Menu Planning Series – Part One – The Reason and the Research
It’s the new year. Happy Happy New Year to you! I hope that it is starting out exceptionally well.
I think it’s generally true that on January 1st many people like to have a few resolutions for the coming year. Often they are centered around losing weight, exercising regularly, or eating better…
Eating better can mean a myriad of things.
Maybe some of these sound familiar:
I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day last year and want to branch out.
I ate too much take-out food and forgot to eat homemade meals.
I was too busy to cook dinners so I bought pre-made meals.
I never had anything planned for meals and was always too tired to think about it at the end of the day. So it was pasta most nights, with some sort of sauce from a jar. Because I didn’t have meals planned, so much food‚ went to waste.
I didn’t have a grocery list planned, so my trips to the store were expensive and resulted in lots of wasted food.
I had a menu planned most of the time, but I didn’t always prepare in advance, so often didn’t stick to it. (This would be mine.)
None of these are the end of the world when they happen occasionally. But, when they become the norm, that’s when we can feel trapped by our eating habits. And as a result, our wallets, waistlines, and trash piles take the hit.
Some Things to Consider
The annual cost to eat out for lunch every day (and the ingredients you’re paying to put into your body). The foods you may be missing out on by limiting yourself to the same meals day after day. The money, your hard earned money, that gets wasted when you go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of things that you aren’t going to use (not to mention the food that gets thrown out as a result). The fun you may be missing out on by not cooking (who knows, you may love it!)… Food for thought.
I’m going somewhere with this. It’s not meant to be a guilt-trip. Instead, it’s supposed to be an encouragement. I want to help you learn to menu plan and have a place to start your meals, even when you’re too tired to think after a long day.
The reason I started menu planning, about 7 years ago, was to stretch our small grocery budget. I found that I was going to the store with nothing in mind and spending way too much money. The menu reigned that in and helped me to learn to use what we had. It was also around the same time that we started ordering our box of Abundant Harvest Organics produce. I started planning around the box so I wouldn’t waste it. It took time to get used to it and to figure out what worked for us. So don’t give up. If it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, give it another try. And, as always, if you’re so overwhelmed and need a bit more guidance, I’m available to answer questions or to start you out with an affordable customized menu plan. I had a great time writing this series. I love to grocery shop, to make lists, and above all, to menu plan. So seriously, if you need help, please ask.
It’s going to take some planning ahead, and a little bit of extra work in advance, but it’s so worth it. Trust me. Please.
I’ve broken this series down into three posts, so to (hopefully) not overwhelm you. This first one just deals with why it’s a good idea, and starting to do some research into what you and your family enjoy eating. It’s the easy step.
Step two will be the most daunting. Push through. Persevere. You can do this. It’s the menu planning phase. Yes, you can.
Step three might be something you have already done: stocking your kitchen with tools, food, and supplies to equip you to succeed in this menu plan.
How to Get Started
This can be a daunting task, so let’s start small. Let’s plan for a week.
Step 1. Sit down with any members of your household who will be consuming meals. Discuss food preferences. This would be a great time to ask if anyone wants to be in charge of a meal each week. They can do as little as cook, or take on the planning and shopping too. If you have small children, here’s a great opportunity to get them involved in the cooking and eating of foods they may think they can’t stand. 😉
Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?! Come back on January 10th to find out what to do next. 😉