“Welcome to McDonalds. Would you like to try our new Bacon Cheese Big Mac?” Do those words sound familiar to you? As in, you hear them more often than you hear the voices of the anchors on the evening news?
If you’re tired of spending your hard earned cash at the drive-through window, menu planning can be a lifesaver. Beginning the process can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged! Here are five common myths about menu planning.
Menu Planning is too Time-Consuming
I have to admit this is somewhat true, at least in the beginning. It takes time to get organized, find the right meals for you and your family and organize meals around your schedule. However it won’t always take so long. In fact, you’ll find that after three or four sessions and a little experimentation, meal planning will fall into a simple and efficient pattern. When it all comes down to it, planning your meals saves so much time in your day-to-day life because you don’t have the stress of figuring out what’s for dinner.
Menu Planning Doesn’t Save Money
Although it seems odd, I have heard the complaint that meal planning doesn’t save money. Upon further investigation, I found that the person doing the complaining was simply planning her meals around eating out and store-bought freezer foods.
There are many different ways to apply meal planning for your family, but I feel it is important to consider the financial and nutritional aspects. Eating food from your own kitchen can save large amounts of money when you shop with coupons and sales, use frugal ingredients and cook seasonally appropriate meals.
Menu Planning is too Complicated
When you follow the basics of menu planning and ask the advice of those more experienced, it can be quite the opposite of complicated! Keep it simple by doubling up on meals, using leftovers and preparing tasty one-dish dinners. Start by creating one week’s worth of meals at a time. I serve both a noon and evening meal since I’m at home with my children, so I choose super-easy, kid-friendly meals for lunch.
Menu Planning is only for Families with Children
This system is useful for just about anyone! Whether you are single, married with no children, have a family or retired, menu planning can be customized for your situation. Taste of Home publishes a “Cooking for Two” magazine where you can find amazing recipes pared down for small households. In fact, planning your meals is probably the simplest thing for a single person—no fussy eaters in the house!
Menu Planning is only for Stay at Home Moms
For those of us that are stay-at-home-moms (or dads), preparing meals in advance is definitely a lifesaver! When five o’clock rolls around, it’s great to have dinner already cooking on the stove so we can focus our attention on calming late-afternoon crankiness (and I’m not just referring to my kids)!
Menu planning can be an even bigger advantage for those who are work-at-home or work-away-from-home parents. Numerous meals can be simmering in a crock-pot all day and ready when the hungry crowd descends. From once a month cooking to pre-marinated steak that can be thrown on the grill, working families can easily make menu planning “work” for them.
Menu planning is easy once you take the initial time to get organized and put away all your doubts. Anyone can do it, and everyone should! Ready to get started? Read my article on The Basics of Menu Planning and come back often for more information and articles that can help you bring meals back to your kitchen table.