Planning a menu is not just about putting together dishes that taste good. It involves many aspects, such as a theme, your budget and the nutrition levels of the food. Meal planning is about serving well-balanced, nutritious meals that are delicious.
The nutrition level of food is a big factor in menu planning. Well-balanced meals provide the nutrients a body needs. Study the food pyramid to learn about food types and their importance to human nutrition. The food groups at the bottom of the pyramid are needed most and the ones at the top needed least. The food group at the bottom of the pyramid includes breads, cereals, grains and pasta. The top of the pyramid is the sugar and fat group. A well-balanced meal consists of meat or fish, side dishes of fruits and vegetables, dairy foods and a small serving of fat and sugar.
Availability of Ingredients
Another principle of menu planning is the availability of ingredients. Some fruits, vegetables and other ingredients are available only in certain seasons. Although cooks can substitute one ingredient for another, certain meals are not the same without the original ingredients. Plan your menu depending on the season in which all the ingredients you need are readily available.
Budget for Ingredients
Your shopping budget plays a big role in menu planning. With a big budget, you will have more options to buy expensive ingredients and meat. A smaller budget limits your purchases. This does not mean inexpensive ingredients are not as good as expensive ones. It only means that careful thought is necessary when grocery shopping.