streamlining meal planning. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-07-2008, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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how do you meal plan? do you have theme nights? do you base your meals on sales? what's in the freezer?

and then how do you shop? once a week?

i know there's a big thread and i've read it and it' great.......i'm just needing some fresh stuff, or at least a thread that is not so intimidating .

thanks!
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#2 of 11 Old 09-08-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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I usually shop the sale ads and stock up. We have freezers full of meat so I rarely buy that. Then I just plan off of what is in the house. I shop once a week, since our sales run every week.
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#3 of 11 Old 09-08-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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I pretty much do the same as the PP, I plan according to what is on sale and what we have. I now mostly just buy to fill in the gaps and plan accordingly. I was really meal planning hard there for awhile, but the summer threw me off. I now just kinda have a rough idea of what I'll make and assign days when I think it's appropriate. Tonight is going to be chicken soup because I am sick.

I have been doing some seasonal planning because of the bounty of veggies, but that soon will end. I stock up on meats when they are on sale, and pretty much everything. My pantries are full right now, but we are going into our "hard" month which is October so I have a stocked house.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#4 of 11 Old 09-08-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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I plan with the bounty while at farmer's market, knowing that I'll have a pantry-emptying dish and a freezer-thinning dish at some point in the week. I fill in the blanks from there. My planning has become less formal in the past few weeks, as my ability to drop by the grocery store has gotten easier-- I can get there, shop, and get home with DD from school in about 20 min. so I'm relying on picking up an item or two several days per week. Today my bill there was $18 to fill in with pasta and a few bulk goods that I just can't buy locally. I don't shop sales, unless it's from my health food store, b/c I don't read the ads. All of our animal protein comes from a local farmer, fish excepted, and my freezer is full of that. Plus, all of my meal planning has been for double recently, since I am freezing for post partum eating.
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#5 of 11 Old 09-15-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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Right now I have one night a week (used to be Sunday, but we were out of town so I'm doing it today) where I plan a meal for each night based on what I could find at the Farmer's Market, what's on sale at the local HF store that has a sale flyer online, and what I have on hand that I need to use up. I make a store list organized by produce, meat/seafood, baking/cooking needs, Bulk, Frozen and Other just because that's how I go through my hf store. But soon we'll be getting our meat and produce through co-ops so I am about to have to re-configure my whole meal planning approach because of when the deliveries are made, minimum orders, etc.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-15-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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Well I've just decided I need to meal plan again. I made a plan for the next two weeks. I decided to give each day a theme, so it's not too much of the same. A while back my husband complained that all we were eating was soup, so I figured I need to try to mix it up a bit better. So I decided to plan for 5 meals a week and assume we might eat out or have take out two nights a week or we could pull out something from the freezer if money feels tight. So these are my themes:

Sunday: traditional american -- could be roast chicken, pot roast, meatloaf, pork chop or any meat and potatoes kind of fare
Monday: is casserole, crockpot or 1-pot type meals
Tuesday: vegetarian or meat as a garnish -- rice and beans, lentils, etc.
Wednesday: ethnic food -- ex. tacos or burritos, an asian stirfry or curry
Thursday: soups or stews

Friday and Saturday we usually eat out or visit with family and friends so I've left those open

I wanted a plan that was not too specific so that we could fit in all the different types of food we like to eat, but that still gave me a guideline so I'm not overwhelmed. So far i think I like this one.

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#7 of 11 Old 09-15-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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I find that having a plan and shopping once a week (with maybe a little fill-in from other stores or for fresh produce/dairy) makes my life SO much less stressful.

Last night I made a stack of index cards, each with the name of a dish the majority of the family really likes. I also wrote down specific items I would need for the recipe (leaving out my staples I always have on hand like flour, spices etc). This way I can throw a new dinner in occasionally, while still making dishes I know are easy for me and well-received.

If I get really involved in this I may color code them for "quick" (football nights) or "chicken", "beef" etc.

Lucy
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#8 of 11 Old 09-15-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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we plan by the day too

monday - soup or stew or chili or something like that - a one pot meal... (in the summer I try to do a salad for this night)

tuesday - some kind of beef or lamb dish

wednesday - pasta or pizza

thursday - ethnic and quick since my kids have Hebrew school this night. Favorites are falafel or nachos

Friday - chicken.

saturday - fish

sunday - breakfast for dinner.

those are super broad so I try to fill the menu by shopping the sales and seeing what the kids want and would like to have again.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#9 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i've been having a time with this. it helps to plan, but it's hard to stick with it because i've always got alot of leftovers, or i incorporate too many bean dishes and we need a break, or i hae something that needs to be used before something else can be made. i guess at least i'm putting thought into it. it seems to be quite the learning process, one tha seems i've been working on for too long (years). i just wish it weren't so frustrating, because it seems so easy for some of you. if it came to me that easy, i might actually enjoy it. ugggggggh.

i do appreciate the imput you all have made, just haven't found the concept that jumps out at me and say's that's it, that's the right fit for me. .
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#10 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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a lot of my leftovers go straight in the freezer

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#11 of 11 Old 09-18-2008, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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that's what i've done too...........now I'm staring at MORE beans. I'm preggo and they are really hurting me this time around. I have butter beans, black beans, and kidney. But I guess eventually i will want them again.

thanks and sorry I'm being so pessimistic.
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