What’s For Dinner? How Menu Planning Can Save Time, Money and Your Sanity

Do you reach for the telephone to order pizza because it’s 6 o’clock and your family is hungry but you can’t seem to find anything to fix for dinner? With a little planning, you can create weekly menus with matching grocery lists to help you prepare healthy meals in less time than it takes for a pizza to arrive.

Start by choosing recipes for all the meals you will cook for the week. This can be very structured by assigning recipes for each day’s meal, or more flexible by developing a list of options to choose depending on your mood or schedule. Next, review the recipes to make sure you have a balanced, healthy menu for the week. Did you include a variety of fruits and vegetables? Did you choose lean proteins, like poultry, fish and beans? Do the recipes contain whole grains? Now is the time to apply your knowledge of healthy eating to make sure nutrition, not convenience, is the inspiration for the menu.

After you have chosen all the recipes, create a grocery list based on what items you have and what you need for each recipe. By sticking to your list, shopping will be more efficient and help prevent impulse purchases, which may be less healthy than what you have planned.

As you become more comfortable with menu planning, collect new recipes for future menus. Save your favorite menus and repeat them periodically. After planning menus for a while, you will figure out staples you always need and can make a master grocery list. All of these tips will help cut down on the planning time each week. With practice, you will be able to easily plan a healthy menu your family will love. And you won’t have to worry what’s for dinner again.

Not sure how to create a healthy menu for your family? Check out the Calla Slimspa Healthy Recipes section to start creating super healthy, nutritious and delicious meals for your family. From breakfast to healthy Thanksgiving treats, our recipe section has it all.

Article borrowed from Bariatrix Nutrition.
Written By:
Austin Brooks, Graduate Student
Master of Science in Dietetics (MSD) Program
University of Vermont/Nutrition and Food Sciences