Menu Planning Tips

Here is some great meal planning information from one of our makeover success stories, Kathy Patell.  She has lost over 60 pounds and has really figured out some great ways to make it work for her and her family.  She was gracious enough to share them with us!  Thanks Kathy.

From Kathy…

Although some patients would like you to hand them a week of menus and a shopping list, there are too many likes and dislikes to really be successful in the long term.  I think the real stumbling block is creating menus.  I would like to help facilitate your patients to come up with their own menu with their likes and circumstance.  (Cooking for family vs individual). Teach them the skill to make menus.  Establish a few rules like: you must try one new entree recipe from the book each week; no salad can be repeated until the fourth day;  there must be at least 3 different colors on your plate; you must have 2 beef, 3 white meat and 2 fish for the week; and so on.   For the advanced plan I choose one meat, one hot vegetable, and one cold salad.  I then add grains for my daughter, who is not on the advanced plan, like brown rice or sweet potatoes.

I first started by looking at the food lists in the book and checking off all the things I already liked.  I could then see how much variety I could choose my menus from.  Menus need to be written down and posted on the cabinet or fridge.  When I come down in the morning and see what to defrost for dinner, I read:

Mon:  Stir fry coconut chicken and snow peas, tomato-mozzarella salad
Tues:  :  Teriyaki salmon, green beans almandine (mine are Green Giant brand), spring mix with raspberry vinaigrette and walnuts
Wed:   Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, Caesar salad
Thurs:  Grilled chicken, broccoli cranberry salad, cottage cheese with chives (from my garden)

I think I just made my menus for the next few days!  The point is, when I see what is coming at the end of the day I say to myself YUMM!  I am not being deprived.  I’m eating from a restaurant menu.  The added benefit is that when my husband comes home he can jump right in to help prepare.  It’s written down.  If you are trying a new recipe each week, the pantry items will gradually change.

For breakfast and lunch you could do it like the hospital does.  Write several options and alternate each day: eggs (scrambled, fried, omelet), smoothie, grainless pancakes, grainless granola with almond milk.

One more strategy that must be considered when making menus; the activities commitments that interfere with meal times.  I always consult my calendar and jot down on the menu  which nights I have a class or Steph has to work.  If I need to be somewhere at 6pm and she needs to be somewhere at 7pm and Dan may or may not be home, that’s Taco night!  A meal that can be prepared ahead and hold.

Kathy Petell

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