Weekly Menu Plans
As the New Year approaches, I thought I would share some tips that have helped family life run more smoothly, promote a healthy lifestyle, and stimulate conversation in our home. Perhaps you can benefit from the solution to my fumbling over the years.
Have you ever stood at the refrigerator door 10 minutes before meal time and thought, “WHAT am I going to serve tonight?” I have, and it does not lead to complete, wholesome meals.
I hit upon an idea years ago that eliminates that problem. It takes a bit of planning, but overall saves time and encourages healthy eating. Meals start with good food!
I made a simple table in a document with columns for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day of the week. At the beginning of the week I sit down at the computer and spend 15 minutes filling in the menu sheet. (If you don’t have a computer, make multiple copies of a menu table and fill out one each week). When my children were young, each person in the family could choose a food item to be included in that week’s menu. Everyone knew that they would be having a favorite food that week. I placed simple dinners on nights that I knew I would be short on time and placed more involved meals on days where I would have more time to prepare.
Frequently I based my meals on what I had in the freezer, pantry or refrigerator. Sometimes I would plan the menu first and make a shopping list from the programmed meals. If you get advertisements for local grocery stores, you can plan your meals and shopping list around items that are on sale.
After I had been using my menu for a while, I added a list at the bottom of my document of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner meals that our family liked and that I knew how to make. This simplified my planning day; if I had difficulty coming up with a meal idea, I looked at my recipe list and selected something that would work.
Biscuits & Gravy
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Cream of Cauliflower
French Onion Soup
Tuna Fish Sandwiches
Egg Salad Sandwich
Macaroni and Cheese
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Sweet & Sour Chicken
Honey Pineapple Chicken
Meatballs and Noodles
Chicken Pot Pie
Stir Fried Chicken/Steak
Programming my menu for the week allowed me to provide more variety in our diet and took the worry and stress out of what to fix. I made sure that main dishes were accompanied by lots of vegetables, fruits, and salads. I knew that I had the ingredients for each meal and did not have to make a last-minute run to the grocery store. My kids loved that they had a part in what was served and complained less about their least favorite foods because they knew that their favorite was coming soon.
Don’t miss next week’s Making Meal Time Great—Part 2
Blog Administrator: Trisha Roberts
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