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Meal planning wtf?

(42 Posts)
Matchstickbox Thu 18-May-17 12:47:34

I know it seems stupid, but how do you meal plan? It's clear we need to but I just don't know where to start.

May I have some tips please?
Thanks.

Clutterbugsmum Thu 18-May-17 14:24:25

It depends on what you eat.

I tend to do

Sunday is a roast, and I will do lots of potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veg so that the meat can be stretched for leftovers on Monday.

Then I will do one meal each of

Mince
Chicken
Vegetarian
Pasta
Fish
and then one quick, easy and cheap dinner - Jacket pots
On Friday I don't cook a 'proper' dinner it will something like Burger and Chips.

I meal plan, because otherwise I end up forgetting to buy all the ingredients I need and/or forgetting to get a vital component out of the freezer.

Each week I sit down and make out a menu for the week - I usually have some idea what's in the freezer, so will include things from there if I can.

Then I write the shopping list, making sure I have all the ingredients for each meal - I check the cupboards and freezer, to see what I have, and put what's missing on the list.

The menu goes up on the fridge, so each day I can see what, if anything, needs to come out of the freezer for the next day.

I do have a list of meals I cook regularly, and that all or most of us in the family like, and sometimes I refer to that, when I am making the menu, but often I just sit and rack my brains to come up with seven different meals!

I try to make sure that there is a balance, over the course of the week - using different main ingredients (beef, chicken, sausages, bacon, fish etc etc), and a balance between really healthy meals, fairly healthy ones and one or two indulgent ones.

It's made a bit harder by the fact that dh works away a lot, so I have to check if he will be at home for tea, and if he is coming back late, I have to plan a meal that he can reheat when he gets home, plus ds2 and ds3 tend not to let me know very far in advance what they are doing, and whether I am catering for them or not.

Groovee Thu 18-May-17 14:38:36

I meal plan main to not waste food and so I know what I am buying.

dementedpixie Thu 18-May-17 14:48:00

We plan on Saturday and decide what We want to eat over the next week e.g. this week it's ribs, curry, steak, risotto, chilli.

Last week it was fajitas, curry, pies, chilli, pasta (curry and chilli are batch cooked in freezer. Always curry on Tuesday!)

Once that's decided you make a shopping list with everything you need

SweetChickadee Thu 18-May-17 14:51:59

Every week I get my cookbook(s) out and choose what we're having, put post it notes on the pages so I don't forget grin, and write a list accordingly

currently working my way through a new Mediterranean cookbook which is fab

TheLegendOfBeans Thu 18-May-17 14:56:47

I meal plan because...

I know what to shop for on a given day

I waste much less food than I used to

I don't fill up on sweeties in moments of desperation

I can monitor how much folate etc I'm eating (am pregnant)

Plus it just gets all the thinking out the way in a one-ner 😀

Fragglez Thu 18-May-17 15:00:36

I think should meal plan to avoid the inevitable what's for dinner / dunno / think there might be a pizza in the freezer convos that happen twice a week... But...

Do you not ever get half way through the day and think "sod it, I REALLY want complicated and exotic meal and nothing else will do?" Cos I do all the time!

AtleastitsnotMonday Thu 18-May-17 22:54:24

I only plan 6 nights out of 7. That leaves a night for unexpectantly eating out, not fancying much and just having beans on toast or something, using up leftovers etc.

elephantoverthehill Thu 18-May-17 22:58:54

A few reserve meals in the store cupboard or freezer or what has a yellow sticker on it at the supermarket.

SSYMONDS Thu 18-May-17 23:07:03

I don't know how you all do it. I spend £150 a week on roughly the same random things, then cobble together meals like roast chicken and salad, omelette and salad and also soup. I am a shit cook and my family variously complain about lack of carbs or predictability. But I don't care because if it was up to them we'd eat oven chips and fishfingers everyday and at least what I give them is fairly nutritious.

NoSquirrels Thu 18-May-17 23:22:26

When I'm in the zone, and do it, the world is a better place not at the moment

Stops the pizza/fishfingers/waffles/beans on toast issue, which is all the DC will be fed if I leave DH to it because I have got the hump with feeding everyone

I start with:

Who is where each day? - can we feed everyone one meal around the table together, or are the DC eating separately to DH and I, who is at an activity that makes prep time short etc.

How long will it take to cook?

Will it keep for another day? if we can't be arsed and have fishfingers again

chicaguapa Thu 18-May-17 23:36:23

Start off by making a list of the meals you regularly eat.
Separate them into groups, such as chicken/beef/veggie or pasta/mash/ rice/ chips.
Then pick one from each group for each day of the week to get a good balance of types of carbs/ sides and meats.

Like a PP we also only plan 6 meals a week and have a leftovers day.

As you get better at it, you can start trying to introduce a new recipe once every couple of weeks or so to expand your repertoire.

I use Pepperplate for meal planning and copy and paste my recipes into there.

MrsTwiddles Fri 19-May-17 09:06:33

I look at it rather than an extra job to do It's not really very different to making a shopping list. How do you decide what to buy at the moment? I think it's easiest to meal plan at the same time as doing your list, just list it out as what you need per day to cook enough meals for everyone. Use recipe books if you run out of inspiration. And do t feel like you have to eat fish pie on Tuesday because you planned it - it just means you know what options you have in the fridge/freezer to work from!

lalalemon Fri 19-May-17 09:14:25

I have a notebook for menu and shopping list.
I write my menu for the week on one side of a double page spread and the shopping list on the other smile
I don't plan for specific nights though, I just plan 5-6 meals for over the week.

That way I can see easily what sort of meals I need so for example, if I'm doing something with peppers and I'm going to buy a multipack, I can plan another meal with peppers so they don't get wasted etc.

SSYMONDS Sat 20-May-17 07:12:59

Honestly, I find this thread fascinating and alienating in equal measure. It's so far away from what I manage. I just go online, tick some stuff I think we want, then look in the fridge and wonder what to make with it. Your families are all so lucky to have someone to make great meals from recipe books and attempt to vary the meals.

CrowRoad Sat 20-May-17 07:31:34

I sit down with recipe books and Pinterest only once a month and make a list of recipes to try. I then write out the whole months meals with a couple of new recipes a week mixed in with our favourites.

Then it's all ready for me to make my shopping list at the start of the week.

When I started weekly planning, it saved so much angst and waste but i found it came round too often. Once a month suits me much better and I can plan a whole month with no repeats!

I find I try out more of a variety of side dishes too.

SSYMONDS Sat 20-May-17 23:40:10

When I grow up I want to be like this.

toffeeboffin Sat 20-May-17 23:47:53

See I want to meal plan but it somehow belies me.

I go to the supermarket, pick stuff that's on special take it home and then decide what to have with it.

I check the fridge, pantry etc and sometimes try and base a meal around a random thing I bought I. E. Pearl barley, artichokes.

We do have a rough ish meal plan I suppose, usually have chicken, pork, fish, pizza, burgers, pasta, veggie each week.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Sun 21-May-17 07:07:23

When I do it I do the same, sit down on a Sat or Sun, plan several meals, check cupboards/freezer, make a list, make a shopping list, shop, put menu list on fridge for reference. Leave Friday free for potential takeaway/pizza/easy meal. However ours is very complicated, three fussy eaters, trying to make sure I don't duplicate school dinner choices on the same day and a very hectic evening schedule of extra-curricular activities means it's hard. Some weeks I just sit and stare blankly at the cookbooks/calendar/school dinner menu and give up or I won't have time to shop, those weeks I wing it and it is far less efficient/more pre-prepared food.

OhTheRoses Sun 21-May-17 07:14:42

It's one of those things that gets easier over time. I don't use cookery books anymore I use the back of an envelope.

Frouby Sun 21-May-17 07:26:07

I just sit with a piece of a4 paper at some point on a sunday. Ask dp and dd what they might fancy over the week and go from there.

I write the days of the week in 1 corner and the meals we are having. Then a shopping list on the other side.

Monday is usually jacket spuds and something because we have ds swimming lesson. Wednesday is either something from the freezer or quick chicken curry because dd has her riding lesson.

Tuesday and Thursday is something a bit more time consuming or a new recipe because we have more time. Friday is takeaway night. Saturday and sunday it depends what we have planned. Usually a roast on sunday over winter. Or hm pizza or picky bits in warmer weather. Saturday is dps cook so it depends what he fancies doing.

It's really simple to do and makes life a bit easier.

racheyroo74 Sun 21-May-17 11:02:23

Hello i need help!

Im fed up of planning every meal time for my three children.. It seems to be my problem only,

Its always the same thing and Im running out of ideas. They are all fussy eaters and have in the past ended up cooking 3 different meals (dont judge me!!)

Any new teatime ideas would be grateful

What sort of things do they enjoy, @racheyroo74? If you give us a list, we may be able to suggest some other options.

artycakemaker Mon 22-May-17 12:37:07

i adore meal planning and sit down on a Sunday night after dinner with a cup of tea.

I have the basics sorted- DH prefers veg meals so we have a pure veg meal every second day then the other days I go;'fish; red meat; chicken'.

So this week for example;

Tonight - veg sticks, dips,boiled eggs and pate
Tues - salmon with salad
Wed= grilled halloumi with salad
Thurs - spagetti chicken and pesto
Friday - spinach and paneer with rice and cauliflower potato curry
Saturday - pizza (salamis)
sunday - jacket potatos and grilled med veg

Every week I write at the top of the each day on the calendar; 'veg; fish; veg; chicken; veg' and then work around it. That works for me really well, but it helps that I enjoy it!

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