Sunday is usually my day to plan. I like to think through the week and what all we have going on. Busy nights call for quick and simple dinners (or leftovers!) and slower nights produce some of our favorite home cooked meals. Either way, I try to make a plan that fits our schedule and the time I have to prepare. On some nights, I even try to prep what I can for the nights to come! Chopping, grating, marinating...there's always something that can be done ahead!
You may not know this about me, but I majored in Consumer Economics and minored in Consumer Foods. For a whole semester I studied dietary needs and how to plan nutritious meals that fit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I absolutely loved my major/minor combination and it proved to be perfect training for what I do day-to-day!
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, 2-3 Servings per day.
(1 cup of milk/yogurt or 2 ounces of cheese is 1 serving)
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts, 2-3 Servings per day.
(1 chicken breast or 2 eggs is 1 serving)
Vegetable Group, 3-5 Servings per day
(1 cup raw leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables is 1 serving)
Fruit Group, 2-4 Servings per day
(1 apple, banana or orange is 1 serving)
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta, 6-11 Servings per day
(1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup cooked pasta is 1 serving)
Here is a simple example of a balanced meal plan for one day.
Breakfast: cereal, milk, banana or fruit juice
Lunch: turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato and cheese, apple
Dinner: spaghetti with meat sauce, spinach salad and garlic bread
Servings required per person may look a little different--so check out this Food Guide Pyramid booklet for more detailed information!
*I DO NOT plan my meals like this*, but having a consumer foods background makes me aware of what I'm putting in my buggy and stocking on my shelves. Every time I go to the grocery store, I make sure to purchase at least two types of fruit, since I don't typically include fruit in my dinner plans! Unless we're having cobbler for dessert ;) just kidding! But really...
Try to be flexible during the week and don't stress when things don't go as planned. Sitting down together every night is really the most important goal!
- consider weekly obligations/time management
- plan for leftovers
- keep canned vegetables, rice, frozen meat etc. stocked in the pantry
- shop the sales
- use the food guide pyramid to create balanced meals
- ask the family for suggestions
- be flexible!
If you're like me, having a fun notepad or planner makes planning things a little more bearable! How cute is this new Everyday Meal Planner by Rifle Paper Co.?