As I've previously confessed, I have a bit of trouble when it comes to menu planning and grocery shopping. It amazes me that I can run a fairly successful review blog but plan weekly meals for the family? Fuggedaboudit. Organization is not one of my strong suits. But three little words are helping me out tremendously: Simple. Organized. Sanity.
Simple Organized Sanity (S.O.S. - how clever!) is a mom-owned business that seeks to help families and businesses reduce their stress level and save time and money through better organization. Who better than a mom to understand our juggling act of responsibilities? Christie uses her passion for organizing to provide "real-world", helpful solutions to families, from in-home classes (if you happen to live in the SW Missouri area) to virtual and phone coaching sessions. Christie shares her vast experiences and expertise with clients to help them transform their lifestyle. S.O.S. also offers a variety of sheets and checklists to assist you with your planning, from children's birthday parties to social media trackers to chore charts. You just order the sheet(s) you want, download and save to your computer and you can print anytime you need them!
S.O.S. kindly sent me four of their menu planning sheets to review.
The Weekly Menu Planner is, well, self-explanatory. Basically, it allows you to design your family's meal plan for seven days. Since we are forever running out of milk, we do our grocery runs weekly and this planner makes it easy to plan for those trips. There is space for the ubiquitous three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) but it would be nice to have room to document snacks as well, since we are nibblers and like to munch more than three times a day.
The Two Week Menu Sheet is similar to the weekly planner but is biweekly for those of you who like to think a little further ahead. I found this sheet very useful for planning Nate's meals. Being that he is so picky, we often make him a separate meal or adapt what we're having to suit his finicky tastes. Instead of worrying about what to make with what we have on hand, I can now refer to this handy dandy piece of paper. I can also get a bird's eye view of what I am offering him on a regular basis to make sure he is receiving balanced nutrition.
The 31-Day Meal Planning Sheet is a monthly format, for you master menu planners. This would be great for those who do wholesale shopping and like to stock up in one visit, or for those who have a deep freezer and can make room for a month's worth of meals. For us, that proves difficult so the weekly or biweekly planners are more our style. For now, at least.
After you develop your final menu(s), you can then compile your Grocery List. I loved that this sheet was categorized by food group so I could not only plan my grocery route but I could ensure we are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals from each group. Having an organized grocery list helps me to avoid buying items on a whim and spending more money than I need to. I can go in with a mission and because I'm not perusing every aisle, I can get in and out of the store in record time. Score!
All of the lists were simple and no-frills. I kinda wished for some color or a cute little kitchen design to make them more aesthetic. But seeing as though these are for one-time use, it really doesn't matter too much.
You could probably create a replica of these lists with Microsoft Office if you are tech-savvy but if you are short on time or don't have the patience or know-how to make your own, I think Simple Organized Sanity is definitely the way to go. At just $.99/each, they are an extremely affordable option to save you the headache.
Bottom line: If you are menu planning-challenged and looking for a cheap and easy solution, look no further than Simple Organized Sanity.
With Nate's toys taking over our living and family rooms, I think I also may be investing in that virtual coaching option in the near future. I'm putting out an S.O.S. for some storage and organizational input!
BUY IT: You can purchase the menu sheets and other products or services online exclusively at www.simpleorganizedsanity.com.
You can stay up-to-date with all the happenings at S.O.S. by following their blog or following them on Twitter!