When planning a meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or party refreshments, the
menu will entail a variety of important features, such as:
1. Nutritional requirements - follow the Canada Food Guide's four Food Groups.
2. How the meal fits with the days eating patterns – choose different foods for
the main meal of the day than you would for a light lunch or supper.
3. Who will be eating the meal – family members or guests - consider
their likes and dislikes, how many will be attending and if any are on special
diets such as vegetarian, low fat, diabetic, allergies, etc.
4. Your resources –
a) Amount of money available - food budgets differ from family to family,
but in all families it should be spent to obtain maximum nutritional quality
and appetite appeal. Do this by making a shopping list and sticking to it:
follow sales at the supermarkets and utilize coupons.
b) Foods available in kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator - purchase only
those you do not have, or need more of.
c) Forms of food available - fresh, canned, frozen, preserved - which
is easiest to purchase and prepare?; which is most economical?; Is it in
season?; Which form supplies the best nutritive value?
d) Time required - to purchase the ingredients and prepare the meal in
order to be served at a specific time. Make a schedule of when each
product or stage of the recipe should begin to be cooked.
e) Preparation skills - does the recipe require any special skills or
techniques of preparation? Is the method easy to follow?
**Plans for good meal management are simple, complete, flexible and workable!
A menu is a List of the foods served at a meal. When writing a menu, remember
these simple rules:
1. always balance the menu's appearance
2. write the names of the dishes in the order they will be served.
3. capitalize the first letters of the names of the dishes.
4. if a dish is unaccompanied write it in the center of the line.
if one dish accompanies another, space them evenly on the same line
5. write the beverage last.
PLANNING MEALS FOR VARIETY AND ATTRACTIVENESS
Variety is important in meal planning because it avoids monotony and secures good
nutrition. Variety can be achieved by:
1. Varying the meal patterns - by preparing the menus for the week, patterns can
be identified and varied. For example:
Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
salad salad salad soup salad
entree entree entree entree entree
coffee/tea milk milk milk milk
2. Varying the kinds of foods in the menu - choose a different
kind of food from the same Food Group. For example:
Breakfast - Fruit - cantaloupe, honeydew, fruit cup, orange
Main dish - poached eggs, pancakes, hot syrups
Bread - toast, Danish, croissant
Beverage - milk, orange juice, apple juice
3. Varying the method of preparation to utilize preparation techniques and
seasonal foods. For example:
Apple Season – raw apple cobbler
(seasonal apple sauce apple salad
fall food) baked stewed
Ground Beef - pan fried broiled
(cookery baked casseroles
4. Varying the manner of serving foods - present meals on:
(i) serving dishes - at the table to be passed, at a buffet table.
(ii) individual plates - from the kitchen or served at the table by a family
member or waiter.
5. Varying the flavours - blend taste and aroma by stimulating taste buds with
combinations of: sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness
6. Attractiveness is also important because it stimulates the appetite by having
"eye appeal". You eat with your eyes first.
7. Temperature contrasts – remember to serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Attractiveness can be achieved in combination with variety by:
1. Color combinations -
avoid: colour repetition
lack of colour foods
colours which clash
* use a garnish to enhance meal presentation.
2. Shapes and sizes of foods - avoid the monotony of similar shapes and sizes;
contrast. For example:
pork chops peas mashed potatoes
3. Textures of foods - contrast the basic food textures of:
crispness, softness, hardness, tenderness
4. Serving food for attractiveness - food should be neatly arranged on the serving
or individual dishes, appropriately garnished and served at a nicely set table.