Monday, May 30, 2011

7 Things to Know about Yourself before Meal Planning

1) What do you like to eat?

This sounds silly, right? I mean, we all know what we like to eat! You can list meat, veggies, cheeses, fruits, and brands. Now take a step back, what “ethnic” category do these foods belong to?

“Food Families” if you will are regional cuisines. If all you eat is “asian food,” perhaps you could split them up into country-of-origin. Or, if you like “Asian Food,” generally speaking and “Italian/Mediteranian cuisine,” and “French food,” you have three distinct “Food Families.”

This is important to identify because it will influence what you stock your kitchen with, in order to then decide what meals you will make nightly.

2) When are you hungry?

Some people want to eat right when they wake up, others wait a few hours. Some people prefer dinner at 7 and others eat as early as 4. Knowing when you’re hungry will determine when you cook, or when you pop something into the microwave. If you are so hungry that you need to plop a meal in the microwave right when you get home from work, you will know that that is a meal you will have to make ahead of time so that it can fit seemlesly into your routine.

3) Are you a snacker?

If you love to snack, know when you snack and on what. If you want not only to lead a Greener and more affordable life, but also a healthier one, you might need to identify night-time snacking habits you want to alter. However, snacking tendencies will also have to be planned. You need to know what you snack on and when so that an alternate snacking choice can be made ahead of time.

4) What is your buying habit?

How often do you go to the grocery store? Weaving and adjusting your current habits into your meal-planning structure are integral to knowing how and when you will be cooking. There are a variety of ways to meal plan successfully, but knowing what sort of time you spend shopping will help you to determine which ones you are best suited to.

5) How much do you know about cooking?

If you rely on pop-in-microwave meals, how much do you know about what goes into a dish?
If you boil water, add pasta, dump bottled marinara on top and call that dinner--you might want to start with a few very simple dishes. If, on the other hand, you know how to cook holiday meals, and just think that’s too much work on a daily basis, you might want to scale down the fancy and pick up some easier dishes.

6) Do you follow recipes?

If you follow recipes, then keep it up. If you don’t, and you want to switch the cuisine you are creating, then you might want to try following a few recipes first. You can improvise after you have the proper feel for taste in the dishes you are creating.

7) How many people are you cooking for?

Knowing how many people you are cooking for will decide a few things about your tactics. See Meal Planning for One, if you are cooking for just yourself. There are also Family guides, and Cooking for Two.


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