Hola from my corner of the internet! I haven’t been very enthusiastic about menu planning for a few weeks but I’m back on the bandwagon now!

Last week after chatting online with a bloggy friend, I was encouraged to try a little experiment of sorts and cut MSG from my diet (as much as possible, that is.)

MSG (extracted from naturally occurring sources, processed, and added to other foods as a flavor enhancer) doesn’t bother everybody, but for those it bothers it can cause (among other things) headaches, fatigue and weight gain.

It’s amazing how many foods contain MSG! It would be nearly impossible to cut it out completely. Much like (several years ago) when I cut back on trans fats – back before things were being labeled for it. It’s nearly impossible to cut either of those out completely, but you can cut it out mostly.

You will find MSG in almost any kind of powdered seasoning packet (bouillons, soup mixes, and things that come with seasoning packets like ramen noodles and hamburger helper), other sauces like ranch dressing and powdered gravy mix, and anything seasoned with powdered cheese like cheetos and cheezits. Not to mention, my favorite chip of all time, *sniff*, the ranch dorito. *sniff.* Also, a big offender: taco seasoning. MSG was the second ingredient listed – ouch!

MSG also occurs naturally in a lot of foods such as soy, parmesan, beets, yeast, and overripe tomatoes. Personally, I’m not so concerned about limiting the healthy sources which naturally contain MSG. My main focus is cutting out the processed, packaged and prepared forms. Which honestly, isn’t it usually better to cut out processed, packaged and prepared foods anyway?

Reading the label can be a bit tricky. Of course you may find monosodium glutamate or MSG, but there are other things to look for as well: check out this list:

These ALWAYS contain MSG
Glutamate Glutamic acid Gelatin
Monosodium glutamate Calcium caseinate Textured protein
Monopotassium glutamate Sodium caseinate Yeast nutrient
Yeast extract Yeast food Autolyzed yeast
Hydrolyzed protein
(any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed corn gluten Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing
Carrageenan Maltodextrin Malt extract
Natural pork flavoring Citric acid Malt flavoring
Bouillon and Broth Natural chicken flavoring Soy protein isolate
Natural beef flavoring Ultra-pasteurized Soy sauce

(This list has been truncated. Click here for more foods that often contain MSG or create MSG during processing.)

The funny thing about MSG, unlike other foods or items you may research where there are two sides to the story – the few arguments I found for MSG were limited to an occasional comment on a discussion board and a couple of articles written by MSG manufacturers themselves. Other than being a flavor enhancer (and like I need more encouragement to eat more food – ha!) I haven’t found any health benefit to adding it to food, and no inhibition for cutting it out of my diet. (I’ll link to a good list of articles at the end of the post.) So here’s my menu for the upcoming week, tweaked as much as I could for this week to avoid MSG. I’m still learning about what’s what and deciding what I want to cut and what I want to keep. Note: I’ve being buying bottled water lately, so my family has switched to drinking water throughout the day almost exclusively! Who knew all it would take was having bottles of water in the fridge!! (Now I REALLY need to find out about taking recyclables to our local dump for recycling!!)


  • Breakfast – Frosted Mini Wheats, 2% milk, green grapes, coffee
  • Lunch – Quesadillas: Taco meat (self seasoned), shredded cheese, refried beans, sour cream, salsa,
  • Snack – Homemade Raisin Granola Bars
  • Supper – Supper at BK for a bday party – fast food is a HUGE source of MSG. I’m going to have to research the menu before I go..


  • Breakfast – French Toast, 2% milk, green grapes, coffee
  • Lunch – Turkey Sandwiches (with msg-free lunchmeat), regular potato chips, carrot sticks
  • Snack – Homemade banana nut bread
  • Supper – Meatloaf, corn on the cob, Pork N Beans (haven’t checked the label yet but it’s in the pantry already), bread


  • Breakfast – Oatmeal with raisins, 2% milk, coffee
  • Lunch – Fried Egg Sandwiches, regular potato chips (are MSG free!), orange wedges
  • Snack – peanut butter, msg-free crackers (a store brand version of Ritz)
  • Supper – Pork Chops, Steamed Squash & Broccoli, Ranch Beans, Bread


  • Breakfast – Cereal, 2% milk, pears, coffee
  • Lunch – Turkey sandwiches, regular potato chips,
  • Snack – Fruit cocktail and jello
  • Supper – Homemade pizza (I haven’t checked the pepperoni for MSG yet, I already threw away the outer packaging. But we’ll check next time. I don’t eat the pepperoni anyway! 😛 )

(Sometime before this point I’ll have to go grocery shopping. Everything up til now is already in my pantry…)


  • Breakfast – Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Biscuits, Gravy (for hubby), Orange Juice, Coffee
  • Lunch –
  • Snack – fruit cocktail and jello leftovers
  • Supper – Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad, Bread

Saturday: (we’ll be at rehearsals all day)

  • Breakfast – cereal, fruit, milk, coffee
  • Lunch – sandwich stuff, potato chips, string cheese, grapes
  • Snack – various snackages will be available for throughout the day, as well as a ton of water and gatorade. I’ll just have to check the labels while I’m shopping.
  • Supper – probably more of the same, I don’t want to go eat out.


  • Breakfast – cereal, fruit, milk coffee
  • Lunch – Beef enchiladas (with self-seasoned meat), salad
  • Snack – We’ll probably have leftover snackage from the day before so we’ll eat that.
  • Supper – Breakfast for Dinner: pancakes, turkey bacon, fruit, etc

Okay, so that’s the plan. Here’s some informative articles about MSG:

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I’m An Organizing Junkie!

P.S. I am done messing with the formatting. I do not know why today it won’t work right. GRRR.

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!