Many people are at a loss when it comes to menu planning. They either fly by the seat of their pants, stick to the same repeated meals, or just grab whatever is easy and convenient in the moment. This plan (or lack of) tends to result in more money spent on food (e.g. convenience items, restaurants, etc.), less satisfying meals, and mindless eating.
Here are a few simple tricks to make menu planning easy:
- Try planning on a weekly basis and pick a consistent day of the week to grocery shop.
- Get out a piece of paper and WRITE IT DOWN.
- Brainstorm foods that sound good for the upcoming week and write those foods down.
- Build your meals around these foods. So, if mashed potatoes sound good, consider what foods you like to eat with them.
- Think of your meal in terms of food groups, and try to include a carbohydrate, protein, fat and vegetable source. This will give you variety which is pleasing to the palate and provides your body with a range of essential nutrients. Don't be rigid with this however. You are never obligated to eat a food you don't like.
- Build your grocery list off your menu plans.
Now that you have your menus for the week, post them in your kitchen so you can see what your options are each night. Consider which meals will take longer to prepare and what your schedule is each day. And then prepare what sounds good off your menus each night. Voila!