It’s 5pm and the familiar chorus of “What’s for dinner?” begins. If you find yourself staring aimlessly at the pantry looking for ingredients to make a meal and then ordering takeout instead you’re not alone. It is a sad fact that fast food has eclipsed vegetables as a dietary staple in family households.
As our lives become busier, we often look for the quickest option instead of the healthiest. With a little pre-planning you can make sure your family eats nutritious and healthy food every night of the week, while still saving money. Don’t forget to grab a coupon from Indian River Select to help save when stocking up on Indian River Select Juice.
What is menu planning?
Menu planning is organizing what you’ll cook before you go to the supermarket to buy the ingredients. Plans can be made as far in advance as you like, e.g. three days, one week, one month. Creating a plan that includes breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner means you’ll receive the optimal benefits of meal planning. Don’t forget to place your meal plan on the fridge or noticeboard so the whole family can see it.
The menu should include:
• Plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, bread, rice and pasta.
• Lean meat, fish, chicken.
• Milk, yogurt, cheese in moderation.
What are the benefits of menu planning?
1) Stay Healthy
Taking the time to create a menu will help you become more aware of the portion size of each food group you are eating. By not relying on takeout or prepackaged food you will also be teaching younger family members about healthy eating habits.
2) Save Money
Supermarkets have been designed to encourage impulse buying! By planning your menu and creating a shopping list, you’ll only buy what you need, in the right quantity. This will stop you blowing your budget on unplanned items or extra trips to the convenience store.
3) Save Time
How much time do you waste staring into your pantry and fridge wondering what to prepare for dinner? Menu planning will free up time for other areas in your life. Simply look at your menu and you’ll have all the ingredients you need to make an amazing meal at your fingertips.
Start your menu plan today with these 5 handy tips:
- Schedule a time to write out your menu plan. If you need inspiration choose one recipe book or magazine each week and mark the page number of the recipes you’ll be making on your menu plan.
- Include a theme night. For example, Mexican Mondays or Thai Thursdays. This is a great way to keep the menu interesting and get the whole family involved.
- Take into consideration whether you can eat leftovers from the night before for lunch.
- Structure your shopping list into the aisles where those products are found. Most large supermarkets have an app that does this for you.
- Be specific with quantities on your shopping list so you only buy what you need. This will reduce wastage, save you money and the environment.
Written by: Amanda Clark, Author & Dietitian
About the Author
Amanda Clark is a bestselling author and Dietitian know for her practical approach. She is the creator of Portion Perfection – the visual approach to portion control incorporating actual portion plates and bowls and the 4 Week Weight Loss Menu Plan with a US version now available. Amanda has 25 years experience and is the recipient of several national awards for her innovative ideas.