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Meal planning

(61 Posts)

I just can't manage to do it. I find it so stressful & time consuming. I want to be able to, that's all. I normally just buy stuff in and muddle through the week.

That was fine until I had DC3. I don't have the time now to choose every day what we have & we have a tighter budget. Plus I'm following Slimming world at the moment. I'm weaning DD too, so that needs to be planned for.

How do you all do it?

dawntigga Fri 08-Nov-13 18:43:35

I'm currently planning a years worth of meals as part of something I'm doing for my blog. I think they are more of a guideline than something to be strictly to adhered to.


Clutterbugsmum Fri 08-Nov-13 18:48:38


Your a better person then me, I can just about manage a month at a time but most of the time it's a week.

dawntigga Wow! shock grin Have some wine

I'm interested in reading that. Would you mind if I had the blog site address please?

dawntigga Sat 09-Nov-13 07:57:37

Ooops, it's only just started and I really didn't mean to plug it!



Clutterbugsmum Sat 09-Nov-13 08:02:07

Perhaps if we list our menu plan dawntigga will help you with some more idea's.

Can I have a pm with it as well when you have finished please.

Weegiemum Sat 09-Nov-13 08:12:53

We don't have set days except pizza on Friday night (mainly due to piano lessons 5-7 pm!). And a "proper dinner" on Sunday, usually slow cooker as Sunday is pretty busy with church etc.

But I meal plan every week and only buy what we need. Every week we'll have a pasta dish, a fish dish and "one of the ones dd1 won't eat" (Mexican, Chinese, curry ...... The list goes on. She makes herself a baked potato or something). Most weeks we'll eat chicken pie one night.

Also allows me to plan lunchboxes for the week.

Before I started this I'd be throwing out too much food. I also have a few dishes in the freezer in case.

ScienceRocks Sat 09-Nov-13 08:27:35

I plan a week or so in advance. This involves sitting down with a couple of recipe books, writing down the days and then working out what is going on that day. Dinners usually slot in according to what I have in the fridge, and I make my shopping list at the same time. So:

Monday - dd1 has swimming so I don't have much time to cook, she and dd2 usually have something quick from the freezer, eg. Bolognaise, ao all I have to do us boil pasta, heat the sauce and grate some cheese. The DDs have packed lunch so I don't like their dinner to be bread based.

DH and I are doing 5:2 and Monday is often a fast day. This dictates dinner choice as it can only be 250cals per person, eg. Harissa chicken breast with bulgur wheat salad.

Tuesday - DH gets home in time for us to have family dinner. I have a bit more time to cook, so it will usually be a casserole or pie that we will all eat, plus a pudding eg. Lamb hot pot with broccoli, followed by apple crumble. Again, the DDs have packed lunch so I avoid bread.

Wednesday - the DDs eat separately to me and DH because dd1 has brownies and needs to eat beforehand. She has school dinners, which is always a roast on Wednesday, so I avoid potatoes. Dd2 will have been at MIL's, who always mKes macaroni cheese so I avoid pasta too. An example dinner is teriyaki salmon with carrots and green beans and steamed jasmine rice,

DH and I eat after he gets home. If we have had meat the previous two nights, I often go for fish, so we might have a fish curry with rice (then may well be some leftover from the DDs).

Thursday - dd2 has swimming so lunch has to be quick, often soup and a sandwich, and dd1 has school dinners which is usually pasta on a Thursday. So potatoes are an option, and they may have jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese, or home made wedges with fish goujons and peas.

It's usually fast day for me and DH, so we might have ratatouille with rye bread, or a veggie stir fry with beansprouts instead of noodles.

Friday is often play date day, so I may give the DDs daal and rice with papadams. Potatoes are a no no because dd1 will have had them for lunch and dd2 may well have had them too. Another common Friday night dinner is home made chicken ramen.

The DDs always have yogurt and fruit after their dinners, plus a cake or biscuit if I have baked. Immediately after school, they get fruit and either toast, biscuits or pain au chocolat.

DH and I have something that takes a while to cook on Friday nights, eg. Roast duck legs with potatoes and salad, that goes with a bottle of wine!

Saturdays - if we aren't away, I may make pancakes for breakfast, do a roast for lunch, then we have a light dinner of wraps.

Sundays are often eggs for breakfast, something made with roast leftovers for lunch (risotto?) then a light dinner again.

Gosh, I have a lot of rules when I menu plan blush

pregnantpause Sat 09-Nov-13 09:03:46

For people who have and use cookery books have you tried It's 16 pound for the year, but it indexes your cookbooks, so you can search ingredients and it will tell you which of your books has recipes with those ingredients. I find it great for meal planning, I can put in what I have (which doesn't stick to plan because I buy whoopsie veg and meat) and I can plan accordingly to what I've got and use my books. It came up with loads of pumpkin recipes for the 30p pumpkins I bought in Nov 1stgrin

pregnantpause I've signed up to the sight, on the free option. It won't find my books. Is coming back as 0 results in the search section. confused

Its ok. I've managed it. My mistake blush

Frontdoorstep Sat 09-Nov-13 18:14:02

I tend to plan for about a month, that saves repeating meals. I do it as a note on my phone. If a good idea pops into my head I add it on to the next blank day.

dawntigga Sun 10-Nov-13 15:10:03

I have 112 days left to go, this is very difficult :D


dawntigga Could we help you? Or you ok?

dawntigga Sun 10-Nov-13 16:55:50

I could do with some help, I've got the usual spag bol/chilli etc and am looking for low cost high taste options. My lot won't eat fishy fish and The Cub thinks pie is poison so that's only on 3 times in a year. The lack of variety in what we eat is depressing.


Corned beef hash, spicy pasta's, stir frys?

Clutterbugsmum Sun 10-Nov-13 17:45:37

What about

Lamb Cobbler
Sweetcorn pancakes and Bacon with tomatoes
Chicken,mushroom and veg mix. - max into pies, over pasta, rice or jacket potato.
Cheesy pasta, Broccoli Bake.
Sausage plait and veg.

pregnantpause Sun 10-Nov-13 17:54:34

Just some from my future and past plans that have.gone.down memorably-
Bean burgers- good food butter bean burgers are good. lentil and chickpea soup? Carrot and potato cakes? Leftover fried rice? Frittata/tortilla? Stuffed peppers? Pearl barley and blue cheese risotto? sage and Swede risotto? Pumpkin or chicken laksa? Mexican lasagne? mince and Rosemary scones? Pork and apricot burgers? Swede and potato pasties? Aubergine parmigiana? Potato pancakes with bacon and egg? Pork belly and chirizo stew? Butter bean and ham hash?

Some great ideas on here dawntigga. How many meals do you have left?

How about pesto pasta with bacon and peas?
Homemade pizza
Stuffed jackets (mash insides with cheese/gammon/spring onions/whatever.
Sausages sliced and threaded onto kebab sticks along with mushrooms. Served with rice salad

I havn't meal planned yet (well I did plan meals around a huge pork joint we have, except when I went to cook it yesterday it was off)
So back to the start.

Steffanoid Mon 11-Nov-13 09:20:57

im on sw now too smile me and my dp meal plan on our way to the supermarket.

tonight light choices sausage, mash and cabbage
tomorrow spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread if I loose at weigh in
wednesday quorn stir fry
thursday homemade kfc and home made chips
friday gammon egg and chips
saturday chilli and rice

TheGatheringDark Tue 12-Nov-13 15:16:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Clutterbugsmum Tue 12-Nov-13 17:19:16


I do something similar. Except I tend to do


Then I look for recipes to fit.

That's a good idea. So many different things you could do. It wouldn't seem like the same thing week after week that way.

Clutterbugsmum Tue 12-Nov-13 18:16:00

That's it because for example leftover also cover drying vegetables that need using.

Pasta and rice could contain meat or vegetarian.##

peanutbutterandbanana Tue 12-Nov-13 19:03:04

Oh goodness, the bane of my life - FEEDING THE FAMILY!

I used to think that people who meal plan were boring dullards, but now I have three children and a job I find that without meal planning life is just too hard!

I write down a basic 5-6 meals (as we always have a roast on Sunday or a bbq in the summer) on the 'notes' app in my iphone. No set day for each meal, I just look at the list the night before and decide which meal I fancy cooking. Like another poster I will mark where the recipe can be found.

Then the following week I start a new meal plan at the top of the list (thus pushing the previous week's plan down). Over time I build up a list and then that gives me inspiration too. I am constantly searching out new and easy recipes that take moments to prepare and am going to start a slow-cooker thread on MN.

If a meal isn't used (something else crops up), then it gets pushed to the following week (I pick one where ingredients won't go off).

My freezer is stocked with meals I've prepared ahead (bolognaise, chilli, shepherd's pie base for example). And I have about five meals 'in my head' with ingredients at the ready for times when I really don't feel like planning.

I find the whole 'meal provider' role such a bore but I do get pleasure from seeing how much the DCs love their grub and the first question DD2 (aged 10) always asks when getting in the car for school run home is "What's for supper".

Off to search for that app now.....

peanutbutterandbanana Exactly how I feel about meal plans.

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