Friday, October 27, 2006

Menu Planning

Very few people I know do regular menu planning, but for me this has been a routine for quite some time. Menu planning helps in so many ways - fast meal preparation, easier grocery shopping, more food variety, better time management. Over the years I've used several different methods for planning meals. Here are a few to get you started:
  • Food Type - Think about the types of food your family eats on a regular basis and organize them into one day each week. You can do this by the main food in each meal or the ethnic variety. For example, as a vegetarian I might choose beans on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, soy meat on Wednesday, etc. The ethnic variety might be Mexican on Monday, Italian on Tuesday, Greek on Wednesday, etc. Using the Food Type planning system you don't have to plan out entire meals ahead of time - just the general outline.
  • Weekly - Planning a weekly menu is good if you go grocery shopping weekly. Plan your menu out the night before you go grocery shopping. Be specific about each day's meal and the ingredients you will need. After you plan your menu write down all the ingredients (including amounts) on a list. Look through your pantry and cross off the ingredients you already have. What remains is your grocery list.
  • By Cook - If more than one person in your house cooks dinners you can divide each week up ahead of time. Each person can plan their own meals and be prepared for the nights they will be cooking.

No comments: