A menu plan is your first step to food savings

Planning for Success

by Leanne Ely CNC, the Dinner Diva


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You know that old saying "Failure to plan is planning to fail?" This old adage holds true in our businesses, our homes, and every aspect of our lives. Flying by the seat of your pants only leads to stress, mistakes, and often costs you more time and money than you want.

By doing things willy-nilly, it's easy to become out of control, which in turn feels like you never have any time for yourself, your kids, or your life. Having a plan also makes it easier to say no to things that needlessly suck up our time. We're all looking for more hours in the day and a plan can help you do just that.

We plan our days, we plan our menus, we plan for special events, and this time of year especially we plan for the future. Did you see how I sneaked menus in there? Having control on the food department of life is a huge part of making your life easier.

When making a menu plan, it's best to start from the end and work your way backwards. Here's how I do it:

  1. List several of your family favorites. Make sure it's easy-to-do stuff that can be done on a weeknight.

  2. Take a look at the recipes so you can see all of the ingredients you'll need and begin making the list. Be sure and think of your whole meal, including side dishes, beverages, bread, and condiments.

  3. Go through your pantry, cross off what you don't need and now you have your final grocery list.

Planning meals is easy; getting them done is quite something else. Remember to enlist your family members to help with the grocery shopping, meal preparation and clean up. Meal planning for the family is a family affair, not a one woman show. Don't be a martyr. Ask for help!

And if you need extra help with a menu plan, I know a Dinner Diva who would love to help you. Come see at SavingDinner.com!


Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular, FlyLady.net, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. SavingDinner.com. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

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