It’s the start of the week, and you have your notebook and pen ready. You look in the fridge and your grocery list, wondering, “What can I put on my menu this week?” Can you relate? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Planning your weekly menu is tough (especially if cooking isn’t exactly your strong point), but that’s why we’re here to help you! We asked Frannie Daez, the author of the home management manual, “Keep it Together: Before Chaos Strikes” to share some tips to help make your menu planning easier. Check them out below!
In every meal you prepare, you want to make sure that you have everything that your kids (and even your spouse) needs. This includes carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Try as much as possible to include all the food groups in each of the meals. You don’t need to have one dish for all, you can make separate ones instead!
To make it easier for you, assign each day to a certain kind of food. For example, you can make Monday a chicken day, Tuesday a pasta day, Wednesday an international food day, and so on. This way, you can guarantee that your menu will have a lot of variety instead of having consecutive days that have pork and beef dishes.
Yes, color helps in making your menu. You wouldn’t want to look at a spread of food that’s all green, would you? Well, you know your kids wouldn’t! But think about how you can incorporate different colors into your menu. Maybe you can add a salad for greens? Maybe a soup for some yellows or reds? You can even change up the color of your rice too!
When planning meals, it’s always best to stick to the same continent. You can have several Asian dishes in one meal, but wouldn’t it be weird if you mixed some Italian or American with some Asian cuisine? It’s also easier for you too, because the cooking styles and ingredients in countries on the same continent are usually similar.
Here’s another tip to think about! If you’re having some fried chicken, opt for a different way of cooking your potatoes. Have them baked or mashed instead of fried, so you can take a break from all the grease, and give your family other textures and options to choose from.
After you’ve created a good number of weekly menus (say five or six?), then instead of creating new ones, just reuse what you already have. Rotate them when you don’t have the time to make a new menu, and insert a new dish every once in a while.
Here’s a sample weekly menu for you to take notes from: