New Year
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New Year, New You: Meal Planning

By Leslie Lindsay

It’s a topic that never grows mold or ends up in the trashcan: meal planning.  Hey–we all gotta eat, right?  Well, let me take a stab (ha) at this and see if I can present you with some new ideas for planning yummy meals that you and your family don’t tire of.

  • Gather several notecards (about 15-20).  Find some time and your cookbooks (an hour?), make yourself comfy and get to work writing out your 15-20 “most preferred” dinners-at-home.  (I read somewhere that most Americans have a selection of about 10-20 meals that we go to time and time again).  Jot down everything that goes into that meal, just as you might read on a menu.  For example, “Chicken Pot Pie with Side Salad and Fresh Fruit” would go at the top of the notecard like a title.  Below that, bullet-point what goes into that meal, i.e. your shopping list (pie crusts, vegetable broth, chicken breast, salad fixin’s, etc.).  NOTE:  This is NOT a recipe!  It’s just a list of ingredients.  Do that for the rest of the “typical meals” your family eats.  When you are finished, you should have a good selection of things to choose from.  Make sure you stock up on staples and non-perishibles from those shopping lists.  (This idea gleaned from the most recent issue of “ADDitude,” a magazine dedicated to families and individuals with AD/HD.  I don’t have the actual artical handy now–this is by memory–therefore I can’t credit the author or name of article.
  • Have a night-of-the-week dinner selection all planned and ready to go.   For example:  Munchies on Monday (serve up finger-foods &/or appetizers for a meal), Taco Tuesday, Warm-up Wednesday (left-overs), Thrifty Thursday (low-cost meals), Pizza Friday…Other folks I know have an Italian night, Breakfast for dinner night, Casseroles, Meatless Monday (or Friday)…find a theme or two and go with it.
  • Make it a goal to try one new recipe a week.  Just one–you can do that, right?  Ask your family, “Should we have this again?”  If they say ‘yes,’ add it to your notecard pile.  If they say ‘no,’ oh well–you tried something new and fed your family anyway.
  • A recent “trend report” suggests 2012 is the year of reinventing comfort foods.  Think: childhood favorites.  Can you find a new twist on meatloaf, pot roast, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravey, Shepards Pie?  Word is that that big-name chefs are looking at making these foods, well…appetizing again and a little more gourmet.

Happy Planning and Happy Eating! 


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