Menu Planning

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Menu Planning Basics

Our friends at Cooking Matters have come up with a few tips and resources to help you incorporate menu planning into weekly routine.

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.

Related Resources


Looking for healthy recipes your whole family can get excited about? Try these delicious recipes:

Chinese Veggies and Rice

Brown Rice and Orange Salad

Other Resources

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.

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