It has been so much fun talking about menu planning all this month. From simplifying menu planning to finding a meal plan that fits to eating healthy when travelling, we have it all covered. So, today, I thought we’d look at some amazing resources to help you get started with menu planning easily and quickly.
Books and eBooks to Make Menu Planning a Breeze
Being a lover of the printed word, I always reach for a book when I can. Menu planning is no different. You’ll find tons of great books, written by moms and homemakers to help you with creating a menu plan system for your family. Plus, if like me, you enjoy finding steals and deals, you’ll love the affordable and free eBooks that I’ve dug out for you. But first, the books:
I love the Dummies series. Yes, laugh if you may. But truly, have you ever reached for something that is simple, easy-to-understand and helpful as well. Chances are it is a book from the Dummies series. The 7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies is no different. The book gives you a year’s worth of dinner ideas with recipes and menu plans that revolve around themes as well. So, you have family, kids, express, budget, heat and eat and more. Mix and match or take it right from the book, your pick. Plus, the book is chockfull of tips on choosing foods that are healthy, organizing your kitchen, time management for the busy cook and much more!
2. The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase
If like me, you like to plan your breakfasts and lunches too, you’ll love this cook book. It isn’t a book on menu planning but it can make planning breakfasts and lunches super-easy and frugal too. Erin Chase aka $5 Dinner Mom shares over 200 (that’s right) recipes in this awesome breakfast and lunch cookbook to make healthy, wholesome breakfasts and lunches a breeze. This one is a book that is on my must-review list as soon as I can lay my hands on it in an Indian store. Even if you can’t get the book, I’d recommend visiting Erin’s site where each week she shares a menu plan complete with a printable grocery list. Talk about simplifying your life!
3. No Whine with Dinner by Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex
I follow Liz and Janice on Twitter, visit their website regularly and think that they do a great job of dishing out recipes that even the pickiest eater at your table will enjoy. While I really wanted to review No Whine with Dinner as well as their other book The Mom’s Guide to Meal Makeovers, overseas shipping kinda ruled that out. Anyways, I am trying to get my hands on these books here in India and would surely share a detailed review should I get a copy. Meanwhile, you can check out either the books or their website for some really great menu planning inspiration and kid-friendly meals.
4. Organizing Life as Mom by Jessica Fisher
This is my go-to ebook (read my review) for everything related to home mamagement, organizing and yes, menu planning. I don’t think there is a post in this series where I’ve not sung the praises of Jessica’s lovely ebook. Word is that it will soon be updated and improved. How you improve something that is already perfect is what I’m waiting to see! Meanwhile, if you want ready-to-use templates that can either be filled right in the ebook or printed and filled out for your daily, weekly and monthly menu plans, please check out Organizing Life as Mom. Trust me, you’ll love it.
5. A FREE Menu Planning eBook from Econobusters
Yes that is right, here is a FREE ebook that talks all about menu planning for the busy, budget-conscious mom. Molly Green, founder of Econobusters, is giving away a lovely ebook by Sheri Graham designed to help you menu plan for a whole month. Yes, you do need to sign up for Molly’s weekly newsletter but really when you’re getting so much goodness, do you really mind that? Thought so. Go here to subscribe to Molly’s newsletter and then, download the eBook.
Plan Meals Easily with Software and Websites
I’ve not had the chance to try out any of these software for menu planning but if you’re a techno-whiz, which clearly I am not, you’ll love how easy these software make menu planning.
The Shop N Cook website has several options for a home maker to choose from. However, if you’re looking for menu planning help, it is the Shop N Cook Menu that offers you a menu planner and a shopping list planner that work together to make shopping for groceries and time in the kitchen an easy-peasy job. It organizes your recipes into cookbooks, “The software interprets the recipes and yields the nutritional analysis automatically. You plan your meals by dropping recipes on a calendar and can organize them in menus” and much more. While it does cost $49.95, you can try it for 45-days for FREE.
Food on the Table is an online menu planning service. What makes it SO cool is that you can sign up in less than 30 seconds, choose your grocery store, set your food preferences, select your ingredients, recipes and see your grocery list in next to no time. It is a breeze. While I did sign up, it really isn’t for me since it lists only US-stores. So, if you are based in the US, I totally recommend this service and hope that you check it out. It does look as if it will make shopping for groceries and planning your meals a no-fuss job!
Plus, I’ve already spoken about using I’m an Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Mondays as well as the Allrecipes site for some cool menu planning inspiration.
What menu planning resources do you know about? Free? Paid? Super-helpful? Do share!
Disclosure: I’m just sharing resources that I believe will be helpful. I wasn’t compensated for mentioning any of these. Most of them don’t even know that I exist!
Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler