Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Menu Planning - Theme Nights

For those of you that are members of Instagram you are familiar with some of the fun things that go on over there like Man Crush Monday (#mcm) or Woman Crush Wednesday (#wcw) or Throwback Thursday (#tbt).

When I first started learning about Food $ense, one of the first things that we focused on was Menu Planning.  It has been the one thing that I have tried to really incorporate in my life and it is one of the things that can make the biggest difference in your life too.

If you are having a hard time beginning menu planning, or starting to make menu plan, something that you can do to help kickstart your planning is have Theme Nights. Food Sense taught me this trick, and I think they learned it from the Food Nanny. (She is Amazing, check her out!)

Some ideas that are really popular are:

Meatless Monday: Make the first day of the week easy on your budget and go meatless. You don't have to make a specifically vegetarian dish (although you can do that!) make it a pasta dish, focus on beans, make a seasonal veggie your star.  If you have someway to narrow down all the choices that are available sometimes it is easier to make a plan.

Taco Tuesday: Make soft tacos, or crisp taco, heck! make some fish tacos. You can vary your toppings - one week have salsa and corn, the next week try olives and fresh tomatoes. You know you can wrap just about anything in a tortilla, have breakfast burritos for dinner.

Or check your schedule and plan what works for YOU. If monday is busy for you with lessons and sports and family events make Monday your Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Night. Plan a dinner that you get prep and have ready in the morning (or even Sunday night) and then just turn the cooker on in the morning and get your busy day done.

Plan to have a Leftover Night. With summer here, we are eating lots of leftovers for lunches. But it is a good idea to plan a night to eat all that food you spent all your time and energy making. Teach your family to love leftovers and your life will get a whole lot easier.

If you are interested in trying new recipes plan a night during the week to Pinterest Recipe Night. Or if you are people who crave the old stand by have a Family Favorite Night, and eat something that you made before that everyone loved.

I am fortunate enough that my kids are older and can help in the kitchen, sometimes we will each take a night and have it be Chef's Choice. Each of my kids get to be head chef for the night and choose what is for dinner and have my help making it. My sister does something similar to this and her kids have specific nights where they are in charge of planning the menu and making dinner. Her teenagers are a little bit older, but you will never regret teaching your children how to cook and care for themselves in a healthy way.

The possibilities are only as limited as your mind. If you have craving for ethnic food plan a night around that. Plan a night that is soup in the winter and salads in the summer.  Have a sandwich night, Have a breakfast night, Have a pizza night! The ideas are endless. And remember these are your "rules" so you should feel free to break them anytime!