Dinner is the last meal of the day and a time when families can get together and discuss their day. It is also a hectic meal for busy moms who are just getting off of work or who have been busy with other activities all day. If you are a busy mom or you know a busy mom, here are some menu planning tips to help make dinner meals easy and even fun.
Why is dinner so important? For one thing, it is a time to share thoughts and feelings. All day, kids are influenced by teachers, friends and the outside world. At the dinner table, they get a chance to connect with their parents on tough issues like schoolwork, peer pressure, friendships and other things. They can each share and help one another with helpful suggestions. Parents can even talk about work or family finances over a meal.
So here are some tips to help you organize your weekly meal planning.
1. Weekly menu planning is the easiest to start. There are less ingredients to acquire at a time and a short span of time to focus on. Start from the day you normally go grocery shopping or the day if dinner is already prepared for that night. Use a planning chart to list the day and what recipe you will be serving that night.
2. Start with recipes you already know your family enjoys. This is the easiest way to get the hang of the process. Pick a week’s worth of favorite dinners. Get input from family members. Try to vary the dishes so you’re not eating the same kind of thing each night.
3. Gather the recipes all together in one place where you will have easy access to them though the week. If they are in different cookbooks type them into your computer or make copies. Use a notebook or a computer on your folder. Your goal is quick access.
4. Make a shopping list from the recipes. One of the tools to make dinner preparation easier is a shopping list to keep you from overspending or forgetting. If several recipes use onions combine the amount so your list says e.g.- 3 onions. If several recipes use rice then you would probably do well to have rice as a pantry item so buy a nice big bag.
5. Make sure your family knows what’s going on so they don’t eat up your menu supplies. You may need to designate a snack shelf in the fridge and pantry to keep them in check.
6. Next week take it a step further…
Next week when you go shopping if you’re buying things that normally go in the pantry buy two.
Clip coupons. Comb through your Sunday paper for coupons to items you normally buy and go online to search for others.
Too frazzled to get organized this week? Drop by Menu Planning Central and sample a one-week meal plan and grocery list….there's no charge or any obligation of any kind.