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Menu Planning Challenge


Forum: Getting Ready for Baby

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  #1  
February 28th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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This is a 6-week challenge to get us moving on some of the top priorities we have during pregnancy. There will be a weekly check-in thread, so make sure you let us know how you are doing!

Menu Planning Challenge
Have you always wanted to be one of those organized mamas who knew what was for dinner every day? Are you sick and tired of throwing together last minute meals? Are you nervous about when the baby comes and want to be prepared with meal ideas ahead of time? These are all great reasons to start menu planning!

Week 1 - Dinner Entree
The biggest menu dilemma seems to usually be dinner. For this week, we are going to write out our menu for the week so that we know our dinner entree ahead of time. This will also help at the grocery store, because we can plan our entree around what is on sale.

Week 2 - Lunch Variety
Whether you are packing or making a lunch for yourself or the whole house, it's important to put in some variety. Most people already have a general idea of what they will have for lunch on any given day, but in our menu planning challenge we are going to try to add some variety to the same-old, same-old lunches we have every week. Try some new recipes!

Week 3 - Breakfast in Advance
Do you have cereal every day of the week for breakfast? If you'd like to branch out, now is the time! Take a few minutes to plan a breakfast menu for each day. Try to have at least 2 or 3 different meals so that you can try something new - make sure you record how well you liked it and how long it took to prepare.

Week 4 - All Together Now
This week we want to put it all together so that we are planning our breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Sometimes it's easier in the beginning to plan one or two at a time, but now we need to be sure to add side dishes and beverages to know in advance what we need for each meal.

Week 5 - Snacks and Dessert
This week we are adding in tasty snacks and dessert. Remember - just because it's dessert doesn't mean it can't be healthy! Having different snack options can go two ways - it can either work really well for you, or you will hate it. Which way are you going?

Week 6 - Calculate
This week we want to make sure to look over our menu plans and look at the nutritional values of what we are eating. Are our individual meals balanced? Is our eating over the entire day balanced? There are a TON of different ideas out there about what exactly qualifies as balanced nutrition. What idea do you believe?

Victory Lap
We made it! We planned menus for 6 weeks! What were your favorite finds? What did you think you would like but you didn't? Are you going to continue menu planning?
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  #2  
February 28th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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I like this. BUT if you are like me, having slightly older kids sometimes throws a monkey wrench in the menu :/
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  #3  
February 28th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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It's all part of the challenge My DH and DS are both incredibly picky, so I have a small list of menus to start with - the good part is if I can find something they BOTH like, or that will keep well to reheat for DH when he gets home, then I win double!
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  #4  
February 28th, 2011, 12:05 PM
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I was thinking more about this...

I think I'll have them help me plan it out week by week. so I'll let them take turns picking the main dish, veggie and fruit, that might make it easier, and everyone is bound to get something they like.
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  #5  
February 28th, 2011, 12:26 PM
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I bet they would love to do it too! One of my requirements is that Dalton has to be able to either make or help to make the meals. He LOVES cooking and his favorite foods are ones that he can make or help make (sandwiches, scrambled eggs, french toast - he calls it Mommy Toast ), so I'm trying to branch him out into new foods. You might have certains days too - like L gets a day of her favorites and C gets a day of hers, and you get a day of yours. That way you can say you might not like what we're having today, but your favorite is on Tuesday or whatever.
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  #6  
April 18th, 2011, 05:52 AM
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I actually basicly do the menu planning everyday. I figure out whats on my general cooking meun for the week and shop according to: whats in my pantry/freezer, whats on sale, what I have coupons for and what sounds good.

Every morning before work I measure out and fill my lunch bag with everything I had planned to eat. When I finish with dinner I put my lunch leftovers in correct sized containers and easily available for packing tomorrows lunch.

Once baby comes I go back to a much tighter regime of cataloging EVERYHING I eat (by weight) for calorie tracking. I started doing this about a year ago in order to lose weight. I had to keep a very tight control on my eating, and that meant re-evaluating my shopping and menu planning. I had to lighten up my control during pregnancy since morning sickness is still kicking my butt at times.
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  #7  
April 18th, 2011, 06:04 AM
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I need to get a better handle on packing lunches... I just don't pack enough or pack too much, and then I hate what I do pack I'm a lunch mess!

I did the same pre-pregnancy for weight loss. It worked great! It was just when food started to make me feel sick that I stopped paying as close of attention. I still follow a pregnancy diet (Dr. Brewer's), but don't keep track of the calories.
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  #8  
April 18th, 2011, 06:28 AM
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This is just what I needed! I meant to do some planning over the weekend, but didn't Now I have a good motivation!
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  #9  
April 18th, 2011, 06:54 AM
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I was pretty rigorous with my calorie counting. But in learning about serving sizes and portion control, I learned that generally the less processing the food goes through the lower in calories (and higher in all the good stuff) the food is and the more of it I could eat. So I started eating less grains/processed foods and focused more on simplistic meals (meat with a light sauce and a veggie) and fruit/veggies for snacks.

As far as buying lunches... I did a little cost analysis (can you tell what my profession involves? =) ) and determined that I was spending WAY too much on food at work. $6-7 for lunch = too much on my very tight budgets. So I just pack leftovers. I also make sure to bring about 5-6 snacks (not intedning to eat them all). I did see the amount of money I spend at work go down a lot with this. And I already tightly control my grocery budget. So I just end up with more spending money/saving money.
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Last edited by hkystar; April 18th, 2011 at 06:56 AM.
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  #10  
April 18th, 2011, 08:37 AM
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My problem with lunches is more that it takes too much time to pack in the morning I would rather be sleeping!

I pack my lunch & hubby's too usually, but I forgot his today. Oops...

We generally steer clear of processed foods. I can and freeze fruits & veggies during the summer/fall so we generally have a good stock through winter, although sometimes I guess wrong. I also do most of our own baking, so the processed foods left are pretty slim. Except I'm addicted to grilled cheese sandwiches. I do not even want to think about what's in cheese slices
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  #11  
April 19th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Scratch my last post! I just realized this thread has nothing to do with food its baby stuff! I need to get food out ofmy head!
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  #12  
April 19th, 2011, 10:55 AM
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I'm confused... we are talking about food here...
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  #13  
April 25th, 2011, 01:43 PM
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I need to work on this still... maybe that should be my goal for next week after this weeks goal of still cleaing out the crib
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  #14  
April 26th, 2011, 04:53 AM
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You didn't clean out that crib yet? Sheesh! I'm so far ahead of you

I'd have a goal for this week, but instead I'm going to sleep.
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