Electrolux Philippines is encouraging families to Do More With Less. Less wastage, less clutter, and less stress means more savings and more time with the family.
I apply this when I do some menu planning for my family. Menu Planning or Meal Planning is about organizing what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the snacks in between. It is the plan that is made before going to the grocery to shop. If you keep on asking yourself, “What’s for dinner?” or “What’s are we going to cook tomorrow?”, then a menu plan will help you answer these.
Making a menu plan has its benefits. It saves the guess work on what to cook and what to serve. It saves time from going back and forth to the grocery when you missed an ingredient. And menu planning helps improve nutrition by realizing unhealthy foods that goes often in the home menu. Menu planning will also maximize the food being bought by having the right portions, proper storage and having ideas for leftovers.
When planning for a menu, it really depends on what is convenient and effective for you. You can plan for the whole week or the whole month. Or you can even plan twice a week if you love visiting the fresh market like I do.
Here are some ideas for a successful Menu Planning
1. Commit to Make a Menu Plan. Making a menu plan can be tedious and time consuming. You may need to research on recipes, write down several revisions, check on availability and what is still in stock at the cabinets. But it is worth the effort. You will save a lot of time and money by starting with a menu plan.
2. Look for recipes. Spend time looking for recipes. Find recipes that suit your taste. For beginner, I would suggest simple recipes with fewer ingredients. Then as you become more comfortable with menu planning, explore more challenging recipes.
Food magazines and cookbook are good places to get menu ideas
Save these recipes in a system that you prefer. You can print it out and place in a folder, save in an online cloud, or place sticky notes in cookbooks and food magazine. I prefer Pinterest. You can follow my Pinterest Boards for some ideas.
DADDY TIP: I often find recipes that have similar ingredients for a particular week. This reduces the number of items I look for when I shop and thus lessen the time. For example, if a menu on Monday will have string beans, I would look for a meal that has string beans for Tuesday.
3. Ask for suggestions. If you are cooking for a family or for other persons, be sure to include their suggestions. I would feel bad if I cook something only to find out that Gab doesn’t like to eat the food. So I always ask Gab if there is something he likes to eat for the week.
This will also make menu planning much faster since more people are involve. You can also get inspiration on what other recipes to include for the menu plan.
4. Make a calendar. Now that you have a list of recipes, write down what you will cook for the next few days or the next few weeks. Fill up all what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can make the calendar using pen and paper or something electronic like an Excel Sheet or in Google Calendar.
5. Make a shopping list and schedule a shopping day. From the calendar, you need to write down what needs to be bought. Be sure to check the recipes for the complete ingredients so you don’t keep on going back to the grocery. It will also be nice to organize the shopping list into sections based on the supermarket layout. It will make your shopping faster and efficient.
Here’s my post in making a grocery list and why you should make one regularly.
DADDY TIP: Make a generic list so that you don’t need to write down the same item all over again. The generic list are the regular items bought like milk, eggs, bread, chicken and others.
Once the shopping list is complete, schedule a shopping day that is most convenient for you. It will also be a good idea to make the shopping day close to when the fresh stocks arrives at the supermarket or stores.
Find time to shop
Once you are finished with the shopping, post the menu plan on a fridge or a place where it is visible for everyone to see. So when someone asks, what’s for lunch, just point them to the menu plan. That was easy now.
6. Store properly. After the shopping, store your items properly. You can start shredding, slicing, or chopping then store them in plastic containers in the fridge. Wash the fruits and vegetables. Set aside portions for the meat before freezing. You can also arrange them on the fridge based on what is needed first over what will be cooked last.
It is also important not to overstuff the refrigerator. It may not be able to maintain its proper temperature and could spoil whatever is inside.
7. Plan for leftovers. I hate it when the family does not consume everything that I have served. But it does happen. Thus, I add leftovers in the menu planning. Usually, what is not fully consumed on Monday and Tuesday becomes breakfast and dinner for Wednesday. Or some dishes can be recreated into something new like leftover fried chicken becomes shredded pieces for a chicken soup.
Yesterday’s Beef Chucks becomes Pulled Beef Barbeque Sandwich
8. Recycle Menu Plans. Make menu planning easier by recycling menu plans. So for next week, you can just follow the same menu plan. Just add or replace with new recipes. You can also use the same menu plan for the future by cycling them every 3 months or every 6 months.
You’d be surprise by how simple and more efficient you will be when you practice menu planning. You save a lot of time and money as well. That is doing more, with less.
For more #DoMoreWithLess tips, visit Electrolux PH’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also visit www.electrolux.com.ph.