How to Create a Workable Meal Plan Your Family Will Love

Chiomah Momah

There are two ways to avoid having to think up what to have for lunch or dinner every day. One is eating out daily and the other, taking time to plan your menu for the month. Honestly, life is already tedious enough that we all need to incorporate those little things that make our lives easier. Here are my 10 top secrets to a simple meal plan the whole family will love!

1. Consult The Stakeholders. You will need to consult with members of your family and be sure everyone has their favourite dish on the menu. This will reduce the amounts of complaints from your children especially if they are picky eaters. Note that asking their opinion doesn’t mean you should throw sound judgment out of the window, so, even if your 3-year-old loves fried plantain for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you won’t let him have his way.

2. Get Real! Be realistic with your meal planning. While you may love banga (palm oil) soup, preparing it on a Monday may just not be convenient. It may therefore be preferable to prepare on a weekend. Unless you have a cook, try and save the complicated and time consuming recipes for weekends and public holidays.

READ ALSO: 10 Tips for A Better Organized & Lovely Kitchen

3. Be Healthy. Aim to make each meal in your menu a balanced diet by also including plenty of vegetables and fruits. For example, ensure that every lunch meal is accompanied by seasonal fruits and try to avoid repeating similar meals same day.

4. Detailed Plan! Include every meal in your menu plan – breakfasts, school lunches and dinner, also taking into account snack times or in-between meals. For a healthier menu, do more of fruit snacks, rather than pastries and sweets.

5. Have Themed Nights. For instance, every Friday night could be tagged ‘Pasta Night.’ So you get to try different types of pasta, like ravioli, macaroni and cheese, lasagna (with minced beef or minced chicken) or the ever popular spaghetti (jollof style with bolognese sauce). Another example would be ‘Potato Night’ with a different variety each week such as baked potatoes with gravy, boiled potatoes with egg sauce, potato casserole, fries with fish or chicken, or boiled sweet potatoes. The options with each food type are almost endless!

6. Variety Is The Spice Of Life. Do the occasional surprise by ordering a pizza, making a foreign dish or allowing the kids order a take out. Visit food blogs, watch food shows and refer to cookery books for easy and interesting recipes to make.

READ ALSO: 6 Simple Tips For A Squeaky Clean Home

7. Relive Your Childhood. You might be shocked to find out that your children enjoy ‘Akara’ (bean cake) and Pap just like you did. So, include childhood favourites into your menu, even if it’s an updated version.

8. Write It Down And Display. Write it out and display where everyone can see, usually on the fridge. That way, each member of the family knows what to expect, and you will avoid dealing with questions like, “Mummy, what are we having for breakfast?”

READ ALSO: Busy Mum? Discover the Tricks of Batch Cooking

9. Have A Second Menu Plan. Having a second menu plan increases your variety and provides more options and an opportunity to alternate your menus. While Menu A caters for the current week, Menu B can for the next.

10. Plan Your Shopping. This is the final and most important aspect to a family menu plan that works. There is no point having meals planned without stocking up on ingredients. Get the needed ingredients and store appropriately. Also, if you know you are preparing a meal that needs fresh ingredients, make sure you schedule them to be purchased close to cooking day.

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