Let’s cook! 10 Simple Tips for Planning a Weekly Menu
Once you know how to make a weekly menu plan you’ll be astonished at how it eliminates stress and speeds up meal preparation. Rather than rummaging through the refrigerator then rushing to the store because you can’t decide what to make, a weekly meal plan makes things predictable and hassle-free. While cooking food or eating is quite spontaneous depending on one’s mood, we can definitely try bringing about a skeleton structure.
So here are 10 simple tips that will help you to keep your mind off the kitchen.
Know your likes and dislikes
One question that we face every day is, what to eat today? Even though we know our likes and dislikes, sometimes it’s hard to decide at that moment. So, just have a couple of your all-time favourites in your mind while sitting down to plan your weekly menu. Since they are your all-time favourites, there are high chances that you might not fuss over it.
Make a skeleton plan.
Think about the various dishes that you might like to have through the week. Make a skeleton plan as to what all dishes you would like to cook. Have them on your reminder along with the recipe. While many of you might be experts at cooking, it’s absolutely okay to have recipes so that you don’t get stuck in case of any glitches. Once you have your skeleton plan ready, the next step is to stop and shop.
Most of us end up going out for weekends. To have your weekly menu sorted, go out for grocery shopping in the weekend. Buy all the ingredients that you will require for all the items you have penned down for the week. Spend a little bit extra time so as to save a lot of time later from rushing to the market to get ingredients that you probably missed. Once you have all the ingredients in place, then the task is simplified.
Pre-cook and Freeze!
Some of the basic ingredients can be cooked and frozen. Mass boiling potatoes, peas, different varieties of dal, pasta and spaghetti can be a saviour during hectic days. All you got to do is boil it, let it cool and then put it in the freezer. Similar for non-veg, you can simply, half-cook them or directly marinate them. Also, instead of using tinned cans of tomato paste, you can make one at home and freeze them. As and when you require them, defrost it and cook it.
Get your combinations right.
Dishes can go for a complete toss if you get the combination right. During the weekday’s hassle, it’s hard to come up with unique combinations or try new ones. So, stick to the ones that you are comfortable and confident about. If you get the combination within the meal and with different meals absolutely right, then the dish compliments itself.
Think about it before you sleep.
While in most of the cases it’s not possible to write down weekly menu in advance and stick to it, what we can definitely do is having a skeleton plan of food that we would love to cook and eat. There is no specific need to make a calendar or write it down. Just before you sleep, take two mins and plan what you would like to cook and eat according to your commitments. This is easier and reduces stress.
Juggle the menu every alternative week.
While the menu cannot be fixed like how it is done in hotels considering we our own preferences and moods. Just have a rough sketch of about 20 varieties that you wish to have in a week. They don’t have to be mixed because that kills the joy of the whole experience. Use a week’s menu alternatively and juggle between the dishes. Have a set of the food that you are confident about and keep juggling.
Come out with a balanced diet.
One thing that definitely needs our attention is a balanced diet. Play with simple but different ingredients. To do anything in the world, it’s important to remain healthy and this comes through a balanced diet. Make sure you get the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins. Load your meal with a lot of veggies and salads.
Fixing time on a day to day basis for cooking is usually not possible considering we have various other commitments and work. So, the key is to keep it simple and short. Time is an important factor in cooking. Efficient cooking during the weekdays is especially useful. For efficient cooking, cook food that you are well-aware about, comfortable with and confident to cook it quickly.
Use the tools that can simplify the process of cooking. There are various smart vegetable cutters, dough kneaders, blenders, peelers that can reduce the workload. Having stoves with timers will not need your attention in the kitchen, turn them on and get going with other work. So, technology helps!
As much as most of us love eating, there are high chances that we might not be able to cook or spend that much time to cook a hearty meal. But these tips I hope as simplified it by giving doable things to manage to squeeze in very less time to cook our favourite food. Always set practically achievable goals so that we don’t stress about the unrealistic goals that we set for ourselves.
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Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.