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Menu planning part 2

Posted by: valeriefender on Aug. 19, 2010

In the last blog I wrote about menu planning, I touched on how much it helps to have at least a rough plan as to what your weekly menu could include. This is totally a personal preference thing, if you are a detailed planner, you may plan out exactly what will be eaten at all three meals and a snack each day. If you like to have flexibility, you could just make a list of dinner ideas and lunch ideas, perhaps even breakfast ideas. That way you can at least have a rough idea as to what needs to be put on the grocery list for that period of time.

I have tried all forms of menu planning from none at all, to a detailed daily food plan that included all three meals and a snack. It even included the prep-work I needed to see to for the next day. For me, this form of menu planning works great, especially during really busy times.

The form of planning I have used most often, however, has just been a list of main dishes that I could draw from on any given night. I planned my shopping based on that list of main dishes and just made sure that there were always lunch and breakfast, as well as side dish ingredients available in my pantry.

So, where do you start? Regardless of what form your plan takes on, the best place to start is to just make a list of your family’s favorite meals. If the whole process seems overwhelming, take a look at just main dishes for dinner. Make a list of 10-14 and build from there.

You can also decide if you want to have a regular rotation of favorite meals over the course of a month, or if you family would rather not have the same dish twice in a month. Perhaps there is a dish you family really loves that you know they will want to eat every week. How would that be for easy planning?

Get your whole family involved. Have them each make a list of 5 main dishes they like and you’ll have a great place to start forming your menu. I know for my family, if they are involved in the planning process, they eat better. Plus, it gives me a different perspective on the menu planning. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and always be making the same dish over and over again.

If that is enough planning for you, then you are done! Make your grocery list based on what you have in your pantry and go shopping. Post the menu list on the fridge and check things off each time you make a meal from it. I have found too, that if I save the list until after I make a new one, I don’t repeat things more often than my family prefers.

When making your menu plan, go through cook books and the recipe section here on Gling. Use the tag cloud to find a list of dishes that contain “chicken” or “beef”. There are so many ways to search for ideas. Gling has so many tasty options to inspire you in your cooking!

Try planning your weeks menus, see if you can’t take some of the stress away from “what’s for dinner”. Take a bit of time and plan ahead, make sure you have needed items in your pantry. You may find that you save yourself a bit of time, money and most of all STRESS! It’s an easy way to relieve the dinner time stress. Perhaps once you find that dinner menu planning saves you a bit, you’ll want to expand to include more of your meals. :)

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