Monday, March 14, 2011

Benefits of Menu Planning

I was asked to do some writing for a cookbook!  Here is some for you all to enjoy:

The Benefits of Menu Planning

Menu Planning is a way to save you significant time and money while adding peace to your life.  Whether you are extremely organized or more spontaneous, I believe that Menu Planning benefits all. Through Menu Planning, you will eat healthier foods, make fewer trips to the store, save money and prevent many headaches created from the 5 o’clock stare into the fridge and pantry!

Menu Planning can be easy and efficient.  Most likely, your family consistently eats the same 15-20 meals.  Sit down with your family members and have them all share a few favorite meals.  Make a list of “Favorite Meals” and then create your monthly rotation.  Create a master grocery list from those meals.  You will realize what items to always have in your pantry and fridge - and you can stock up on your favorite items when they’re at their lowest prices and plan your weekly menu based on stores' sales.  If you are intentional with stocking up on your favorite, healthy items when they’re at their lowest prices, possibly grow a garden, buy locally and in abundance while fruits and vegetables are in season, can and preserve - you will save significant money while eating healthy. 

I plan several days at a time using a Monthly Menu Planner form that I print from the computer and pencil in my meals for the month - several days at a time - shifting meals around when needed - based on sales and items I need to use up.  I save these forms for my next month’s planning.  It gets easier and easier each month, and I'm able to consistently stay in our grocery budget.  If I'm over budget, it's a Leftover Buffet the rest of the week!

I plan a couple new recipes each month - sometimes those end up on our list of “Favorite Meals” and sometime they don’t!  We usually take a vote. 

I also plan a couple soups each month, and I always try to cook a double batch and freeze half. 

Crock pot recipes are very helpful, so give those a try and add a few to your list of “Favorite Meals”.

Many recipes found in this cookbook are easy, healthy and family friendly while keeping our budgets in mind - making them perfect to add to your Monthly Menu Plan.

Happy Menu Planning!


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