Cycle Menu Examples

a cycle menu example using a three week cycle it uses food drawings and text to show the difference in the weeks cycle menu rotation light colored with a drawn plant border mixed drinks are the menu example week b food icons
This Cycle Menu Example is a three week rotation, in the forth column you can see it reverts back into column A.

What is a Cycle Menu?

It is one of the many menu types you will find at a food establishment, namely a cafeteria like in a hospital or school. With the cycle menu examples I have prepared for you, understanding this menu type will be a breeze.

Unlike a static menu which never changes, a cycle menu repeats over a specific period of time such as a few weeks or even monthly. When looking at a cycle menu examples you will see that they repeat at a regular intervals in this case I will use a biweekly example.

Ideally the cycle menu examples will show you how they go about repeating, school menus are a great example of a cycle menu.

In the school menu they usually use a month instead of a couple of weeks. You’ll also see the cycle menu in places like hospitals or large work offices.

Cycle menus are good for having a menu that changes regularly, so options feel more varied. Plus, always having the same food items can get boring.

I personally like a varied menu because I go through food stages of what I like. Having options is great it makes it easier for me to find something to eat. Also having a regular changing menu means you are not eating the same thing every day.

Knowing what is planned in a cycle menu allows you to plan ahead, in case you don’t like what is being served on a specific day.

Where my husband works, they have a cafeteria that uses a three-week cycle menu. I pack his lunch on days he doesn’t like what is being served.

Having the knowledge of what is going to be served can give you something to look forward to like pizza Friday or Taco Tuesday.

Good food is great for your mental health as well as for your body.

This image shows two different versions of the cycling menu one is only 7 days where the other is 20 days before starting again this cycle menu example is done in an orangy peach color
This shows the difference between a cycle menu that is only one week vs one that is almost a whole month.

In these two cycle menu examples you will see that one side is only for a week, while the other is more of a menu calendar. They are different but both are good cycle menu examples.

Cafeterias may use an A La Carte menu instead of a cycle menu. A La Carte menus have a price for every individual item instead of a set price for a whole meal. Cycle menus have a few benefits like, being able to buy in bulk and it also reduces your food storage costs since less items will turn to food waste. Food waste is caused by not using your ingredients before they go bad or even over preparing and having to much product in the form of leftovers.

Industrial catering companies embrace the cycle menu, so it is not only in a hospital or cafeteria that this type of menu is being used.

Another great thing about cycle menus is increased efficiency since you will know all the recipes by heart. The cycle menu is good for having a hybrid menu for instance having an A La Carte or Static menu combined with a cycle menu you will end up with one part staying the same and the other changes with each rotation of the time period for that cycle menu.

This menu type is also good for long term menu planning the reason being that you can make your menu or say a whole month of menu planning in one sitting making it easier to have shopping lists for what you specifically need. Using shopping lists reduce the urge to spontaneously by food items that look tasty. It is never a good idea to go food shopping when you are hungry.  

These cycle menu examples are for biweekly and weekly which can be paired with grocery lists for ease of shopping.

I use a cycle menu for when I go camping it makes planning meals so much easier since I am without a full kitchen or running water. Lots of foil pack meals, if you do not know what foil pack meals are check out this post, it has 30 different kinds of foil pack meals.


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