Horrible planner - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-12-2006, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi ladies.
I am horrible at planning. Really, really horrible. I also work in retail, which means I have an extremely variable work schedule, and that just overwhelms me trying to plan around.

However, I have come to realize that I can save my family a lot of money by PLANNING MEALS, and actually cooking them.

I went through a phase where I was cooking about 4 days of brown rice at once and keeping it in the fridge, but again, that takes planning.

I guess I should first ask, how do you go about developing the habit of planning? And do any of you work with retail shifts, and if so, how do you work around it?

Any suggestions I could try would be very helpful.
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#2 of 6 Old 04-12-2006, 10:57 PM
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My planning goes like this:

I grocery shop once a week. On that day I sit down with my notebook paper & a coupla cook books. I peruse the books & ask the kids what they're in the mood for this week. On the right hand side of the paper I write down the meal & the page# the recipe's on. On the left side of the paper I write down my grocery list, including of course anything the recipe calls for that I don't have.

Then I shop! Then each day/night when it's time to make a meal, I pull out my list (I keep it folded in the cupboard next to the cook books) & scan the list of meals I chose & pick which one I'm in the mood for.

The biggest trouble I ever have is when I somehow lose my list after I shop! Then I forget what I heck I bought all those ingredients for!!

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#3 of 6 Old 04-12-2006, 11:10 PM
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When I first started doing a meal plan I found it so hard. My mother has about 10 dinners that she would rotate & that's about it. Once I had dd, I really wanted good meals on a regular basis. I came across a book 'Saving Dinner' that does it all for you...a shopping list and all the meals for 8 weeks each season.

She does use a lot of meat, and while she doesn't use processed food, there's a lot more stuff than I usually cook with (like taco seasoning which has a lot of additives in it).

I did it for about a year & it helped me tremendously. Some of the recipes were great, some ok, a few I'd never do again, but overall it gave me a good sense of what to do for meal planning, and I'm sooo much better at it now. I still rely on the book when things are bit crazy & i don't have time to plan & I still use quite a few of the recipes.

IIRC, there's also a website. I'll see if I can dig it up.
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#4 of 6 Old 04-12-2006, 11:13 PM
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Here's the site....

and this part of the site has some free samples of typical menus...

Good luck!
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#5 of 6 Old 04-13-2006, 06:10 PM
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Well, I plan for a week's worth of meals, and I've used 2 different methods. One is kind of like the saving dinner website, where I preplan a bunch of menus and have the shopping lists already done. So basically once I've taken the time to type up all the menus and shopping lists, I don't spend any more time planning or preparing for shopping trips. It's very convenient when I have to work AND take care of the household and I'm short on time.

Then there are times when my husband goes to the store and buys all kinds of random foods, with no idea what to do with them (he can't even cook!) So that's when I use my second planning method, which is to go through the pantry and freezer and try to plan meals around all the random ingredients that are already in there. That takes time though, because I have to go through all the cookbooks, make out the list, keep track of which cookbook and which page the recipe is on, etc. But it keeps food from going to waiste.

Planning for the week in advance helps me with my variable schedule b/c I can think about what kind of week I'm going to have and choose meals that can work around my schedule. Like, quick meals, slow cooker meals, whatever.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#6 of 6 Old 04-26-2006, 12:14 PM
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I plan for six weeks at a time. That way I don't have to do it very often! Then, if I'm going to be away on a day that a lot of food prep would be involved, I just switch that day with another one from that week that is a quick or crock pot meal and it's taken care of. I also freeze a lot of different kinds of meals, so that on days when the kids are just SOOO needy, or I've had a birth and dh is working all day and a grandma is taking care of the kids, or whatever, we can just pull a meal out of the freezer and not worry about it. And it's still usually WHAT was planned, or NEAR what was planned. I have a "theme" for each day of the week. When I get sick of the six or eight of each of the "thematic" meals, (but really, there are at least 28 different meals on the menu at one time), THEN I pull out the cookbooks and mix it up a little. And it's easier, cause I'm not just randomly perusing a cookbook looking for "something good," I'm looking for something in particular, like a new way to cook a whole chicken(or whatever roast we're sick of), or new ideas for breakfast, or new veggie ideas.

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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