Monday, December 17, 2012

Menu Planning

For some, it may seem perfectly logical.  For others, it may seem impossible.  Menu planning.  If it's your responsibility to feed the family or even just yourself, just a little planning can ease the stress of providing nutritious, wholesome food everyday.  I am inspired to keep this up when I know I'm cooking/eating a well-balanced meal and feel great doing it.  Since I started volunteering to provide Wellness Wednesdays (promoting healthy eating and active living for our children) at the Summit County Preschool, I have been inspired to follow the USDA  MyPlate guidelines for our family.  The MyPlate guidelines have essentially replaced the old food pyramid guidelines.  It illustrates the 5 food groups with 1/2 your plate consisting of fruits and vegetables, the other 1/2 consisting of grains and proteins, and a side of dairy.
I get excited when I have a plan in place and don't feel plagued each day on what I'm going to cook for dinner.  So, *most* weekends, I sit down and make a menu plan of 3-5 recipes for the week.  I use favorite recipes from family and friends and Damn Delicious to create my weekly menu. Then I make a grocery shopping list of ingredients I'll need.  My shopping is also that much more quick and efficient because I have my list and don't need to run out for last minute/forgotten items.  Now, I have a choice of what meal to cook throughout the week.  I know, this is such a Type A trait, but anyone can do it!  Why not try it and see if it saves a little stress from your daily routine?  So it's really simple...
  • Make a list of recipes
  • Make another list of ingredients you'll need
  • Go shopping
  • Choose from your menu and cook away!

Whiteboard hanging in our kitchen
Another fun idea inspired by a girlfriend and full-time working mom... she hosted a "soup exchange party".  We each made 4-6 batches of soup, put them in freezer bags, then exchanged them at a dinner party.  If you brought 4 bags of your soup, you went home with 4 different bags of soup.  What a great way to stock the freezer for the winter with quick 'go to' meals! 

Just try it... I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

*originally posted 12/17/12, updated 11/11/15 with Damn Delicious -- where I get easy, simple, delicious recipes!

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