How To Plan The Perfect Cuisine Menu For Family Events

How often do you hear the question, "What's for dinner?" or "Why are we having that again?" from your family because you're stuck on dinner ideas?

Mealtime can be less complicated and stressful with a little extra planning. You may be wondering how you can improve mealtime enjoyment. Menu planning is the answer!

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Menu planning is the process of organizing a day's, week's, or months’ worth of menus for your family. It can be as simple as writing a dinner menu on a kitchen chalkboard or calendar, or it can be as complex as doing meal prep for upcoming meals.

I still remember how I used to put ciroc watermelon and other drinks in summer meals, my menu plan used to be filled with drinks and spicy food during this season.

Some families enjoy spending a Sunday afternoon together planning weekly menus.

There's no need to plan or cook alone; enlist the assistance of your family.

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Why is it necessary for me to plan menus for my family?

  • Nutrient Boost
    Planning allows us to prepare a balanced meal that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein foods. When we are pressed for time, we frequently opt for unbalanced fast foods such as pizza, greasy hamburgers, or sweets. Plan meals ahead of time to help your children meet their nutritional needs for proper growth and development.

  • Money is saved
    Reduces trips to the supermarket, which reduces impulse purchases. Furthermore, early planning allows us to look for coupons or discounts.

  • More family time
    How often do you rush to the grocery store and end up staying much longer than expected? Those extra minutes, if not hours, can be spent with your family preparing a nutritious meal.

  • Encourages the consumption of new foods
    Instead of preparing the same meals over and over, try to incorporate one new recipe per week.

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Things to keep in mind when creating a menu

  • Make a shopping list
    To stay on track, bring a detailed list with you on every shopping trip. We frequently forget important ingredients when we don't have a shopping list.

  • Use a Menu Board
    Purchase a calendar or a menu board solely for menu planning purposes. Keep it visible so your family cannot guess what's for dinner that night. The ease of access eliminates the "Oh no, I forgot to thaw the chicken" moment on the morning of chicken parmesan night.

  • Look up recipes
    Look for recipes online or in cookbooks you already own. Remember that you can always substitute ingredients in a recipe to suit your family's preferences.

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How do I get my kids involved in menu planning?

Educating children on the importance of healthy eating may not always be sufficient. We need to get hands-on and give them valuable experience. Involving your children does not imply giving them complete control. It is an excellent opportunity to promote individuality and boost self-esteem. Begin with a small task and progress to greater responsibility.

  • Which is it? – Encourage children to make simple choices like carrots or broccoli. Should I eat brown rice or baked potatoes? Which is better: baked or grilled chicken? Kids enjoy taking charge, and giving them some vital dinner options may help mealtime go more smoothly.

  • How many times have you set down a dinner plate and your child says, "NO!" to everything on it? Was it a surprise or did your child know what was for dinner? We all want to know what to expect before we sit down to eat. Before dinner, give them a menu. Make it fun by making them think they're eating at a fancy restaurant.

  • Shopping excursion - Take the kids to the produce section and let them choose between different vegetables for dinners, such as asparagus or zucchini. Go through each item on the shopping list and demonstrate how different they appear in the grocery store versus on a plate. In the store, a head of broccoli or cauliflower looks different than it does on a dinner plate.

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  • There are so many ways to prepare it: steamed, baked, grilled, broiled, or sautéed. When your child has decided on a side dish, ask them how they want it prepared. Should we steam it or cook it in a tasty stir-fry? Should we have baked potatoes or homemade potato wedges? Food's taste and texture can be easily altered simply by how we prepare it. Steaming carrots will soften them nicely if they are too crunchy for a young child with a loose tooth.

  • Invite children into the kitchen during meal preparation to wash vegetables, wrap foil around potatoes, microwave frozen vegetables, add pasta to water, peel vegetables, or carefully slice fruit. They'd love to be your personal sous chef. Set up a separate work area to avoid any mishaps or run-ins with the cook.

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What if something unexpected happens and I am unable to stick to my menu plan?

The key to successful menu planning has a backup plan. Keep frozen vegetables, whole grain pasta, canned low-sodium beans, brown rice, frozen chicken breasts, and other dinner staples on hand. This way, you'll always have a quick meal on hand. If you're short on time, leftovers are another great option. Making extra food the night before and freezing it will ensure you never go without a home-cooked meal.

Try planning your menus for the next week or so and see what you come up with. Participate in the fun with your family and see how much they enjoy it. Menu planning is an excellent way to free up time for more important things, such as family and friends.

Other Meal Planning Suggestions/Tips

  1. Make your kitchen user-friendly. Equipment and utensils should be grouped near the area where they are most frequently used.

  2. Invest in some appliances (such as a microwave oven, toaster oven, pressure saucepan, and food processor) that can help you save time on preparation and cooking.

  3. Attempt to time foods so that they finish cooking only at mealtime.

  4. Reduce cleaning time by using cookware that can be used to cook, serve, and store foods.

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  2. Make meal plans flexible so that they can be changed as needed, such as when you run out of something or food goes on sale.

  3. Include as many family members as possible, because preparing meals can be enjoyable for everyone.

  4. Serve a mix of old and new family favorites.

  5. Change up your cooking methods (e.g., grill, bake, broil, and stir fry).

  6. Avoid serving the same food twice on the same day.

  7. Cooking with a friend and trading meals is an option.

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