Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Need help with a menu?

"Hey mom, what's for {insert meal here}?"  This questions drives me crazy!  Do you want to know how to make it an easy un-anxiety causing question?  Planning a menu.

There are several different ways to do this.  It depends on how organized you like or want to be.  I'll do this in order of least organized to most organized.  Feel free to mix and match to create a system that works best for your family.

Option #1  Creat a list of possibilities.  This one is pretty easy and requires minimal effort.  Don't underestimate it though...it is the basis for every other option.  All you need to do is make a list each week of what meals you can make/want to make.  You can do this for all three meals, or just dinner--whichever you prefer.  Once you know what the possibilities are, you can decide what you are going to make each day.  If you like this option, you can expand upon it.  Try making a list with enough meals to cover two weeks or even a whole month.  This also makes creating a shopping list easier.

This is how I used to do it.  I had a list of a month's worth of dinners; however, I found myself looking at my list at 4:30 every afternoon and trying to find the quickest and easiest meal to prepare.    My husband started asking when we would have certain meals again and I knew I needed to take it a step further.

Option #2 Take your list of meals and assign each meal to a day.  You can do this each week or every other week or once a month.  Take into consideration what time constraints you might have.  For example, if Jane has ballet on Wednesday nights, you want to make Wednesday's dinner quick and easy.

Option #3  This is a variation on option #2.  Make a certain type of food on a certain day of the week.  For example, Mexican food on Monday, Soup on Tuesday, Pasta on Wednesday, etc.  Then you can take your list of meals and plug them into the days.  This is eventually what I ended up with.

I have been doing this for a while.  I don't always follow it, but I try to stick to it.  During last school year I realized that I needed to do the same for breakfast.  I don't like to feed my kids cold cereal every morning.  I feel like it goes right through them and they are hungry an hour later.  I started making them "real" breakfast every morning.  This definitely takes a bit of time and some forethought, but it has worked out well.

Here are some examples of what we do for breakfast and dinner.  Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before or sandwiches.

Monday:  Smoothies/fruit
                 Something rice
Tuesday:  Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (homemade)
Wednesday:  Smoothies/fruit
Thursday: Eggs/muffins
Friday:  Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (homemade)
              Pizza (homemade)
Saturday:  Cold cereal
Sunday:  Cold cereal
                Something nice and easy

There you have it!  Give it a try and email me if you need help or have any questions.  pumpkinpatchdesigns@hotmail.com

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