Applying Menu Planning Ideas
When is the best time to shop to
A. On Weekends
B. In the evening
C. In the morning
D. Whenever there is a sale item available
Although there may be sales at
certain times of the day, the best way to save money is to get
in and out of the grocery store quickly. The early morning hours
when the stores are least crowded are the best time to
A menu is a list of dishes we
plan to serve. To your family, it is a list of dishes from which
they�ll eat during the week. To the cook, it is a list of
dishes you plan to prepare. It is also a management tool for
your household. It is fair to say that it is the simple most
important household document. Purchasing, cooking and food costs
are all based on the menu. You can see why it is essential to
pay careful attention to the writing of the menu and why so many
factors are considered. In this chapter, you discuss these
factors from the point of view of kitchen production. How does
one construct a menu that offers the best choices to your family
and that promotes efficiency and productivity?
Menu Forms and Functions
You must plan the menus for the
people eating the food. This sounds like a simple rule, but you
frequently forgotten it. You must never forget that the family
is the main reason you�re cooking.
This rule means that, in most
homes, the taste and preference of the cook are of little
importance when planning the menu. True here are some homes that
are primarily a showcase for the cook�s artistry, but they are
rare. Instead, the taste and preference of the family we must
give it top priority if our meal planning is going to succeed.
You must produce food that is
appealing to our family and in sufficient variety to keep them
from getting bored with the same old thing. Grumbling about the
food is a favorite sport among families, but at least we can
keep it to a minimum.
Kind of meals
For the most part, breakfast
menus are standard. You try to have on hand fruits, juices,
eggs, cereals, pancakes, waffles, breakfast meats, plus regional
specialties like Southern grits, because it is what our family
wants and expects. The breakfast menu must be foods that can be
prepared quickly and you can be eat in a hurry.
The following factors are
important to consider when planning lunch menus.
1) Speed. Like breakfast, the
family is usually in a hurry. They must be prepared quickly and
be easy to serve and eat. Sandwiches, soups, and salads are
important items on many lunch menus.
2) Simplicity. Menu selections
are fewer, and we serve fewer courses. In many cases, it is only
one course such as soup and a sandwich or omelet and salad. This
satisfies the need for simplicity and speed.
3) Variety. In spite of the
simplicity of the menu, we must have variety.
Dinner is usually the main meal
and we eat in a more leisurely fashion than either breakfast or
lunch. Of course, some families are in the hurry too, but in
general people come home to relax over a substantial meal.
Building the Menu
A course is a food or group of
foods served at one time or you intend to eat at the same time.
Most of the time, you put the courses on the table at once �
appetizer, salad, main dish and side dishes, and desserts, for
example � but will eat them in a particular order.
Modern menus: courses and
The main dish is the
centerpiece of the modern meal. If the meal consists of only one
dish, it is considered the main course, even if it a salad or a
bowl of soup. You may serve one or more dishes before the main
dish. These are usually light in character, so that you are not
full before the main course.
You may serve the salads either
before or after the main course (but not both). In more
traditional meals, they are served after the main course to
refresh the appetite before dessert. Servings the salad before
the main course is a comparatively recent development.
Variety and balance
Balancing a menu means
providing enough variety and contrast so that the meal holds
interest from the first course to the last. To balance a menu,
you must develop a feeling for which foods complement each other
or provide pleasing contrast. And you must avoid repeating
flavors and textures as much as possible.
1) Flavors: Don�t repeat
flavors with the same or similar tastes. This applies to any
predominate flavors, whether of the main ingredients, of the
spices, of the sauce, and so on. For example:
a) Don�t serve broiled tomato
halves with the main dish if the appetizer has a tomato sauce.
b) Don�t serve a spicy,
garlicky appetizer and a spicy, garlicky main dish. On the other
hand, don�t make everything too bland.
c) Acid or tart foods are often
served as accompaniments to fatty foods, because they help cut
the fatty taste. This is why applesauce and port, mint sauce and
lamb, or orange sauce and duckling are such classic
2) Textures: Texture applies to
the softness or firmness of foods, their feel in the mouth,
whether or not they are served with sauces, and so on. Don�t
repeat foods with the same or similar texture. For example:
a) Prepare a clear soup instead
of a thick soup if you serve the main course with a cream sauce.
On the other hand, a cream soup goes well before a simple
saut�ed or broiled item.
b) Don�t serve too many
mashed or pureed foods, unless you are serving babies.
c) Don�t serve too many
heavy, starchy items.
3) Appearance: Serve foods with
a variety of colors and shapes. Colorful vegetables are
especially valuable for livening up the appearance of meats,
poultry, fish, and starches, which tend to be mostly white or
There are so many possible
combinations of foods that it is impossible to give rules that
will cover all of them. Besides, creative home cooks are
continually experimenting with new combination, breaking old
rules, and coming up with exciting menus.
Availability of Foods
Use fresh foods in season.
Foods out of season are more expensive, often lower in quality,
and their supply is undependable. Don�t put asparagus on the
menu if you can�t get good asparagus.
Use foods locally available.
Fresh seafood is the most obvious example of a food that is hard
to get in some parts of the country, unless you are willing to
pay premium prices.
Complete Utilization of Foods
You can�t afford to throw
food away, any more than you can afford to throw money away. You
must plan total utilization of foods into the menus. Whether or
not this is done can make or break a household budget.
1) Use all edible trim.
Unless you use only portion
control meats, poultry, and fish and only frozen and canned
vegetables, you will have edible trim. You can either throw it
away or call it a loss. You can use it and same money.
Plan recipes that utilize these
trimmings and use them. For example:
a) Use small meat scrapes for
soups, chopped meat, pates, creamed dishes, and croquettes.
b) Use larger meat trimmings
for soups, stews, and braised items.
c) Use bones for stocks and
d) Use vegetable trimmings for
purees, soups, stews, stocks, filling for omelets and crepes.
e) Use day-old breads for
stuffing�s, breading, French toast, croutons, and meat
2) Plan to avoid leftovers.
The best way to use up
leftovers is not to create them in the first place. Handling
food twice � once as a fresh item and one as a leftover � is
more expensive and time consuming than handling it once, and it
almost always results in loss of quality.
3) Plan for use of leftovers.
Careful planning of cooking can
keep leftovers to a minimum. But some leftovers are almost
inevitable, and it�s better for your costs to use them than to
throw them out. You should have a recipe ready that will use it.
For example, if you serve roast
chicken for dinner one day, you might plan on chicken � la king
or chicken salad later that week. Remember to handle all
leftovers according to proper sanitary procedures.
4) Avoid �minimum-use�
are those that you only use in one or two items. For example,
you used fresh mushrooms for chicken breast served with
mushrooms but not in any other item that week. When the
ingredient is perishable, the result is a high percentage of
spoilage or waste.
When planning your menu, you
must have a basic understanding of nutrition. Because your
bodies need varieties of foods in order to function and to be
healthy. You want to proved a nutritious food and well-balanced
menus. You must make our food that will please our family and
guests. You want to present attractive, flavorful foods as well
as foods that are nutritious. In addition, with a concern for
fitness and health, you want to make your menus nutritiously
Nutrients are certain chemical
compounds that are present in foods and that fulfill one or more
of the following functions:
a. Supply energy for body
b. Build and replace cells that
make up body tissues
c. Regulate body processes
There re six categories of
Fiber (Strictly it is not a
nutrients, but it is necessary for healthful body
A calorie is a unit of
measurement used to measure energy. (It�s defined as the
amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of
water by 1� C.) You use calorie to measure how much energy
certain foods will supply. Today, many feel that it is something
to avoid. However, without sufficient food energy you could not
Carbohydrates, proteins, and
fat can be used by the body to supply energy.
1 gram of carbohydrate supplies
1 gram of protein supplies 4
1 gram of fat supplies 9
Kinds of Nutrients and their
Carbohydrates are the most
important source of food energy. Starches are complex
carbohydrates. You find them in such foods as grains, bread,
peas, and beans, and many vegetables and fruits. Sugars are
simple carbohydrates. You will find them in sweets, and to a
lesser extent, in fruits and vegetables.
Most authorities believe that
complex carbohydrates are better for you than simple
carbohydrates. This is partly because starchy foods also have
many other nutrients, while sweets have few other nutrients.
Also, there is some evidence that a lot of sugar in the diet may
contribute to heart and circularly dieses.
The term fiber refers to a
group of carbohydrates that cannot be used by the body.
Therefore, fiber supplies no food energy. However, it is
important for the proper functioning of the intestinal tract and
the elimination of body waste. In addition, there is evidence
that sufficient dietary fiber helps prevent some kinds of
cancers. Fruits and vegetables, especially if raw, and whole
grains supply dietary fiber.
Fats supply energy to the body
in highly concentrated form. Also, some fatty acids are
necessary for regulating certain body functions. Third, fats act
as carriers of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).
Fats may be classified as
saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. These terms
reflect chemical difference in the composition of these fats.
Cooks do not need to know the chemical structure of fats, but
they should understand their nutritional characteristic and the
foods in which they are found. Many foods contain a combination
of these three types but with one type predominating.
Saturated fats are solid at
room temperature. Animal products � meats, poultry, fish,
eggs, dairy products � and solid shortening are the major
source of saturated fats. Tropical oils such as coconut oil and
palm kernel oil are also rich in saturated fats. Health
authorities believe that these fats contribute significantly to
heart disease and other health problems.
Polyunsaturated fats and
monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Although
too much of any kind of fat is bad forth e health, these fats
are considered to be more healthful that saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in vegetable oil such as corn
oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil. High
levels of monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil and canola
oil. Both kinds of unsaturated fats are also found in other
plant products as well, including whole grains, nuts, and some
fruits and vegetables.
Cholesterol is a fatty
substance that has been closely linked with heart disease,
because it collects on the walls of arteries and blocks the flow
of blood to the heart and other vital organs. It is found only
in animal products and is especially high in egg yolks, butter
fat, and organ meats such as liver and brains. In addition, the
human body can manufacture its own cholesterol, so not all the
cholesterol in the blood is necessarily form foods.
Nevertheless, experts generally agree that it is best to keep
the cholesterol in the diet as low as possible.
Recent research has suggested
that monounsaturated fat may actually lower the levels o the
most harmful kinds of cholesterol in the body. This may explain
the relatively low incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean
regions where olive oil is the most widely used fat. This
research has helped to popularize the use of olive oil in other
parts of the world, especially in North America.
Remember, however, that too
much fat of any kind is bad for the health. Do not make the
mistake of thinking that monounsaturated fats are �good for
you� and can be used in excess.
Proteins are known as the
building blocks of the body. They are essential for growth, for
building body tissues, and for basic body functions. The can
also be used for energy if the diet does not contain enough
carbohydrates and fats.
They consist of substances
called amino acids. The body is able to manufacture many of t
them, but there are eight amino acids that it cannot manufacture
and must get from foods. A food protein that contains all eight
essential amino acids is called a complete protein. Meats,
poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain complete
Proteins that lack one or more
off these essential amino acids are called incomplete proteins.
Foods high in incomplete proteins include nuts, grains, and
dried beans and other legumes. Foods that, if eaten together,
supply all the amino acids are called complementary proteins.
For example, cornmeal tortillas topped with chili beans supply
complete protein, because the corn supplies the amino acids
lacking in the beans. Bean and rice are another example of
Vitamins are present in foods
in extremely small quantities, but they are essential for
regulating body functions. Unlike proteins, fats, and
carbohydrates, they supply no energy, but some of them must be
present in order for energy to be utilized in the body. Also,
lack of certain vitamins caused deficiency diseases.
Vitamins are classified as
water soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins (the B
vitamins and vitamin C) are not store in the body and must be
eaten every day. Foods containing these vitamins should be
handled so that vitamins are not dissolved into the cooking
water and lost.
Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E,
and K) can be store in the body, so they do not need to be eaten
every day, as long as the total amount eaten over a period of
time is sufficient.
Minerals, like vitamins, are
also consumed in very small quantities and are essential for
regulating certain body processes. The most important minerals
in the diet are calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, iodine,
sodium, and potassium.
Sodium, a component of table
salt, is somewhat of a health problem, not because we don�t
get enough of it, but because many people get too much. Too much
sodium is thought to contribute to high blood pressure. Health
authorities are trying to convince people to reduce the sodium
in their diets, primarily by salting foods less.
The Balanced Diet
In order to stay healthy, you
must consume a varied diet that contains all the essential
nutrients. In addition, you must limit our intake of foods that
can be harmful in large quantities. Although researchers still
have much to learn about nutrition and your knowledge is
constantly changing, there is some strong evidence about what
good eating patterns are. According to federal health agencies,
the following guidelines are suggested for maintaining a
healthful diet. It should be noted that these are only general
recommendations for people who are already healthy and want to
stay that way. They are not necessarily for those who need
special diets because of disease or other abnormal conditions.
1. Eat a variety of foods to
get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need
for good health.
2. Balance the food you eat
with physical activity - maintain or improve your weight to
reduce you chances of having high blood pressure, heart disease,
a stroke, certain cancers, and the most common kind of diabetes.
3. Choose a diet with plenty of
grain products, vegetables, and fruits which provide needed
vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, and can
help you lower your intake of fat.
4. Choose a diet low in fat,
saturated fat, and cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart
attack and certain types of cancer and to help you maintain a
5. Choose a diet moderate in
sugars. A diet with lots of sugars has too many calories and too
few nutrients for most people and can contribute to tooth decay.
6. Choose a diet moderate in
salt and sodium to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
7. If you drink alcoholic
beverages, do so in moderation. Alcoholic beverages supply
calories, but little or no nutrients. Drinking alcohol is also
the cause of many health problems and accidents and can lead to
A Closer Look at Fat and Added
As you can see, fat and sugars
are concentrated in foods from the Pyramid tip - fats, oils, and
sweets. These foods supply calories, with little or no vitamins
and minerals. By using these foods sparingly, you can have a
diet that supplies needed vitamins and minerals without excess
Some fat or sugar symbols are
shown in the food groups. That's to remind you that some food
choices in these food groups can also be high in fat or added
sugars. When choosing foods for a healthful diet, consider that
fat and added sugars in your choices from the food groups, as
well as the fats, oils, and sweets from the Pyramid tip.
In general, foods that come
from animals (milk and meat groups) are naturally higher in fat
than foods that come from plants. But there are many low fat
dairy and lean meat choices available, and these foods can be
prepared in ways that lower fat.
Fruits, vegetables, and grain
products are naturally low in fat. But many popular items are
prepared with fat, like french-fried potatoes, or croissants,
making them higher fat choices.
Fruits, vegetables, and grain
products are naturally low in fat. But many popular items are
prepared with fat, like french-fried potatoes, or croissants,
making them higher fat choices.
These symbols represent sugars
added to foods in processing or at the table, not the sugars
found naturally in fruits and milk. It's the added sugars that
provide calories with few vitamins and minerals.
Most of the added sugars in the
typical American diet come from foods in the Pyramid tip - soft
drinks, candy, jams, jellies, syrups, and table sugar we add to
foods like coffee or cereal.
Added sugars in the food groups
come from foods such as ice cream, sweetened yogurt, chocolate
milk, canned or frozen fruit with heavy syrup, an sweetened
bakery products like cakes and cookies. The chart on page 16
shows you the amounts of added sugars in some popular foods. You
may be surprised!
Fat and Sugar Tips:
Choose lower fat foods from the
food groups most often.
Go easy on fats and sugars
added to foods in cooking or at the table - butter, margarine,
gravy, salad dressing, sugar, and jelly.
Choose fewer foods that are
high in sugars - candy, sweet desserts, and soft drinks.
I�ve scratched the surface on
nutrition. Don�t jump on the band wagon of each new nutrition
theory. For the most part, stay with the old tried and true
theories. What is good or bad comes and goes like the west wind.
The best example is cholesterol. At first, all cholesterol was
bad. Then a few years later, experts claim, now you have the
good and the bad cholesterol. Or, simply, eggs were good, then
eggs became bad, then maybe we were wrong, well because it
contains good cholesterol its OK to eat eggs in moderation.
I�ve gone over what to look
for in a menu plan. The next step is to make a weekly planner
that includes important information, that when we sit down and
plan we have all the important information to make your planner
simple and easy.
Go to Step 4.
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