|Photo courtesy of Choosemyplate.gov|
According to theKitchn.com, meal planning is, "... whatever way you organize yourself to cook a meal, whether that's breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the plan you make before you shop. Some people plan a month in advance, freezing neatly-labeled packets of soup and stew. Others wing it, shopping for that evening's meal at the farmers' market and picking up whatever looks good to them. Meal planning is a really personal thing. What works for you may not work for me. The goal, I think, is to find a process that is both enjoyable and effective." There are no limitations to how you can meal plan, it is up to your digression for what works the best for your family.
After reading several articles on meal planning I have concluded that meal planning is the most effective way to use coupons. Often when couponing it is easy to over buy items that you do not use as often, because of the deal. Meal planning allows you to become familiar with what is in your kitchen, stock up of the items that are running low, and use leftovers from previous meals.
The concept of meal planning isn't new to me, but I have found it hard to implement it consistently into my kitchen, as I do now know what my toddlers are going to eat day to day. When I do get the opportunity to plan out my meals in advance I first reference the USDA Plate Model which has recently replaced the pyramid model. This model shows a balance meal consisting of equal portions of whole grains and vegetables, and two similar portions of a protein and fruit, and one portion of dairy suggested at each meal.
Incorporating all of these food groups into your families meals is not always easy so here are a few helpful links on the road to effectively meal planning.
The Kitchn.com: 15 Tips for Better Meal Planning
Real Simple.com: Everyday Meal Planning
Peace and Love,
Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks