Creating menu plans has become increasingly popular. There are many services out there that provide you a means to a week filled with homemade meals that are said to be simple, quick to make, and good for you.
Many people that create their own menu’s for the week or subscribe to a menu plan service find out right away that a written plan is the key to saving money on food for the week since you’ll be cooking at home from scratch.
Learn how to cook! That’s the way to save money. You don’t save it buying hamburger
helpers, and prepared foods; you save it by buying fresh foods in season or in large supply, when they are cheapest and usually best, and you prepare them from scratch at home.
— Julia Child
Since My Humble Kitchen has a menu plan service and an eBook, Nourishing Menu Plan’s on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours, I’m aware of different ways that people plan out their menu’s.
Some hop on over to Pinterest and find tasty recipes they save to a favorite board while others follow blogs and incorporate seasonal fare from their favorite foodie website. I’ve even seen some strategies that scour the internet looking for simple, quick recipes that promise cooking during the week will only take 15 minutes.
I’m not writing to discredit any method you may use, however, I wanted to share how I plan my menu for the week so that you may be able to incorporate many of the same philosophies and techniques I use.
When I plan my menu’s, I do many of the same things as I wrote about above. I love to go through Pinterest and my favorite food websites and blogs. I pin and save tasty recipes that I’d like to try and adapt. For the sake of learning to become a better cook at home, I also read many, many cookbooks that teach me technique and common practices in the kitchen.
With this knowledge I then incorporate it with nourishing and traditional practices to create a menu plan for the week.
Top 5 Elements to Creating a Nourishing Menu Plan
When it comes to developing a menu plan for the week, I have a list that needs to be checked off to ensure a varied diet, filled with seasonal nutrient dense foods that the entire family will enjoy.
1. Seasonal Vegetables
My menu plan is very heavy in vegetables. Before I start planning any recipes for my menu, I look over what vegetables are in season, what is growing locally, and then plan my meals around them.
I really can not stress enough the importance of a diet filled with varied vegetables as they come into season.
Each vegetable, in its season, is filled with different vitamins and minerals that keep our immunity strong, able to ward off disease and fight sickness quickly. It’s these vegetables that give us vibrant health and make us feel great from the inside out.
It’s also important to note that vegetables purchased in season, grown chemical free, and having been harvested at their peak of ripeness will have the highest amount of nutrients.
Personally, when I start to feel like I’m dragging and bloating, it’s usually because I haven’t been eating my vegetables like I should, especially dark, leafy greens.
2. Mineral Rich Bone Broth
This is one traditional technique that is simple to make and absolutely essential to vibrant health.
My family in Spain consumes homemade broth throughout the entire year including the hot summer months. For all of the nutritional benefits of incorporating homemade broth to your diet, please read my post called, The Miracles of Broth.
In order to make sure to add bone broth to my menu’s, I develop one soup a week also containing vegetables making it both economical, and nourishing.
I also use stock in my menu’s in the form of sauces making them rich, flavorful, and complex.
Without bone broth, nourishment and flavor in dishes is sacrificed.
3. Free Range Eggs
Free range eggs are an important element to my menu plan. When creating my menu for the week, I always include one recipe with eggs as the main source of protein.
They are extremely economical and filled with nourishing fat, vitamins, and minerals.
They are quick and simple to make, which in turn, makes them the optimal choice for nourishing fast food.
Beans are an important element to my menu plan.
Traditionally, beans have nourished and literally saved the lives of thousands upon thousands of people unable to afford meat. They continue to nourish and serve as a main source of protein to those living on a strict food budget.
I love beans. They taste wonderful when prepared correctly and made into different types of stews, hot pots, and salads.
They’re filled with protein, fiber, and vitamins. Since they are an important part of a Mediterranean diet and my family has been eating them for centuries, I intentionally incorporate them into my menu plans to be eaten fresh and frozen for quick lunches throughout the week.
5. Pastured Meats Including Beef, Pork, and Chicken
In my menu planning, I try to keep a meat dish in no more than 3 meals throughout the work week.
I was raised on a Mediterranean, Spanish diet. Although we eat meats, they are not consumed as much as vegetables, eggs, and legumes. To me it’s important to maintain this lifestyle in order to eat a diet filled in vitamin rich vegetable and to save money on our food budget.
Also, as an urban homesteader and activist in sustainability, its a way to better serve my part in being a steward of our land in hopes to never take a living animal as meat for granted.
As you can tell, I put a lot of time and thought into creating a weekly menu plan. It brings me such joy to see my family enjoying good, quality food that I know is nourishing them from within.
If you’re interested in sampling one of my menu’s to give you a better idea of what a typical week looks like at my home, sign up to my email updates or you can purchase my eBook, Nourishing Menu Plans on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours for $4.99.