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how do you do it?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
i come here all the time reading the posts for inspiration and then make my menu and stick to it for a few days and wap like that i lose it and we go out to eat again and again. we homeschool and have "social" activities up the yang and it seems i can't get my act together on meal planning. i think if i did my life would be so much easier. can someone give me a little help? i have a crockpot and cupboard's full of food (it seems i also have a little problem with overstocking the cupboards from our buying club!) i don't have much time to cook during the day with 4 little ones and it seems all are sooooo picky! where do i begin?
post #2 of 7
I don't do much meal planning myself but maybe these tips are helpful nontheless:
you say they are picky: what are foods they have eaten in the past? hopefully you'll get a couple of meals that your family has liked and can regard these as your basics.
it would ge more planning work but maybe make 2 meal plans at once, one with fast, easy meals and one with more elaborate ones. that way you can quickly change the plan if a play date etc comes up.
or you can switch the thursday meal to tuesday, etc, you'd need simple and longish meals then in one plan.
also, really check what you have in your pantry. you probably will only need fresh produce to go with several foods in your pantry. you could also buy frozen produce for an even quicker "fix" on some days

hope that helps a little
post #3 of 7
Perhaps instead of having a set menu, you could make a folder with meals you can make easily and quickly and which everyone likes. Every time you make a meal that fits those criterion, add it to the folder. You could go further and keep on hand things to make, say, 5 meals and always have the supplies to make those meals. You dont have to think about what to make and you know everyone will eat it.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
i love these ideas. i'm thinking one sheet with 2 meals that are made together kept in a folder. we have alot of food on hand and pick up fresh stuff at the farmers market on sat.
post #5 of 7
We have a 30 minute rule. If it can't be prepared start-to-finish in 30 minutes it doesn't get cooked on a weeknight. It's more like a natural law - like gravity, than a rule. So, we plan around that because we find if the meal is too involved that's when we end up eating out or having eggs again.
It's just being realistic.
post #6 of 7

Keep it realistic. Keep it really SIMPLE, if you're new to cooking or just don't like cooking. And absolutely, positively make sure you've got all the ingredients you need. Otherwise, you've got an easy excuse. Find at least two "fall back" meals that are decently nutritious, incredibly fast and easy, and don't require fresh/unusual ingredients. Oh, and that your family likes. That way, if dinner fails, or planning fails, or you're just really tired... you don't have to go out. You've got an easy Plan B.
post #7 of 7
Like a previous poster mentioned, we have certain ingredients on hand so I know that on any day I can throw XYZ into the crockpot and have a meal when we get home. I don't have to think about it because the ingredients are always in the pantry. I stock up on them in bulk. Like for example, canned black beans and a jar of salsa = black bean soup. Chicken + salsa = chicken fajitas. A bag of dry lentils and some water could be lentil soup. Or put dry rice, water, and a can of diced tomatoes on the stove and have a nice rice side dish for whatever meat is in the crock pot.

Also I have planned for a month in advance but I don't assign each meal to a particular day, so it could be switched up if need be.
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