Welcome back to week 5 of Menu Plan Monday! So far we’ve covered:
The next step is building variation into your weekly menu so you don’t eat the same foods over and over again. Life is so much happier when you really enjoy what you’re eating, and as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Build variation into your weekly menus so you’ll enjoy each meal more!
There are a few different ways to build variation into your diet. One of these is to eat seasonally. Eating seasonally has many variables, so we will be talking about it in-depth next week.
Another idea is to make sure you never eat meals based on the same ingredients two nights in a row. I follow this guideline fairly strictly. If I have fish one night, I definitely won’t cook it again the next night. If I have steak one night, I might have a vegetarian meal the next night. The only type of dish I might have two nights in a row is vegetarian, but they will be vastly different recipes, like Sweet Potato & Spinach Quesadillas one night and Orecchiette with Arugula, Peas, and Parmesan the following.
A final idea for building variation into your diet is themed eating. The basic principle of themed eating is to assign a theme (i.e. Mexican, Meatless, Pizza, etc.) to a night of the week/month and to always choose a recipe that falls under that theme/category on that night. A very common example of this is “Meatless Monday.” Each Monday, families that follow this theme would eat a vegetarian meal for dinner. A theme that John and I regularly use is “Pizza Friday.” Unless we have special plans, we count on eating pizza on Fridays. If something does interrupt this tradition, we usually move our pizza night to Thursday or Saturday. For example, we went out for a special dinner this past Friday to celebrate the completion of John’s web development program (we had Korean, one of his absolute favorites!) Naturally, on Saturday, we had pizza when we went out to the North End for our last night in Boston!
Here are some other nightly themes to help you choose if themed eating is right for your family:
Quick & Easy
…the list could go on and on!
Themed eating is most commonly done with 1 theme applied to each day of the week. That said, you could just as easily choose a theme for one or two nights of the week and leave the other nights free. John and I do this because there are just too many wonderful themes to use only seven of them!
If you’re trying to incorporate more fish or vegetarian food into your diet, themed eating is a fairly easy way to do that. Whatever way you choose to incorporate variation into your diet, make sure you end up with a menu with plenty of fruits and veggies and a variety of different types of proteins (beans, fish, chicken…to list just a few!)
Now this week has a strange menu, too, as we will be going on a family vacation toward the end of the week!
Monday – Sweet Potato Burritos
Tuesday – Friday Pizza on Tuesday since we won’t necessarily get it this weekend!
Wednesday – Teriyaki Shrimp Udon
Thursday – Family Reunion
Friday – Family Reunion
Saturday – Family Reunion
Sunday – Family Reunion
How do you build variation into your menu???
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