Menu Planning tips

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Now that I have prepared my kitchen for success and took note on what I have on hand  it’s time to start planning our menu for the week.

Step 2
Menu Planning: (a) use up any leftovers (b) include soon to expire items
(c) research healthy recipes (d) write out your weekly menu
After carefully reviewing my collection of cookbooks and online sources I created a menu.  While creating the menu I pre-determined a few must have’s to remember.

1.  Avoid eating from the same protein source on back to back days.  Rotate your protein sources such as beef, chicken and fish each day in order to benefit the most from the increased nutrient availability and variety.

2.  Coordinate your veggies and fruits the using the same method of thought as above. Rotate each day with the using the array of available and seasonal (ideally) the rainbow-esqu produce section offers.  A few of the same is okay but I want to benefit from the variety of nutrients in each on a consistent basis.

3. Save $$$ but sourcing out local grocery flyers to see where the best sales are for your allowable foods. 

4. Print your menu or use a whiteboard to display your menu in a visible area.  This will help keep you organized, allow you plan for the next day accordingly as well as decreasing the “what’s for dinner” questions.

5. Set up a day of the week to prepare ahead of time.  I found washing, cutting and storing my veggies for snacks by making them readily available in the fridge made it easier to stick to my plan.  Sunday’s as my day to grocery shop and do my prep work.
Although this is a 30-day challenge I do intend on making and keeping these changes to our lifestyle.  There will be some recipes and foods that we try that won’t stick but as a whole it will give myself and hubby the means to be creative with our foods rather than sticking to the same meals that are currently on our weekly menu.

At first menu planning will be time consuming but rest assured that it will get easier as you start increasing your recipe repertoire as well as allowing your creative culinary skills.

TIP: Make enough food to have for lunch leftover

Here’s a simple menu you can use to help with your planning.
Download a copy of this weekly meal plan or right click the image and save.
NOTE: you must have an updated version of Adobe Acrobat reader installed to download.
Meal Planner_The empowered Momma
What other tips do you have when planning your weekly menu?
Stay tuned for: Grocery shopping tips 
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  1. Menu planning is vital…otherwise I find we make WAY too many trips through the drivethrough–neither frugal, nor healthy. Good luck with implementing this change. It is a good one!

  2. Kera says:

    This list was super helpful! I’m not a fan of cooking but hey…we all gotta do it. So I think if I had a “plan” and wrote out my meals for the week, I’d make the whole process easier on myself. Thanks for the printable and I like the idea of using a whiteboard. Looking forward to your “grocery shopping tips”!

    • I hear ya on the cooking front. I’m not the biggest fan either but once I get started I just have fun. Now fun coupled with structure (hmmm, wonder how this will work) is my mission. I look forward to my grocery shopping tips post too.

  3. Monica says:

    I’ve never meal planned and really should think about it more. I also found rotating protein to be an interesting thing to think about. Here’s to a healthier 2013! xx – M

    • Cheers to 2013. Rotating proteins and other food sources helps people know what food intolerance’s they may have. Say you eat a day of chicken sources and certain veggies and you become full of gas or feel dull or anything but energized and satisfied, then either that food combination or food source is not ideal for you.

  4. Heather says:

    There’s an app called Pepperplate for iphone, but it works best with an ipad, that allows you to do menu planning and write a grocery list too. I use it. Its nice. But I tend to eat the evenings left overs the next day for lunch. I’m the queen of eating the left overs. Suck cuz I’m the only one who will eat them. I don’t mind them, but I don’t like eating the same thing for two or three days. But it does keep our grocery budget down.

    • I have to check out Papperplate. I agree eating left overs keeps the food costs down which is something that we need to work on in our home. I also hate wasting food so even if the meal wasn’t my favorite I suck it up to save some money.

  5. Pary Moppins says:

    Menu planning is a lifesaver for me. I do not want the stressful what-are-we-having-for-dinners every evening. That’s a great tip about leftovers. So many people forget that leftovers make great lunchbox items – they are cost effective, eliminate waste, and most importantly, are tasty. :) Good luck in your challenge. Found you through Bloggy Moms.

    • Hi Pary, thank you for stopping by from Bloggy Moms. Evenings are nutty enough without the added “what are we going to eat” questions on top of it all. Glad to hear you are already menu planning, do you have any other tips to add, I’d love to hear them. Agreed, some foods taste better the day after, yummy. Thank you for the good wishes on the challenge, lots of prep but this momma is on a mission.

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