Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Menu Planning Basics: Part 1

Menu Planning can save your home time, money and reduce that unwanted extra cost of eating out when it's 5 oclock and everyone's asking, "What's for dinner?" Here are some basics to get you started.

Think Simple
Dinner does not have to be a 9 course event every night. This was one of my fatal mistakes in the beginning of our marriage. For some reason, I thought I had to make 19 different things for dinner. I quickly learned that we do not go hungry if I make less and we definitely waste less when I do. Also, if you're only shopping for a protein and two sides you'll definitely spend less money. Here is what a before meal was like:

Sunday: Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Black Eyed Peas, Broccoli, Corn and Rolls

Why was I making so much food? Call it my southern roots but a girl had to change. My stress levels have decreased, I spend far less time in the kitchen and more time with my family. This is what it looks like now:

Sunday: Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli <-- well balanced and more than enough

Another keep it simple change I have made is to stop serving bread when we have Pasta. I mean, we're having pasta, we don't need bread too. Know what? Nobody has missed the bread and our waistlines are definitely thanking us because of it. Also, make simple meals on a regular basis. People love the "usuals" so serve them! There is nothing wrong with making an elaborate new recipe every once in a while for a special occasion, but make sure to do just that and in doing so it will make it special!

So, your recipe for dinner should be focused on providing a protein, whole grains and fruit/vegetables - it really can be that simple! And remember, serving dinner in its simplest form (like steamed broccoli or baked chicken) provides the most nutrients and fewest calories.

What keep it simple tips do you have?

Here's what's to come:
Part 2: Think Themes
Part 3: Buy Ahead
Part 4: Freezer Cooking as your kitchen BFF
Part 5: It's all about Balance

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

I love one dish meals! You know casseroles, salads, soups and skillet meals? Those are my favs. I can have my veggies, carb, and protein all in one dish.

Rebekah @ www.kidsdoeathealthy.blogspot.com