangement. This can save time and helps avoid impulsive choices.  
    • Shop when you have time to do it all at once or shop for staples once a month and perishables once a week.  
    • Shop when you’re not hungry to avoid impulse buys. If possible, shop without distractions, such as crying children. 
    • Mark your list as you put things into the cart. 
    • Shop the outside aisles of the store first. This will include the healthier sections: produce, dairy, bakery and meat products.  
    • Be flexible. If you have on your list to buy a whole chicken, but chicken pieces or even another meat is on at a good price, see if your menu plan can be adapted. 
    • If shopping is a step that you dread each week or have trouble finding time for, take advantage of “click and collect” or grocery delivery services which allow you to order groceries online and pick up or have delivered to your home. Be sure to still make a menu plan and a grocery list.  
  • Helpful Tips
    • Look at your schedule – busy on Wednesday? Make extra on Tuesday so you don’t have to cook again. 
    • Ask your family if they want to try anything. Giving them some input could prevent them from grumbling around the table.  
    • Look ahead – if you have to cut up carrots for tonight’s and tomorrow’s dinner, cut enough for both nights at once. 
    • Write your grocery list as you plan your menu. Print out our printable shopping list so you can do both side-by-side.