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Meal Planning - A Little Planning Goes a Long  Way

Sushi for two: It is just the two of us most nights and it gets hard to think of new and fun things you can cook with your child and have them fully help you with dinner.  So when my son was about 10 years old we started to do up a menu plan for the week and it would be foods that we both liked and could make together.  My son loves sushi so I thought how hard is it to make... not very hard and he can help out with almost the whole making of it other then cooking the rice.  It makes for great conversation as you are cutting up the stuff to put into your sushi and rolling it up! This has been a big success for our small family and we make it together still twice a month!                Submitted by Crystal, mother of a 16 year old

Here are some tips to help make the planning go a long way.

Plan ahead Use a calendar to keep track of the whole family’s schedule. On the days that everyone is home, try to make it a priority to prepare and eat a meal or snack together. Don’t forget the weekends! Saturdays and Sundays can be perfect for planning and preparing brunch together.

Start slowly  Scheduling family meals two or three days per week. Then, as the weeks go by, try to include more regular meals together.

Plan your menu

Keep it simple. With busy schedules sometimes we think it’s just easier to prepare the snack and meal ourselves. However, planning your menus will help you to think about the kinds of meals and snacks that the whole family can be involved in preparing.

Chat with your family. Ask what they would like to help cook and have for breakfast, lunch, snacks and/or dinner. To help get your children involved, ask them to pick a favourite dish for one day during the week. Older children can select new recipes to try.

Take stock. Once you have planned your menus, take a few minutes to see what you have in the cupboards and decide what you will need to buy from the grocery store.

Check the store flyers. See what is on sale this week and use these items to develop your menu plan.

Review your menu. Use this menu plan checklist to see if your menus are on track with tasty, good-for-you, and budget-wise foods

Post the menu. Posting the menu where everyone can see it (e.g., fridge) will help you keep to your plan. Depending on who is at home, the menu will help your family get the meal or snack started. For example, older children can get the ingredients out and/or set the table. Tasks will vary depending on the age of the child.

Plan a grocery list. Whether you use a scrap piece of paper or your cell phone, using a grocery list will help you keep to your plan and stay on budget.

Keep track of things you run out of. Your family members can help you keep track of what items you run out of and can add items themselves.

For more information, visit this site:
7 Steps for Fast and Easy Menu Planning: You’ll find the more you menu plan the easier it becomes
• Cookspiration.com – A website and an iPhone and iPad recipe app (Android coming soon). Created by Dietitians of Canada. Recipe ideas are served up to suit your mood and schedule