The Capsule Menu

UPDATE:  February 2017 — All of the Capsule Menu information has been revised, updated and expanded!  It is available in the Creating a Capsule Menu book in print or Kindle!

Everyone has heard of a capsule wardrobe…but have you heard of a capsule menu?  The idea is the same…having a limited number of things (meals) that makes choosing what to make for dinner and creating your shopping list super easy!

I like to think of creating a capsule menu as a step beyond meal planning…maybe simplified meal planning…or advanced meal planning?!

There are at least two ways of doing capsule menus. But both start the same way.

First, make a list of all the meals that 1) your family likes to eat AND 2) you like to cook AND 3) are quick and easy to make (whatever quick and easy means for you).  At this point don’t worry about what “meal category” (breakfast/lunch/supper) each meal fits into.

My list looks like this:


Next, divide the meals into categories…categories that make sense to you and for your family.  These categories might be: eggs, fish, chicken, beef, pork, beans, meatless, etc.  Don’t worry about what time of day (breakfast/lunch/supper) that you would eat each meal (every heard of breakfast for dinner, or my favorite: breakfast all-day)…just divide into categories.

Is your family happy to eat the same meal each week?  Put a “*” next to those.

My list looks like this:


If you like a bit more freedom…your personality rebels a bit against “schedules” …or you want to cook what you “feel like today”, then end here.

Place this list in an easy to access place and refer to it when you need to decide what to make!  Just remember to do it early enough in the day to defrost any meat or other needed ingredients.

I prefer this method in the summer because our days are less scheduled and I can decide what to make based on what our plans are for the day, or the weather forecast, or…?

Here was our menu plan during this past summer:


Is this a meal planning method that would work for you?  Do you like the greater flexibility or do you prefer a more “set” plan?






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