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Meal Planning... please explain how you do it??

(45 Posts)
bounty007 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:33:50

I cannot seem to get my head around the supposedly simple concept of meal planning...how do you do it?? What am I missing??

YummyHoney Fri 30-Sep-11 19:40:04

You don't cook the same meal twice in one week; at least, that's my understanding of meal planning. Can you be a bit more specific?

bounty007 Fri 30-Sep-11 19:43:33

Weekly menu planning is what I can't seem to do...how do you do it...talk me though the whole process please....confused

PonceyMcPonce Fri 30-Sep-11 19:47:44

what I do is...

look at my diary and see who is home and what committments we have
Identify which meals everybody present will eat
Guauge how much time is available to prepare and eat eg Brownie and rainbow night is usually speedy pasta, mondays are less rushed and tend to be a roast (often using remainder of joint)

I tend to do fish on fridays, not for religious reasons, it just reminds me!

Then I identify what i need to buy to complete the meals and send DH to supermarket

DerbyshireLady Fri 30-Sep-11 19:51:17

I sit down on a wednesday, write out 7 days worth of meals, work out what ingredients I need, if I don't have them, sainsbury deliver them on a thurs. Buy the meat from the farm shop. Always cook from scratch. Get recipe/menu ideas from bbcgoodfood.com. make sure at least 2 meals per week are "easy" so I don't feel like a slave to the kitchen. Good luck!

practicallyimperfect Fri 30-Sep-11 19:51:36

I think of some meals- use recipe book, get some ideas from dh. Then work out what meals have most perishable things and put at beginning of week. Then factor in activities on certain nights.

Then shopping list.

goodasgold Fri 30-Sep-11 19:52:14

Do you not just decide in advance before you go shopping what you are going to eat each day, and then shop and cook accordingly?

Think of five dinners that you would like to eat and will have the time to cook, or make in advance, and stick to it.

Write down what you plan to eat for that week. Then take each meal at a time, check what ingredients you need against what you already have and then add those that you don't have to your shopping list.

Example:

Monday Breakfast: Cereal/toast, fruit juice, tea/coffee etc
Monday Lunch: Mixed veg soup, toast or bread rolls
Monday Supper: Shepherds Pie, peas and sweetcorn

Tuesday Breakfast: Boiled egg and soldiers, drinks etc
Tuesday Lunch: Cheese on toast
Tuesday Supper: Spaghetti Carbonara

etc etc

List:

Cereals
Bread - sliced and part cooked baguettes (for example)
Fruit Juices
Milk
Broccoli
Onion
Garlic
Leeks
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chicken/Veg stock cubes
Minced lamb
Potatoes
Mushrooms
Frozen peas and sweetcorn
Eggs
Cheddar
Spaghetti
Parmesan or other hard cheese

etc etc

You will have lots of store cupboard/freezer stuff, so adapt shopping list accordingly.

I usually start with Sunday and a roast supper, then make something with leftovers like a risotto, curry or pasta dish for the Monday evening.

MangoMonster Fri 30-Sep-11 19:53:39

I'm interested in this too, seems like such an effort.

YummyHoney Fri 30-Sep-11 19:54:24

Poncey I think you're me!

I have about 15 meals that I cook regularly. I try to mix it up; i.e. if I cook spaghetti bolognese on Monday, I wouldn't cook pasta again until at least Thursday - and even then it would be a completely different dish, not involving red meat.

If I cook curry one night, I might cook something light the next night - i.e. fish, or jacket potato.

I also do what Poncey does and cook quick and easy stuff on days when there's loads going on.

MartyrStewart Fri 30-Sep-11 19:55:55

I do a two week meal plan so I can 'recycle' some meals, eg we will have chilli and rice one week, I'll make extra chilli and freeze it then we will have the remaining chilli with jackets or as tacos the next week.

Would you like me to send you my £30 a week meal plan I sent everybody in the summer to give you an idea?

It's more of an effort not to do it as far as I am concerned! I always have a list of meals for the week and cook them on one day or another. I'm not particularly rigid, but I never have waste or throw food out, and once in the habit I found that my weekly food bill went right down.

I would say I have about 20 main supper meals that I rotate and throw the odd irregular one in every few days or so.

bounty007 Fri 30-Sep-11 20:01:55

That would be great thanks martyr you obviously know your stuff wink
At the mo I get to 4.30pm and think...Oh shit sugar what's are we going to eat tonight??... Need to seriously sort myself out...which will probably lead to a less stressful hour from 4.30pm until 5.30pm!

PonceyMcPonce Fri 30-Sep-11 20:19:25

Yummy - we are of a single mind!

Do you also have a preprinted shopping list and just tick what you need of regular purchases like loo roll and cereal, so you don't hae to write it out every time?

MartyrStewart Fri 30-Sep-11 20:51:37

<has found soul mates in poncey and yummy>

kplondon Fri 30-Sep-11 21:02:07

1. I sit down with a coffee, my recipe binder (covered in Cath Kidston oilcloth - I try so hard!) and the computer - usually on a Saturday morning.

2. I plan five suppers for the week - any more does my head in.

3. I choose the suppers on the basis of what I have in the house, what is on special and what looks tasty.

4. I usually make one chicken recipe, one fish recipe, one beef or pork recipe and two vegetarian recipes (one of which is often pasta) per week.

5. I order the food online (or write the grocery list) while I am doing the meal planning; if I don't, I forget the coriander or the ginger.

6. I try one new meal a week. I rip recipes out of magazines or print them off the internet all the time and this forces me to actually try some of them.

7. My goal is to plan meals so successfully that one day I use up all the coriander before it goes skaggy.

8. My grocery bill has gone down about 20% since I started doing this, and I'm less stressed.

YummyHoney Fri 30-Sep-11 21:14:12

grin Loving this thread. Poncey and MartyrStewart we are one. grin

OP there is a meal-planner on the MN home page, with a two-week example.

Always have basics in the cupboard - i.e. pasta, cous-cous, rice, lentils, eggs, potatoes, etc. and just buy fruit and veg (almost) daily from local shops. Fish and meat bought about twice a week.

KatyMac Fri 30-Sep-11 21:16:24

Can I join in? I have a 12 day menu plan (mon-fri; weekends are off plan) & a preprinted shopping list arranged by aisle in Tescos

KatyMac Fri 30-Sep-11 21:19:27

my current menu plan (in case you're interested)

Taffeta Fri 30-Sep-11 21:24:38

More or less exactly what kplondon does, although I don't have a CK book grin, and prob only try new recipes once every few weeks.

It takes a bit of getting into, but once into it, it takes 45 minutes including the online food order and then you don't nned to think about it for a whole week. Thats the bit I love - not standing in front of the fridge at 5pm screaming hungry DC and not having a clue what to rustle up with an anaemic lime and half a sausage.

MartyrStewart Fri 30-Sep-11 21:28:10

Taffeta - I love not having to think about dinner. I have gone from spending £110 a week on shopping, plus top ups to spening about £150 a month all in.

And we don't have scurvy or rickets yet!

YummyHoney Fri 30-Sep-11 21:30:19

You clever girl Martyr!

DreamTeamGirl Fri 30-Sep-11 21:31:57

If you use Google Chrome, there is a Tesco's app for it - free of course- where you can look up ideas then slot them into the boxes-

You can then either print the shopping list or transmit it to Tesco's online

I menu plan by starting with our faves or DS' requests and working from there
Like others say, Monday has to be quick cos of Beavers, Tuesdays can be longer as I finish at 3pm, Wednesday his dad comes over etc etc. Work wioth what you know

MartyrStewart Fri 30-Sep-11 21:35:35

Yummy - was through necessity but thank you grin

Bohica Fri 30-Sep-11 21:39:14

When I first started meal planning I went through my cupboards and freezers and made my meal plan around food I already had in, I was suprised at some of the things I found lurking in the chest freezer and I only ended up spending about £50 that first week!!

Even now I still have a quick check on whats in before I get my list of meals out, my list is recipes taken from books, mags, online etc and I have around 50 that our family will eat.

I also batch cook lot's of meals so on certain days I don't have to cook from scratch, that cuts the cost down as well.

I don't do online shopping because it gives me the hump when I get asparagus soup as a substitute to use in a rissoto hmm

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