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Menu Planning

 In Food, Recipes, Shopping

Menu Planning Basics

Plan ahead to create healthy, budget-wise meals. Making a menu can be easy. Try these tips:

  • Check what you have at home before you go to the store. See what needs to be used up in your cupboard, refrigerator, and freezer.
  • Don’t focus on the details. Start by writing down ideas rather than specific recipes.
  • Think about small changes you can make to recipes to use ingredients that are in season, on sale, or on hand.
  • Pick out ingredients that can be used in more than one meal.
  • Think about ways to use leftover ingredients in other meals. Don’t let them go to waste.
  • Check store fliers, and ask farmers about any deals. Look for sale items you could use in your meals.
  • Create a shopping list to make sure you buy all the items you need.

Cooking for picky eaters? Use these strategies to plan meals that appeal to kids:

  • Include foods that vary in shapes and tastes.
  • Introduce new foods with familiar foods that kids already like.
  • Vary the foods you use and how they are prepared.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables of many different colors.

The Cooking Matters campaign knows that kids need good food to grow up healthy. That’s why we’re here to help you learn to shop for and cook healthy, affordable meals for your entire family. For more information, including additional tips and recipes, visit co.cookingmatters.org.

Related Resources

Recipes: Veggie and Rice Stir-Fry ;  Brown Rice and Orange Salad

The new Cooking Matters app for Android makes it simple to feed your family healthy foods, on any budget! Visit CookingMatters.org/app to plan meals with the touch of a button.

Exploring Food Together is a Cooking Matters toolkit of simple activities that adults can use to help kids learn about new foods and start building the skills to make healthy food choices.

Food Styling by Catrine Kelty

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