Meal Planning Roadblocks - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-25-2009, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I've always planned meals without really thinking about, I guess because I saw my parents doing it while I was growing up. I've always just gone one week at a time. I sit down to make my grocery list and on the back of it I plan the week's meals, that way I know what to write on the grocery list and I don't forget anything I'm going to need through out the week. Occasionally I'll have to pick up milk or something in the middle of the week, but that's it.

Lately it just is not going well at all and I'm wondering what's the point.

I live amongst the pickiest eaters you could ever meet. It was bad enough when it was just my older DSs and me, but almost five years ago I got remarried and my family size almost doubled. And they are ALL picky. I guess I've gotten pickier myself, in the sense that I've become a lot more health conscious in the last few years.

So just coming up with a meal that everybody likes is nearly impossible. We have PB&J sandwiches and some less healthy alternatives, like Ramen, they can make themselves if they don't like what I'm cooking. But lately that seems like all they want. Even if I cook something I KNOW somebody likes they say they aren't in the mood for it and would rather just have a sandwich.

Added to that is the fact that my oldest DS now has a parttime job and isn't home for dinner a lot, DSD's bio mom moved back into town and DSD goes over there frequently on the spur of the moment, and the other DS always either wanting to eat at friends' houses or friends here for dinner (Ramen ) . So I don't even always know who to plan on being here for dinner.

I feel like I put so much effort into planning and cooking, and much of it is just going to waste. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to wait until last minute and have DH just run up to the store to pick up something quick and easy for the people that happen to be here. Except I really need to save money right now and I know that doesn't fit!

Sorry this is so rambly... Anybody got any suggestions for me? TIA
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#2 of 6 Old 03-26-2009, 05:56 PM
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both my mama and my mil have expressed frustration with this, and how it takes all of the joy out of cooking.

My mother just stopped buying ramen and kraft dinner etc. So we had to fend for ourselves with "real food." Which meant I was often making myself soup or stirfry or just a fruit salad with yogurt. It definitely cut down on it though because, well... teenagers can be a bit lazy! If the crap food isn't in the house, then just make sure there are easy to prepare foods (fruits and veggies, cheese, meats etc.) and see what happens.

My mil had a whiteboard and she would allow everyone to plan one meal. The catch... they had to help cook it!!! They would sign up for a night tha they wanted a certain meal. This helped her to teach her teens to cook, and eventually they took over one night a week.

Also, what about having fresh veggies cut up with some dip at every meal so that there is SOMETHING that people can nibble on.

HTH a little.

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#3 of 6 Old 03-27-2009, 12:50 AM
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i have a big blended family too, though no teens yet, but altogether we have a baby and a 6, 7, and 8 year old, yikes. with your dsd could you ask her mom when she is going to have her/not have her so you would know what the schedule was? i know you arent asking for blended family advice specifically but i think having a set custody arrangement/schedule really helps the whole family and is especially stabilizing for younger kids.

anyways... i would just not have the not real food in the house. if the kids have jobs they can buy their own junk if they want. i used to do that when i was a teen. my parents never had junk in the house and after maybe a year or two of experimenting with vending machiene food i went back to eating the healthy food i was raised on.

maybe make some things that your kids can eat either with the family or that will still be good cold. i love cold lasagna personally!

i would try and instill a rule/value that everyone must eat some of what is being served, provided its not like eel sushi and they hate sushi or something. i know its hard though with a blended fam to create new rules when the kids have different homes.
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#4 of 6 Old 04-12-2009, 09:03 PM
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Have you tried utilizing your freezer? This would make it easy to have meals already in the freezer and then you could just take one out depending on who would be there to eat it. Soups and casseroles are great this way but you can also have prepared meat in there (ground beef, shredded chicken, ham chunks, etc.) and other meal "parts" to make it quick and easy.

Mama to (DS 7) and (DD 5), wife to DH

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#5 of 6 Old 04-18-2009, 04:08 PM
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both my mama and my mil have expressed frustration with this, and how it takes all of the joy out of cooking.
mine too.

we've been having some challenges in our house lately and have been doing a lot of buffet-style meals so people can pick and choose. i point out to my kids what the proteins/healthy growing foods are and they know they need to take at least one, but other than that we've just been letting things go free choice.
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#6 of 6 Old 04-26-2009, 11:39 PM
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I suggest giving them two options in advance - one is the meal you plan to prepare, and the other is one option (sandwich or ramen) they may prepare for themselves. Have them let you know by ___ in advance whether they want one of your options. If they don't let you know by the deadline, then you don't provide food for them.

Married to C August 2007.  Son Ian born October 2008.  Son Owen born December 2010.  Daughter Naomi born October 2012.

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