Tuesday is Duster Dance Day. Dust the flat surfaces and polish the furniture in your Area of Focus—your Entry and Dining Room. Don’t forget to put on some fun and lively music. I am going to give my grandson a glove and have him dust the venetian blinds throughout the house.
Your front porch is also part of your Area of Focus—probably no furniture to polish but wipe down any porch furniture.

Write down your purpose and your goal
Write down your purpose and your goal

Do you have a cycle menu? Most food services and many restaurants have a cycle menu. A cycle menu is usually for between 1 to 4 weeks and repeats the menu after each cycle. I like a two week cycle menu. If you plan two weeks of menu you simply repeat that two week menu throughout the season of the year. Four two week cycle menu will take you through the year. You can choose a day to try new recipes and remove meals that fall out of favor and replace them with new favorites. Of course you will have your favorite menus for holidays.
When I started to put together my first cycle menu I made up a favorites questionnaire for each family member including favorite meal, favorite main dish, fruit, vegetable, salad, dessert, beverage. When I prepared the menus I made sure to include each family member’s favorites during the two week cycle. If anyone says a meal is not their favorite I can tell them to try at least three bites of each thing on their plate and a day with their favorite meal will be coming up before too long.
One easy way of planning a two week menu is to put a little extra effort into your meal planning and then simply write your menu on the calendar for two weeks. At the end of two weeks move your menu plan onto a menu form and put the form in a plastic sleeve into your household planning notebook.
You can also make a notebook with the menus and your favorite recipes for the items on your menu. This would be of major value to anyone who had to step into your shoes in an emergency.
You can also create a shopping list to go with each week’s menu and make copies to take with you to the grocery store that week. Cross off any items you have on hand and add household items you need to your list.
To eat the most nutritious meals try to shop the periphery of the store. The periphery is the outer areas of the store—produce, meat case, dairy, bakery/bread. You may have to venture into the aisles for some items like cleaning and laundry products, personal care item, and coffee or tea. BUT try to eat lean meat, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetable. Frozen fruits and vegetables are often flash frozen immediately after harvesting and may have more nutrients than “fresh” food. We tend to indulge, indulge, indulge and occasionally exercise self-control. Instead exercise self-control most of the time and indulge on occasion. Plan your indulgences. Most gatherings and meetings include food. If you believe that there will not be healthy choices available, eat before you go so you will be more able to resist temptation. Keep healthy snacks available. I had a jar of trail mix on my counter when my children were growing up. The trail mix was made of raisins, unsalted sunflower seeds and peanuts. I added some M & M’s to add some interest.
To recap, instead of planning meals for the day or for the week, create a cycle menu. You can choose your favorite meals and repeat them on a two week schedule. Plan 4 seasonal cycle menus and you are set for the year.


2 thoughts on “Tuesday, July 23, 2013—July Challenge—Do You Have A Cycle Menu?

  1. I also use a 14 day recipe rotation! Long ago, I found out that experimental and complicated concoctions were best left for special occasions and breaks from home school. So many home school moms feel completely overwhelmed by meal planning – when it is such an unnecessary burden on top of everything else they are doing. Sticking to the 14 recipes is one of the most freeing tactics to employ.

    1. I do think it was when I was homeschooling years ago that we first used cycle menus. Plan four times–once each season for months of benefits. My husband had worked in food service and explained that the cafeteria he managed that served over 5000 meals a day used a four week cycle menu. Our fourteen favorites was the easiest choice for me.

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