I love planning, which is an odd trait for me to have, considering that I'm massively ADHD. I also love food, which means I adore menu planning.
I first started menu planning with my mom when I was in junior high. I was taking over cooking dinner every night, and we discovered that left without a plan, I either made the same thing every night for dinner, or I became paralyzed by indecision and didn't make anything at all. So every week, on Sunday, I'd sit down with mom and we'd figure out what I was going to cook each night. We'd go through the freezer and pantry, ask everyone what they felt like eating, and looked for new recipes I could try.
The weekly menu was a road map. It wasn't absolute. If I decided, for example, that peas would be a better side than corn, I was free to switch it up. If I decided I'd rather have chicken fingers tonight, I could move the Hamburger Helper to Tuesday. What it did, was give me an idea of what was available and how I could use it. It narrowed down my options. (And if you know anything about ADHD, you know too many options is a BAD thing for me to have!)
When I started cooking for Jimmy, I did the same thing. I'd write down all the days I planned to cook dinner, then fill in the meals. I'm a little more advanced now. I still start with going through the pantry and seeing what I have. Right now, since I do the farmer's markets on Saturday and I do my menu planning on Sunday, our meals are revolving around seasonal ingredients. Then I check the sales at Publix. I use both The Grocery Game and Coupon Mom to get the best deals. Sometimes I have a recipe I want to try. Other times, I'll have a craving, or my husband will.
Menu planning is a great tool. It helps me save money on groceries, not waste food, and avoid the "Well, what do YOU want to eat?" argument at 6 PM every night. It also helps me avoid making poor food choices. I know what I'm cooking, so I can make sure I'm avoiding processed foods. Right now my thing is trying to plan my meals to include as many plant species as possible. Weird, I know. But I like doing it that way, as opposed to counting fat grams or calories.