With food security increasingly becoming a national issue, iwe all need to be more mindful and conscious of our consumption, and how we source them. It is also wise to explore alternative options if only to pave for a more sustainable and healthier food habit amidst some food shortages happening here and there. First was the news of the flour and more recently we've heard of the issues on sugar supply.

Enter meal planning. It's simply planning the meals you would serve your family for a specific period of time. It is a habit we can start to develop and maintain as it helps not only in budgeting our resources to feed our family but also in ensuring that we pack a punch in terms of nutrition.

Meal planning also enables homemakers to explore available resources, whether homegrown or otherwise, thereby reducing the ingredients or other raw materials we may need to buy in the process. This is also especially helpful to do before we our grocery shopping to ensure that we use what we have before it expires or goes bad.

Another advantage of meal planning is in the creativity of the dishes that can be made, especially when there are leftovers from last night's dinner, for example.

Not only does it help extend the life of the dish, but in a sense the meal plan itself is extended and therefore savings can be realized in the process. At this point in time, anything that can be saved is a great thing.

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Of course, it is easy to just reheat the leftover dish and serve as is, but if you've got family members who may want to consume it differently, it is then important to be creative in (re)creating dishes from leftovers. This is a great complement to meal planning, and this is the reason why meal plans may be loosely made as we do need to allow space for this kind of possibility.

Here are two recipes you can play around with in terms of making new dishes from leftover meals:

Chicken lettuce wraps give a whole new life to your last night's lechon manok or chicken relleno
Chicken lettuce wraps give a whole new life to your last night's lechon manok or chicken relleno

Chicken in lettuce cups

Leftover: Chicken relleno (or lechon manok or roast chicken)

Procedure: Flake the leftover meat and sautee in garlic and onions. Add some complementary ingredient like mushrooms or vegetables (corn, spinach, etc). Squeeze some lemon or lime and top with your choice of garnish. Season to taste.

Just stock up on corn tortillas and you'll have easy beef tacos whenever there's some leftover kaldereta or beef rendang.
Just stock up on corn tortillas and you'll have easy beef tacos whenever there's some leftover kaldereta or beef rendang.

Beef tacos

Leftover: Beef kaldereta (or braised short ribs or beef rendang)

Procedure: Flake the meat and sauté in garlic. Add a bit of water and tomato paste if the meat is too dry. Squeeze lemon or lime. To assemble, use corn tortillas to lay the meat and garnish with onions, cheese and cilantro

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The author may be reached at [email protected] or follow her at Instagram @kaycalpolugtu and @aplateofbahaykubo.