Meal Plan Your way into Dinner

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Thinking about what to cook for dinner on the way home from work can be stressful and often leads to unhealthy choices. Menu planning is a great way to make sure that you are providing a healthy meal every night for your family, and it will save you time and money!

Consider the time you spend each night trying to decide what to make, not to mention all those unplanned trips to the grocery store to get ingredients you don’t have.  And how often on those trips do you come home with things you were not going to buy??  Or maybe you end up eating out a lot.  That means your wallet can take a big hit, not to mention your waistline if you eat fast food a lot.  Avoid the time and money-wasting pitfalls- and avoid dinner time panic. With menu planning, you know what to buy, so you avoid those impulse buys and extra trips to the store.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Get the Family involved: Ask your kids or spouse to suggest menu ideas.  Sit down and look through cookbooks or online for recipe ideas.
Check what’s on sale:  Check your local grocery store ads and see what is on sale.  Try to plan your menu around some of the sale items. Also, check your pantry for items you may already have.
Think seasonal:  Try to pick recipes that call for seasonal fruits and veggies.  This will save you some money.
Mix things up:  Keep the menu interesting by planning some meatless meals or doing breakfast for dinner.
Picture the plate:  As you plan your meals, keep in mind that fruits and veggies should cover half of the plate, lean meats, and whole grains should take a quarter of the plate.
Reuse old meal plans:  Don’t throw away your old menu plans at the end of each week.  Hold onto them and reuse some of the recipes.

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