With menu planning you actually make the meal twice:
1st time is when you make it in your mind while you are planning.
2nd time you make the meal is when you actually do it.
AND! — the 2nd time is always easier than the first.
What are the benefits
- Less stress: making fewer decisions.
- Efficiency: the more you do this the more you’ll use your oh-so-efficient automatic pilot mode.
- Less waste: avoid buying too much, impulse buying.
- Enjoyment: attaining a goal, being successful.
- Variety: avoiding same foods, yet have a structure
- Healthier: you have control over the ingredients.
- Cheaper: using coupons, buying local and seasonal,
- and eating in more often.
Source: Joni Sare
HOW DO I PLAN A MENU?
1. Make a template
- vertical or horizonal grid
- 1-day menu? 3-day? M-F? 7-day? 2 weeks?
- online templates (see links, below, under “Resources”)
2. Fill in the blanks, start with:
- a star player and build around it
- start with coupons (newspaper, online, store flier)
- easiest (favorites),
- hardest (least favorites)
- a specific meal (ex: lunches)
3. Decide a cooking method:
- stove top, oven, slow cooker
- steam, braise, bake, broil, etc.
4. Make a shopping list:
- take inventory of what you have
- make lists for each location, such as a list for the grocery store and another for the farmers market.
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
- veggies (colors, flavors, size and textures)
- proteins (veggie sources and animal sources)
- flavors (spices, herbs, cheese, vinegars, condiments)
- easy foods, speed cooking
- hard-to-fit-in foods
- Raw • Steam • Braise • Bake
- Saute • Stir fry • Grill • Roast
Cooking tools, gadgets
- 2 sharp knives (chef and paring knife)
- cutting board (2 is best, one for veggies, one for meats)
- measuring spoons and cups (sometimes a scale)
- bowls, pots, pans (large size and small size)
- baking pan and sheet
- wood spoons, rubber spatulas
- Food processor
- Slow cooker
- Toaster oven
- Google calendar
- Phone apps
- Online templates for menu planning, shopping lists
(see links under “Resources”)
examples of menu planners
Take inventory, organize, get supplies
- pantry, fridge, freezer, counter, cupboards, garage
- throw out unwanted items (outdated and unwise items)