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Do You Use Weekly Meal Plans?

Do You Use Weekly Meal Plans?

Old 07-18-2020, 08:56 AM
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Default Do You Use Weekly Meal Plans?

There are all kinds of meal plans online, from WW, to saving money sites, to grocery store sites, to special diet restrictions, etc. Do you use a weekly meal plan? If so, please give some details on how it works for you. Thanks.

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Old 07-18-2020, 09:18 AM
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I don't have a written plan, but when I cook a casserole or meat, I always make enough for another meal. If it's grilled chicken breasts, I use the leftovers in a hearty salad the next evening. Spaghetti sauce, BBQ pork butt, meat loaf. Always more than one feeding. Sometimes it waits for an extra day before it gets eaten. We may get take-out once a week, and I cook or warm up left overs the other days. But no, no meal plan.
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:19 AM
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Now we have more of an approved foods list and approved cooking methods than an actual meal plan.

When I was younger and even poorer I had definite plans, each week would be based on a different type of sauce or large piece of budget meat. So on Sunday I made whatever it was going to be, chicken stock, tomato sauce, beef stock, etc. "Extra" cooking/leftovers was done/planned to make the next day's version. Everything pretty much had to be planned and portioned or the food wasn't going to last until the next shopping trip/pay day.

Pre-covid I would go to three nearby local markets daily to look at the marked down meats to keep hubby's keto diet going with high quality foods within our budget. Took about an hour or less, but I never knew in advance what I'd be cooking that day. There is an urgency on using mark downs.

Now I go out shopping once a week to two places total, and have to do more bulk buys and planning. I'm really lucky that my hubby has joined/surpassed me in our eating plans and he is happy to cook for himself, especially if I do some prep work ahead of the time. Like I cooked 3 pounds or so of bacon the other day -- then when he came home he made a scramble with as many hot peppers as he wanted in addition to we each had a BLT on our local (Franz) Keto friendly bread. That's another thing I have to plan for, we are so unused to having bread and it isn't the cheapest thing ever, we have to plan the bread into the rest of the week.
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Old 07-18-2020, 10:02 AM
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Not really. Our son buys most of the groceries - there is usually meat and some kind of starch available.

My "planning" consists of bringing some meat out of the freezer in time for it to thaw before cooking it for dinner/supper.

The only times I actually plan a meal is for something like Thanksgiving or "company invited a week before" dinners.

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Old 07-18-2020, 10:27 AM
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Yes, I do. Before lockdown I did not, it was more a flexible/daily trauma, although I am not sure if that describes it accurately enough. I decided to make my daily life less stressful, so I started to make a list of recipes that I like in a notebook, and I add any new recipe to it, that I try and, is tasty/lives up to the promise from whatever source that I find it in.
I now have meals/recipes that I like, and all made from scratch, into a 4 week cycle, and I find this much less stressful, and it is a more manageable and pleasing cooking session. There are some meals throughout the 4 week cycle that are part of a second meal that week. I also bake bread 3 times a week. This makes shopping so much easier too, and I have more time for my garden, sewing, reading and making and learning how to make felt.
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Old 07-18-2020, 10:49 AM
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When our kids were still home, years ago. I made a menu for the week because for some unknown reason I hate to be asked what's for dinner. It helped to plan what to buy. Now with just two of us I decide what I want to make and soup,chili,etc. I make enough for at least a week of meals.My husband can eat same thing over and over. I can not. I will eat salad, chicken or cereal.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:10 AM
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I like to make my own weekly plan. We eat more vegetables and a greater variety of foods when following a weekly plan. Meals are more balanced and it's cheaper, healthier and fun. When I am not making weekly plans, we eat out more and choose foods that are quick and tend to be not the best for us. I save old week plans and will reuse successful dinners (or change them up a bit). I do follow my plan but I have been known to switch sides from one meal to another because I don't have time to make the specified side or I don't feel like making it tonight. I plan only 5 evening meals a week. The other 2 evening meals may be leftovers nights, evenings out, or splurge nights.

How I make my plan: Using what's on sale and what's in my house, I select an entree for each meal (variety of meats and non-meats). I find recipes to prepare these choices as entrees. Next, I choose which starchy side dish works with the entree recipes (potatoes, grains, pasta, etc.). Then I add vegetable sides. My goal is to have 1 meat/non-meat serving, 1 starch/grains serving and 3 vegetable servings for each meal. For example, one meal might start with the choice of ground beef and I decide to use it by making chili, cornbread would be the starchy side and depending on the amount of vegetables in the chili, I might have a lettuce salad. After the meal plan is complete, I make a grocery list and also stock up on pantry items that are on sale.

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Old 07-18-2020, 11:13 AM
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I don't go by weekly meal plans. My DH has always been the one who tells me what he wants for the meal instead of me telling him "this is what we are having". He always gives me plenty of time to prepare for it & never asks for anything that I don't already have in the house so it works out o.k. for me. He will eat leftovers one more time after a meal but that is generally as far as it goes. If there is more left over I will freeze for another day or just eat them myself until they are gone.
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Old 07-18-2020, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
..........My "planning" consists of bringing some meat out of the freezer in time for it to thaw before cooking it for dinner/supper.....................
heck no ...... just give it a boost with zap in the microwave!
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Old 07-18-2020, 12:08 PM
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*g*a*s*p* ...... plan that far ahead?
I've always felt I didn't want to be stressed when a plan just didn't work, because "life happened"!!! Or the energy was not there to cook to the plan.

That being said, my meal planning is not on the spur of the moment.
Oft times, I will decide a few days ahead to nudge me to make something specific.

I do keep a good inventory in the frig/freezer/cupboard to shop from!
Then a running shopping list of what I need to get next shopping, whether as re-stocking, or something I am desiring. Throughout these crazy COVID-19 times, I have found most times I can go close to three weeks without shopping, other than needing more milk. Granted that will now change a bit with summer produce now being available, that I get at a roadside stand.

Most times I follow the strategy of .... "cook once, eat thrice".
Sometimes that is far more than thrice, where I make a big batch, and freeze to single meals. The bonus of that is I have good to eat quality meals awaiting, for when I want lazy meals! I even make my oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar already added, that way. Two minutes from the ice cube, and I have hot steamy porridge!

A friend used to meal plan for a month at a time!!
She kept mostly to the plan, except for example, switching Monday's supper to Wednesday.
One thing she said really worked for them, was that they would eat foods that they would probably not buy/cook, without "the" plan making her shop for them, and then cook from them! Thus, more variety in their diets.

But no, that much planning ahead for me, just is not "for me"!
Life Happens!!!

Last edited by QuiltE; 07-18-2020 at 12:12 PM.
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