1. Plan the Basics
As you plan a menu for the week, ask three questions.
1.What are the preferences of your family or guests? I strongly encourage trying new flavors to broaded our enjoyment of foods. However, as you are planning, you may want to take into consideration any special needs of your family and guests. For example, will you be serving somebody who practices vegetarianism? This will definately alter your meal choice.
2. What will I have time for? Do plan in advance for busy nights. A quick meal will be in order for a busy night.
3. What is in the refrigerator that needs to be used? Perhaps you have a cut of fish waiting to be used in the refrigerator. To avoid wasting it, you might want to plan a meal that uses ingredients before they spoil.
2. Keep Meals BalancedEspecially with low calorie cooking, you will want to make sure your meals are balanced. While many of us think that the main dish of the meal must consist of some type of meat or fish, today's balanced meal actually includes a much larger proportion of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits with a small serving of meat "on the side" or mingled in with the dish. A small serving of meat means 2-3 ounces, or a portion about the size of a deck of cards. By making the remainder of the meal full of grains and especially fruits and vegetables, you will automatically boost the nutritional content of your meal while keeping the calories low. One way to accomplish this may be to include a side dish of vegetables and fruits as well as a small salad.
3. Scour the Pantry for Ingredients You Have on HandYour next step in planning will be to make your shopping list. But, before you make a comprehensive list of all the ingredients you will need for the week's meal choices, check to see what you might already have on hand. You may have ingredients that you have forgotten about, and you don't want to find yourself buying extra items that you may already have stashed behind the peanut butter.
4. Make Your List and Shop the Ads
Once you have decided which ingredients you will need to purchase at the grocery store, you are finally ready to make your shopping list. While you are preparing your list, you may want to shop the week's ads to find out where the best deals are on the items you need. There may be great money-saving possibilites by finding deals and even clipping a coupon or two along the way. And now you are ready to go to the grocery store, and be prepared for a week's worth of healthy meals.