When I first started menu planning, I have to admit that at first it was very difficult to get used to it. It was also very difficult to figure what to have, and when. The one thing that a mom tries to do when they are menu planning, is to keep the meals interesting. It is a real challenge not to have the same things every single night. One thing that I personally found that works well are themed meal nights. Setting a theme for each night of the week really does help to make menu planning a lot easier.
Leftover night is something that our household does on Friday nights. This is the night when we focus on cleaning out the fridge. Any leftovers that you have for the week, the family can eat up. This also helps children learn to fend for themselves and not be one hundred percent dependent on mom for all of their weekly meals. If you have never considered having a leftover night now would be a good time to start.
Get creative with pasta
Most families really enjoy having a pasta night. Each week you can fix a different pasta dish for the week. This helps to keep things interesting, if you try different pasta recipes. If you make a large portion of pasta you may be able to stretch it out for at least two nights a week. This will be one less day that you actually have to spend cooking. You can fix anything from lasagnas, to lighter pasta dishes.
Explore different cultures
One of my favorite things to do for my family is to get them to explore dishes from other cultures. There are so many different foods; it is nice to explore them all. Also by doing this when your children are young you will be keeping them open minded when it comes to food. For example my children love to have Chinese food on some nights for dinner. It may take children some time to adjust to different types of food, and flavors, but you may be surprised at what your child enjoys eating once they are given a chance. If you are not sure what to try, look at some food websites like www.foodnetwork.com for something a little bit different.
Meat free nights
In an effort to save money, many families have chosen to have meat free nights. This can be a challenge for those family members who feel that they can not live without having some meat to eat for dinner. One meat free dinner a week is really not that difficult at all. There are plenty of meat substitutes that you can have in a meal that will still make it filling and interesting to eat.