Menu & Shopping Planner {for lazy girls}

I’m not a big fan of cooking. Strike that – I’m not a big fan of the “Oh my gosh! It’s 5 p.m. what am I going to make for dinner?!?” panic session. A few weeks ago I decided that if I was going to eat better, then I needed a plan – one that didn’t include throwing in the towel and ordering take out. My new plan involved weekly grocery shopping – which I detest. Spending 2 hours running all over the store isn’t my kind of shopping. So, to kill 2 birds with one stone, I came up with a simple plan that includes a menu – and bonus – an easier solution for grocery shopping. I love win/win solutions!

Each Thursday, right after dinner, before we even leave the table, we decide as a family what we would like to eat for the next week. If you look closely at my menu planner (which is simple as simple can be) there isn’t a slot for Wednesday. That’s because Wednesday is always either takeout night or “let’s eat leftovers” night. Mama needs one night free of cooking. Well, at least this mama does! {By the way, you can click on the charts to get a full size printable for yourself }

I print the menu on one side of the card stock, then my grocery guide on the other. Regular paper seems to get all wrecked up by the end of the week, so card stock just keeps me sane.

To make my grocery list, I flip the sheet over and write down all the ingredients I’ll need to make dinner, plus whatever breakfast & lunch foods we typically eat. Breaking it down by the section really helps me from missing things on my list, and I make one trip around the store and I’m done. Seriously. I haven’t back tracked since I started this a few weeks ago – and it rocks! I’m in and out in no time {which is why I call it the lazy girl’s way.}

Less stress at dinner time + quick trips to the store + and a well-fed family = one happy mama. And you know if mama’s happy then everybody’s happy 🙂

What’s your trick to keeping dinner time stress free?

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About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. I do the same thing but I keep my lists and use them again or combine various weeks with favorites. Saves even more time!

  2. I have created a month of meals . . . not that I stick to it but that gives me ideas of what we can/will eat . . . things like sloppy joes or tacos come and go if my kids are “off” of a particular dinner.

    If I make tacos–I will buy and make enough for 3 dinners–put two in the freezer. I make up a vat of red sauce with carrots, peppers, onions, meat . . . you get the idea and then I freeze that down.

    Our dinners are really simple. Red sauce and Polenta. Tacos or Taco Salad. I try to have a smallish salad every night. I make rice and noodles early in the week . . . I made food ahead of time and just assemble during the week. We have 4 kids in sports so dinner time is a little crazy but I think it is important for us to eat together.

    My goal is to lose 70 lbs this year–so I am spending more time than normal on meal planning and exercising!

    My dinner is stress free–now if bed time could be stress free!

    Be Blessed.

  3. That’s wonderful! Making the menu while the fam is at the table! Now why have I never thought of that one!?!

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love this idea and will definitely try it out! I have been trying to eat healthier and plan my meals, so I know this will help me. Thanks again!

    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  5. Love this idea! I’m in the same boat…we plan our dinner the day off and often times not until we get home at 6pm. I plan to introduce this to my lil fam this week…Thanks!

  6. I just went digital with my meal planning since I’m always on my computer anyway it makes it super easy. I created two boards on pinterest one called “yumminess” where I pin recipes I think I’d like to try, and the other one called “next weeks dinners” where I move pins of items I plan on cooking next week. Then when it’s time to make a grocery list I pull up the reminders app on my computer (macbook) which syncs automatically with my phone, and I shared the list I made with my husband who can then access it on his computer and phone and add to it, or if he’s the one that ends up going to the store, he already has the list. It’s been so super convenient to do it this way.

  7. I LOVE THIS! How simple and easy, and all in one sheet. Very cool. I’ve just found your blog and you seem like a gal after my own heart. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have to admit. I’m a spreadsheet nut. I got an idea from Real Simple magazine about 7-8 years ago I created a spreadsheet that has all of the things I generally cook for dinner, divided by beef, chicken, pork, pasta. At the bottom are the days of the week. On another spreadsheet I made a grocery shopping list that includes stuff that I generally buy on a regular basis, plus generic stuff like crackers, noodles, and space for extra. It is laid out in the order of the aisles of my regular grocery store.

    Each Sunday, we look at the ads and decide what to have for dinner each night. I then look to see what ingredients I do not have on hand, and add them to the grocery list. I also have staples like milk, margarine, bread, etc. We still eat out once or twice a week because of our busy schedules, but I have cut our grocery bill by more than 1/3 (sometimes closer to 1/2) just by being organized. I love coming home and knowing what I am cooking that night. SOO MUCH EASIER! I highly recommend some sort of system around meal/grocery shopping planning!

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