Saturday, September 21, 2013

Menu Planning 101

How do you plan the menu at your house?  Think about My Plate and how it shows half your plate as fruits and veggies. 
We typically pick the entree first and then the sides but actually, we should be choosing our fruits and veggies first, to fill half our plate, and then round it out with some protein and whole grains.

One way to do this is to think about what's in the garden, what's at the farmer's market, what's on sale at the grocery store - and choose that veggie to start your menu planning.  When I have an abundance of snow peas from my garden in the spring, I'm throwing them raw in salads, sauteing them in a little butter (yes, I am an RD who uses butter!) with a pinch of sugar for caramelizing, snacking on them raw, and stir frying them.  When I'm loaded up on broccoli from the garden in the fall, we have broccoli salad, broccoli soup, broccoli in casseroles and of course, good old steamed broccoli. 

Yesterday, I got green peppers and Roma tomatoes from the garden so they went in the pasta salad today!  Talk about fresh!

The benefits of growing your own are not only the ready supply of fresh veggies but you can be sure that after the hard work of planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, sorting and washing - you are going to eat it!  You are not going to throw it away!  And the shelf life of home grown veggies is so much longer than anything from the store - so that reduces waste as well.

Change the way you think about menu planning and pick your veggies first.

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