Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Meal Planning

Do you Meal Plan?

Sometimes I'm so good at this and sometimes I'm not - but I can tell you this...

When I actually do Meal Plan - I love it!

If you know me well - or have been reading my blog for some time - you know I thrive with structure and systems.  This is a system that brings me great peace, and I want to get better at it.

Meal Planning helps me avoid the 4 o'clock stare into the pantry and fridge - the "What's for dinner?" panic stare.  Do you know that one?

It also cuts down on extra spending due to last minute eating out and gas money because of extra trips to the store.

I usually do it (when I do it) on Sundays - after looking at the ads - I plan my meals based on what's on sale.

I also look through the pantry and fridge and see what we have on hand and what I need to use up.

Then I create my shopping list, write the meals on my schedule for the week, post it on the fridge and I feel like a new woman!  Today, I am recommitting myself to this.

So, I'm asking you.  If you do this, what resources, strategies, websites do you use?

I know there are some meal planning websites, but I've never investigated them.

Do you find yourself making the same things each week - or always trying new stuff?

I know some who plan a whole month at a time and others who just do a week at a time.

What has worked for your family?

Let's share some ideas!


  1. I meal plan as well. I make a menu for the week on Sunday, I create my grocery list and then shop on Monday. I appreciate that it takes the pressure off of each day - I look at the menu the night before to see what we are having - sometimes I move meals around, but I know each day what we are having and that I have all the ingredients for whichever meal I choose.

    When I began this system 12 years ago I literally cut my grocery bill in half. No more running to the store mid-week and then seeing something on sale and adding it to the cart, thus increasing the weekly grocery bill.

  2. You pretty well know what I do! :) Once a month. I look through my old plans to get ideas. I mark new recipies in my favorites online so that I know where to look for them when I'm stuck.

    I do all of my shopping at once and pick up the fresh items as needed. I love not going to the store all the time, and I love not having that "deer in the headlights" look at 5:00. :)

  3. I would be lost without meal planning, but I also have a few extra things on hand because some days, the planned meal just doesn't sound good at all.

    I'm also a huge fan of batch cooking on the weekend, so I will make double or triple batches of things like lasagna or chili and then freeze or refrigerate the extra.

    I also like to use Meijer Mealbox. It's an online component of their website that lists sales, coupons, and a TON of recipes! I typically click on Recipes and select the Top 25 Budget Meals-it's a great way to get new ideas.

  4. good stuff, you girls! I just love my blogging community! :) I am going to check out the Meijer thing, Andrea. I also need to get better at batch cooking! Come on, others... more ideas!

  5. Ahhh! I love getting tips on meal planning as well. I've recently been loving the website www.onceamonthmom.com and www.confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com (great printables/education/etc also)...I have making a meal plan for the entire month for all 3 meals. I feel like I am more creative with meals and I repeat things less. Then I review the ads/our weekly schedule on Sunday nights and revise for the week and shop on Mondays.It has been working well. I've also been involved in "dinner swaps" where we met once a month or every other month and swapped meals~ that was really fun and saved a bunch of time to have meals on hand to pull out of the freezer...

  6. Just another plug for Meijer Mealbox-you don't even have the check the weekly ads, because it bases the weekly 25 Budget Meals on how many ingredients are on sale-if it doesn't have several items, the recipe doesn't make it on the list!

  7. I meal plan one to two weeks, depending on our upcoming activities. First stop is the calendar to count how many days daddy will be home for dinner with us. (I use up leftovers on the nights he works.) We check on meals for friends, elderly, and Rescue Mission and plan those 'casserole' type meals first. Then it's to my favorite drawer! I have a drawer where I very unneatly throw recipes I've pulled out of magazines and online that look good. I rarely make the same thing twice, except for the stand by nights of tacos, etc. for when mama just doesn't want to cook. :~) I do one big shopping, then usually 2 short trips a week for fresh produce. I really dislike winter...already missing the inexpensive and tasty fruits and veggies. Your foodie friend - Jen

  8. thanks, Jen! You all are awesome. Ok - I think I'm committing myself to planning a whole month! josh and I sat down and I had him share his top 10-15 meals I make. I will toss in some easy fillers, but I'm hoping that I'll just keep repeating the month - with new recipes here and there - as I feel the desire. I'm thinking it will be easy!

  9. I know the 4 o'clock stare oh so well and decided a while ago that meal planning was the way to go. I plan for the week and make sure I have a well stocked pantry of my staples so that I'm able to whip up a meal anytime. Just in case something happens to my well planned out meal plan - which it can from time to time.


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