Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Menu Plan Monday and why I plan

Can you believe it? It is almost time to start a new year. I know that I am one to make resolutions each year, many of which I do an okay job of maintaining. Take last year for example, I decided that I wanted to make exercise more of a focus again. I have always been active at various levels, but last year I wanted to refocus. I think the reason that I was able to stick with it is that I found a great group of women to work out with. We are fortunate enough to have been able to talk our instructor into additional classes and now have class together 4 days a week (was 5, but she took a break last session and someone else took over her class this coming session). It is a great motivator. I look forward to seeing everyone, the classes are different each day. I may not have lost the weight that I wanted (evidently, as my instructor says, my jaw is still my strongest muscle), but I am certain that I am in better shape than I have been for a long time.

This year, I plan to continue with that resolution. I also want to continue to focus on menu planning. It does a few things for me:

- it alleviates stress, there is just something comforting about knowing what we will eat. Even though we do step away from the plan from time to time, it is there and I always have an answer to 'what's for dinner?'. It also means that we are more likely to have the ingredients on hand that we need - I say more likely, because some of the recipes are amongst our favorites, I don't always go through the effort of reviewing the recipe to make sure that I do have everything.
- it helps me shop wisely, waste less and save money. I don't necessarily plan my weekly menu based on what's on sale, but it does influence me. But, also, because I do plan, I don't have to worry that the tilapia or the pork chops that I bought multiple of on a deal will get forgotten.
- it helps me eat better. When I am planning, I will balance the menu with lighter choices to make sure that we are getting a good mix of meals. Plus, if I plan a specific meal and buy a vegetable(s) to go with it, I am more inclined to make the vegetable(s) than if I am trying to put something together at the last minute. I don't normally call out side dishes, but frequently we have a salad with dinner, some vegetables on the side, sometimes we have bread, etc.
- it allows us to eat dinner together most days. Even during our busy seasons, by planning the menu I can make sure that we have quick to table meals and/or can prep stuff the day before to allow the meal to be quick to table.
- it works for my kids. They like to look ahead at their school lunch menu and their dinner menu. It also helps if I am making a less than favorite meal earlier in the week, but they know that one of their favorites is coming up in a few days.

Do you menu plan?

Chipotle for burrito bowls

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Crab Cakes, pizza bites, chicken nuggets (New Year's Eve tradition)

Pork Tenderloins and sauerkraut (we grew up enjoying pork roast, but my family doesn't like it - so I get my pork and sauerkraut in my own way)

Turkey Roast and potatoes

Chipotle Chicken (#54)

Pizza (for the kids and dad...I have a GNO with some friends)

This week we are still on holiday (I have to go back Thursday), so breakfast is cereals and lunch is either leftovers, sandwiches or whatever mood strikes us.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.