How to Menu Plan
Last week I shared some great websites that have gluten free menu plans, I thought this week I would share how to menu plan. I actually thought I had done this ages ago but when I went looking for it I couldn’t find anything! Whoops silly me, I shall rectify that now.
How I Menu Plan
I actually like doing weekly menu plans. I have tried monthly before but it just didn’t work for me. That’s half the battle and fun is finding what works for you.
I love recipe books, cook books, recipe magazines, recipe websites, blogs and cooking shows. I draw inspiration from all of these and often have recipes pinned, bookmarked, clipped in evernote and torn from magazines and popped into a file.
Then every week when it’s time to menu plan, I pop onto one of these sites or delve into one of the books and find inspiration for the week. If I find more inspiration than days I will list them in my diary for the next week to try them then.
I pop the meals into my diary and then write a shopping list. Most if not all of my meals have to be easily prepared as during the week is always busy for us.
Here are some other tips:
- always have one night spare for leftovers, or get your own, or take away
- consider slow cooker meals all year round. They are soo simple to put on and during summer they can let you avoid the heat of the oven being on
- if you are struggling for ideas, consider letting the kids pick a meal. My eldest loves picking one meal a week and the added bonus is he’ll eat it as it was his choice
Gluten Free Menu Planning
Of course I have the added bonus of figuring out gluten free meals for me. I think it is quite easy making meals gluten free. Often it is swapping out ingredients to make sure I have me friendly ones.
Examples of easily swapped ingredients
- Stock – I use massell stock powder to make up my own.
- Tortilla’s – I use corn tortillas
- Pasta – gluten free pasta is easily found in the health food section, I like pretty much any of them
- Pasta Sauce – either I make my own or use a gluten free friendly one – check labels
- Flour – quite simple, I use a gluten free flour
- Oats – ah I have yet to find an actual swap for this so I tend to avoid recipes that have oats in them
- Breadcrumbs – I use a variety of things here, depending on what I have on hand, I’ll use gluten free breadcrumbs, or rice crumbs or even crushed up gluten free chips. I have used polenta and quniona.
As I usually blog my menu plans I can easily look back on what we have had, I also mark them in my diary but there are many many free printables around that you can use and keep them in a folder. You’ll notice that many of these have space for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner which some people do. I don’t but it’s all what works for you.
Here are some of my favourites:
- Money Saving Mom has a free printable pack and you can use whichever suits you.
- The Project Girl has a couple of different designs of free printable blank menu plans
- Eat at Home Cooks has one here
- And lastly, Thirty Handmade Days has a Dinner Only template here
Do you menu plan? Does it help you?
Image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net