Menu Planning

I'm a meal planner. I have been since I married David. My mother meal plans and it's a habit I grew up seeing practiced. I love the ease of it. I love how I don't have to think about what's for dinner except when I get lazy and don't plan. What I don't love is coming up with all the meals.

One of my goals for this year is to institute better eating habits. I would say that on the whole we eat fairly healthy meals. We're not big meat eaters and to say we adore our CSA is an understatement. I sneak in bran and veggies wherever I can which typically happens in soups and salads. To make our diet more healthy, we're buying less convenience foods (i.e. Goldfish, pudding, cream soups) and finding whole food substitutes.

Simultaneously, we're doing a family experiment to lower our food costs.  This is in part to save money, realign needs vs. wants, and eat from our pantry before it consumes us! I am watching food prices more closely and we've eliminated ice cream as a regular household item. For those of you who know me, you know this is a huge change!
I read what Jamie does for dinners and was inspired by a post at Simple Mom regarding lunches. [Sorry I can't find the link to the article!] The post suggested doing simple lunches. For example, instead of always trying to decide what is for lunch, stick to cheese, pretzels and fruit. It fills hungry bellies, keeps the satisfied, and is healthy.

However, I'm still having trouble. What are some ways you have streamlined menu planning in your home? Have you found a way to have variety and predictability with low cost? Please share! I'm in serious need of culinary inspiration.

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