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Meal and Menu Planning for Your Family. Preparing you for your meal at home . Scenario…. Tomorrow you are having friends over for dinner. There will be 8 people in total, 4 adults and 4 children.

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Meal and menu planning for your family

Meal and Menu Planning for Your Family

Preparing you for your meal at home 


  • Tomorrow you are having friends over for dinner.

  • There will be 8 people in total, 4 adults and 4 children.

  • You would like to prepare a meal that requires little work while your company is over so you can spend as much time with them as possible.

  • In addition, you know the children are picky eaters and one of the adults is allergic to peanuts.

    • What would you serve based on the information you do have?

    • Is there any other information you need in order to plan your meal?

Menu planning
Menu Planning

  • Menu Planning:

    • Constructing a single balanced meal by grouping food groups in their proper amounts.

    • Another example can be for a more formal dinner such as planning and preparing:

      • Hors d'oeuvres

      • Appetizer – salad or soup

      • Main course/entrée

      • Dessert

Menu example
Menu Example

Menu planning1
Menu Planning

  • What do you need to consider?

    • Availability of ingredients

    • Preparation time

    • Cost

    • Nutrition

    • Ability/skill in the kitchen

    • Presentation

Meal planning
Meal Planning

  • Meal Planning:

    • Planning what you are going to serve for multiple meals for a certain amount of time

Meal planning multiple meals
Meal Planning – Multiple Meals

  • May plan for a:

    • Week

    • Day

    • Month

    • Many months

The benefits of meal planning
The Benefits of Meal Planning

  • Saves Time

    • At home and at the grocery store

  • Saves Money

    • Reduces impulse buying

    • Only buy what you need

  • Promotes variety

  • Promotes healthy eating

    • Less likely to grab for something convenient such as fast food

Meal planning guidelines
Meal Planning Guidelines

  • Food Preferences

    • Likes and dislikes

  • Nutritional Needs

    • Consider age groups and stages of life

    • A preschooler, teenager, and a grandparent will all have different nutritional needs

Meal planning guidelines1
Meal Planning Guidelines

  • Special Dietary Needs

    • Consider allergies, health conditions, etc.

  • Use and availability of resources

    • A person’s skills in the kitchen

    • Cooking equipment available

    • Nearby grocery stores

    • Etc.

Meal planning guidelines2
Meal Planning Guidelines

  • Season of the Year

    • Hot and hearty in winter

    • Cool and light in summer

  • Meal Appeal

    • What it looks like: contrasts in food textures, colours, flavour, shape, size, and temperature

    • Garnishes

Meal planning guidelines3
Meal Planning Guidelines

  • Cost

    • Factors that affect how much families spend on food

      • Total family income

      • Amount of food eaten away from home

      • Food prices

      • Amount of food waste

      • Types of foods prepared (meat is generally more expensive)

      • Time and skills available/kitchen expertise

      • Knowledge of proper food storage

Meal planning tips
Meal Planning Tips

  • Try to choose main dish first (i.e., chicken as your protein, then build around that)

  • Aim for balanced nutrition and variety throughout the week (use Canada’s Food Guide as a resource)

  • Set aside a regular time and place for meal planning

  • Ask family members about plans for the week – may change what you prepare

Meal planning tips1
Meal Planning Tips

  • Check newspaper ads to see what foods are on sale

  • Plan nutritious snacks as well as meals

  • Check the refrigerator, freezer and kitchen cabinets to see what foods you have on hand

    • Think of ways to use these foods in your plan

  • Make a grocery list

    • Group into grocery areas to get it done faster and more efficiently

Meal planning resources
Meal Planning Resources

  • May seem like a lot of work at first, but it becomes easier with practice!

  • In the long run, weekly meal planning is well worth it!

  • Sample handouts:

    • Meal planning chart/Sample weekly meal plan

    • Shopping list in categories

Meal planning challenges
Meal Planning Challenges

  • Handout

  • In pairs or small groups, devise strategies for the meal planning challenges for both families and individuals.

Your turn
Your Turn!

  • List your family members.

  • Plan a meal that would accommodate all members of your family.

  • Take into account everyone’s schedule, allergies, likes, dislikes, activity level, etc.

  • You may have to substitute/provide alternatives for certain members of your family (this will be good practice for your meal at home planning!)