Menu Planning Contest
Many of our customers request sample menus and materials on how to plan a menu. We created a handout this month for a fun checklist of 7 types of healthful meals using beans, pasta, rice, soups, lean protein, fish and soup to help consumers plan better during the week.
Poll employees to encourage them to share their weekly menus and meals that they are preparing. Reward the best menus and meals chosen.
Give them the handout from this issue with the 7 themes to plan menus. Give awards to the best menus and meals based on those themes. Share them with others via email, intranet and newsletters.
It is also a good idea to conduct a menu makeover to find out common mistakes for menus.
Here are more meal ideas for those stuck on menu planning:
- Buffet - cook a few of everyone’s favorite dishes including pasta, salad, lean chicken or seafood, a veggie side dish and baked potato. Have everyone serve themselves from the kitchen. It makes for a fun evening and allows for planned leftovers that can be used over the next couple of days.
- Make your own taco - make sure you use lettuce, tomatoes, corn, onions, beans, rice and lean chicken or fish so there are lots of healthful fixings
- Make your own baked potato - consider baking both sweet potatoes and potatoes and serving with steamed broccoli, salsa, nonfat sour cream, herbs, spices and a large tossed salad. Everyone always appreciates having a choice and leftovers can make a great lunch for the next day
- Make your own pizza - use inexpensive pitas, tortillas or pizza shells and fill them up with pasta sauce, veggies and light cheese
- Bake/roast once and serve two or three times - roast a chicken or lean roast beef once and serve for a few days. Ideas include the roast, sandwiches, soups, pasta, rice and chili so you can use the same meat in healthful dishes over a few days. This helps stretch food dollars and puts the emphasis on more plant-based meals as well.
- Grill night - find a variety of meat, poultry and fish on hand to cook on the grill. Include vegetables, too. Let everyone make their own kabobs!
- Pot luck - this idea works well when you invite family, neighbors and friends over. You can assign a healthful dish like salad, soup, rice, pasta and beans and have fun seeing what everyone brings. This is also a great idea for a diet and exercise support group.
Best examples of cook once, serve twice:
• Roast a chicken. Serve roasted chicken breast the first day along with potatoes and steamed veggies. The next day, pick the chicken and use the leftovers for a stir fry dish with fresh veggies and a little soy sauce over brown rice. Some can even be saved for lunch time sandwiches with plenty of veggies served in a pita pocket.
• Baked fish - serve baked fish for dinner along with rice and salad. The next day the leftover fish can be served in tacos with shredded cabbage, salsa and warm corn tortillas.
• Baked winter squash - roast once along with chicken or fish. Puree with broth and seasonings the next day to make a delicious low-cal soup.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.