Sunday, May 8, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Not to Menu Plan

When my friend Elizabeth posted this: Top Ten Reasons you Shouldn't Plan a Weekly Menu, I thought finally, I'm not the only one!  Then I read it, and quickly realized that the writer was not actually on the non-menu planning side.  Grumble, I guess I just have to do it myself. My list is a little repetitive, but so's theirs.

10.  I work nights, therefore, I don't really eat a lot of meals.  There's really nothing worse than tucking into a huge plate of pasta right before you have to be at the top of your game.

9. Since I work nights, I eat alone.  My bf cooks for himself and I cook for myself so there's no need to make scads of food that will go bad before I can consume it all.

8. The grocery store is right next to work--both of my jobs, if I think of something I want to eat afterward, I can swing by and pick it up no problem.

7. I don't really eat that much.  I make one "meal" a week, and then eat it for three days.  I don't really need to write that down.

6. My mood changes.  I may feel like one thing on the day I'm menu planning, but then later want something completely different.  I don't want to be married to a schedule on my downtime, I get enough of that at work. What next?  You have a meal plan, a wardrobe plan, structured leisure time--blech!  Maybe it makes it easier, but it seems a lot less satisfying than seeing what you can come up with.

5. I have a menu plan in that I plan to eat all of my produce and perishables before they go bad.  I don't need to take it any further than that.  You don't need a written down plan to know how much food you will consume in a given week.

4.  Writing a menu plan takes far more time than looking at your pantry and coming up with something to cook.  Also, to me, it sounds like homework and I would not enjoy it.  As much as I love saving money, I refuse to take on money-saving tasks (especially on a weekly basis) that sound so arduous.  If you're always on the lookout for recipes, and you look at the store circular each week for sale items, you can shop and cook far more quickly than if you agonized about which meal to have when.

3. I used to plan a lot more, of everything.  I would wake up in the morning with a rough structured plan for the day and I would not deviate from it.  Problem was, I was in grad school, and things among my peers were a lot more casual.  I turned down a lot of last-minute plans because I didn't want to deviate from my schedule, and then I noticed that everyone else knew each other a lot better than I knew them.  I was constantly playing catch-up because actually making friends with my peers was more important than sticking to my precious schedule, but I didn't realize that until too late.  I still have a rough plan for my days off, but if something that I want to do comes up last-minute, I go for it.

2. Some meals are unexpected. I feel like if you have a menu plan, and then an old friend comes into town and you go out to eat, which results in two days' worth of leftovers, then your whole scheme for the week is thrown into chaos.  See #3, sometimes it's just better to go with the flow.

1. Not having a plan fosters creativity i.e. that pasta sauce I invented.  I would never have planned for that, cause I didn't know about it!  Most of the recipes I post on here are things I've made up that have turned out well.  Sometimes I use a recipe as a guideline and sub in other ingredients, but if I were to menu plan, I'd shop strictly for the ingredients I'd need for the recipes I picked, and miss out on the happy accidents.  I like the happy accident the best.

I get it, you have a family, it probably makes more sense to menu plan, but for me, it just doesn't and I'm tired of feeling bad about it.  For all the singletons out there--don't let them make you feel bad!  Just find a system that works for you, and make sure to eat your leftovers.


  1. Thanks for this! I also usually eat alone, and on the occasions that I do a meal plan and make a big dish of something... I wind up tired of eating it after a few days.

  2. I thought about you when I posted that so I'm glad you found it. The one reason I menu plan is because I'm the person that stands in front of the fridge at 5:00 (okay 6:30) wondering what I'm supposed to make for dinner. I would end up with a) tons of food waste, b) eating out way too much, and c) eating the same three things over and over again. Menu planning isn't for everyone, but I'm naturally disorganized enough to know that I have to to save my wallet.

    But good for you for not needing one. Can I borrow some of your organization sometime? :)

  3. I think it's more of an obsessive interest in my next meal than organization :)