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Meal Planning


Forum: Housekeeping, Home Decor, and Organization

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  #1  
March 16th, 2012, 07:26 AM
babyloves2dance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Do you plan your meals?
How far out do you plan them?

I don't plan my meals, but would love to start! I just don't know where or how to get started or even how well it will work for us where DH is a farmer/rancher and his schedule is always kind of last minute. I would love some how to's and tips for meal planning if you would like to share! My biggest question about meal planning is...What do you do if you have a meal planned but things change last minute and you aren't able to fix the meal? Do you just push it back to a later day?

I would definitely love to know more about this, so please share!
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  #2  
March 16th, 2012, 09:16 AM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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I meal plan. I do it in week intervals because frankly it doesn't hold my interest long enough to be able to do longer. That and we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and the produce we get doesn't really keep longer than a week, so a trip to the store is needed on a weekly basis anyway.

The only real criteria I have is a) meals are balanced (and there is an exception here and there, of course, if we're craving something like home made pizza for example) and b) I like to aim for 2 meat free meals per week.

I keep rice, beans, quinoa, barley, flour, etc. and all the other basics (vinegars, oils, onion, garlic) on hand at all times. We buy meat in larger quantities and I butcher and/or portion it, date it and freeze it (thank you culinary school and restaurant experience), so we usually have a supply of meat on hand too. Basically, we buy pork and ground beef every 5-6 weeks, and chicken every 2-3. I make chicken stock out of the bones after I'm finished butchering too, so that's usually something I have around. That gives me a good head start because I can map out some pretty easy meals based on what we have alone.

I go onto my grocery store's website on grocery day and see what's on sale, especially in the produce section. That will determine my vegetable sides as well as some of the meat free stuff - for example, when tomatoes are on sale I'll map in a tomato soup somewhere.

Other than that, I just try to work in some variety and voila. Some days it's easy and some days I do struggle for ideas, but overall I find it helps me be more prepared and the way we shop saves us a lot of money.

I've only had to change my plans a couple of times. Once was when dh and I were invited out to dinner after I had planned meals and the other was a weekend when dh and I just wanted to relax and I didn't want to make what I had planned so we ordered pizza. In both of those cases I just pushed everything back a day and it was fine.
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  #3  
March 16th, 2012, 11:42 AM
christianmommato3's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I do a weekly menu plan. I need to go to the grocery every week for produce, fresh, and frozen things.... I purchase meat twice a month at Costco...
Sometimes my meals get switched around on the nights. So we just work around our schedule. As long as you know the meals you are planning and have the supplies, it is not hard to make meals at home and make them quick
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  #4  
March 18th, 2012, 04:38 PM
babyloves2dance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thanks for all the info! I really appreciate it! This is definitely something I would like to start doing as there have been a lot of times lately that I just didn't know what to fix or didn't have the ingredients I needed on hand to make whatever it was I wanted to make.
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  #5  
March 27th, 2012, 10:05 AM
babyloves2dance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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How many meals do you plan a day?
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  #6  
March 28th, 2012, 07:31 PM
wefrogy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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no, no meal planning here
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  #7  
March 28th, 2012, 07:40 PM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babyloves2dance View Post
How many meals do you plan a day?
When it's just dh and I here I only plan dinners. He's either at work in the mornings and I just grab cereal or something small for breakfast, and on weekends he's not a big breakfast eater anyway. Lunch is usually leftovers or sandwiches if they're available.

I map out breakfast and lunch a little more exactly when the kids are going to be with us, but it still isn't in as much detail as dinner.
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  #8  
March 29th, 2012, 11:46 AM
babyloves2dance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Did some more looking on the internet for how to get started. I think I was totally over analyzing everything! Found some really good sites (one that has a great chart for planning meals) - I will post them below for anyone that is interested. Definitely fell more confident about going through with this now!

So many sites showed that they only planned 1 meal a day and then there were others that they planned out all 3 meals which had me kind of stumped. Thanks for breaking down what you do Kayla! It really helps! I think I might start with 1 meal a day (and with our schedule just make it the one that works best for that day) and then 2 on Saturday (breakfast + one other meal).

Here are those sites. I thought all these had some great tips for people who are just getting started with meal planning.:
A Basic Guide to Menu Planning ? Simple Mom
Creating a weekly meal plan | Unclutterer (this one has the meal planning chart)
Menu Planning: Save Time In The Kitchen | Organized Home
Starting a Meal Plan
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  #9  
March 29th, 2012, 12:27 PM
Keakie's Avatar Learning to walk in faith
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I'm glad you found some links that have helped! I have another, if you're interested - I haven't used it but a friend posted it on FB just last week actually, and I peeked to see what the fuss was about it. I don't want to learn a new system right now, but I may use it for some ideas if I'm having a less than creative week.

Meal Planning: Stress Free Meal Planner Creates the Perfect Menu

It's free to register, and it uses your local grocery stores (you can tell it which one) and what's on sale and then meal plans ideas based on that (as well as any other dietary restrictions you want to include). It's kind of what I already do, but it's software so if that's overwhelming for someone I can see why it's really handy.
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  #10  
March 29th, 2012, 02:36 PM
babyloves2dance's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thanks Kayla! Will definitely take a look at it!
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