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Thread: Meal Planning: How?

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    #1

    Meal Planning: How?

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    How do you guys plan meals for the week? Do you sit down with a calendar? How do you set up your grocery list?

    I want to start this because I did it for one week a few months ago and it worked out pretty well, and it would be really nice to not have to go to the grocery store every single day. For some reason though I'm finding it really overwhelming to get started with so I'm wondering what your general process is.
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    #2
    Every Saturday night, I print myself out a meal plan. Basically I don't plan Monday, X, Tuesday Y but these seven meals are the meals of the week. My meal plan with all the recipes and then I create a shopping list of everything I need, even if I have it, off of those. All of it is printed and put on my clipboard. I go through and add anything else I may need (like staple items - milk, tofu, toilet paper, etc) and get rid of everything from my main plan that I already have. Sunday we go shopping in the morning and then after lunch I prep as much as a I can for the week. Wash/cut/label all veggies and organize everything in the fridge for each meal. Sundays are our built in left over night since the last thing I want to do after three hours or so of prep is cook and it works out pretty well.

    It was kind of a nuisance at first but now it's just part of the routine. Lunches are leftovers or I plan and make a big pot of hearty soup like minestrone or tomato&veggies and we have that all week. Breakfasts are always quick for me and the kids during the week with oatmeal and fruit or granola. Weekends I usually plan one breakfast that's a little heartier.
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    #3
    Since I am only cooking for 2, I only cook like 2-3 times a week and eat left-overs the rest of the time/for lunches. On Sunday, I look at my pinterest boards and decide on a dinner for Monday and Tuesday- might be 1 meal, or 2, and then I will eat the leftovers for lunch. Then Wednesday I go shopping for meals for the rest of the week. It doesnt really take any planning other than deciding what I will cook and writing down the ingredients I need for those meals.
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    #4
    I come up with about 6 meals for the week, assuming we'll probably eat out once. I pick a main dish then a couple sides, usually a veggie and a carb, unless its something like enchiladas for which I usually just make that main dish. Then I make a shopping list and get all the food. It gets a lot easier the more you do it, and I noticed that I've gotten better at planning meals that have some ingredients in common so the shopping is easier and I spend less money on groceries.

    For recipes, I usually go through pinterest and recipe websites like skinnytaste and budgetbytes. Sometimes things just sound good too, like any and all Mexican food because I'm a fiend, so I'll just add those meals to the list even though I don't have a set recipe or anything for them.

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    #5
    I'm doing this right now

    I'm trying to stick to the same meals every week (I've got nine on my list to rotate). I used to browse food blogs (skinnytaste mainly), or googled recipe names to find a good recipe to try and then make my list from that. Now, I've got a master list of every single thing we need to have in the house. Each week, I'll glance at that/look in the pantry to make a smaller list of the stuff we actually need.

    Sometimes I write down the meals for the week on a 3x5 card and put it on the fridge so if I forget, I can look at it. I don't usually designate the meals early, I cook what I feel like that day. The flaw in that method is that I'm moody, so at the end of the week sometimes I don't want what I saved for last.

    I also keep a paper planner and write down our dinners on stickers and put them in there. This helps if it's something that needs to be planned (like crockpot meals, soaking beans for soup overnight, etc...).

    I hate going to the store, so I try to get two weeks at a time but sometimes moodiness strikes and I have to go back again.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.VinoVet View Post
    Since I am only cooking for 2, I only cook like 2-3 times a week and eat left-overs the rest of the time/for lunches. On Sunday, I look at my pinterest boards and decide on a dinner for Monday and Tuesday- might be 1 meal, or 2, and then I will eat the leftovers for lunch. Then Wednesday I go shopping for meals for the rest of the week. It doesnt really take any planning other than deciding what I will cook and writing down the ingredients I need for those meals.
    This seems more of the route I would go. Planning for an entire week... sometimes produce goes bad by then (I eat a lot of avocados for lunch lol). If/When I meal plan, I make a big enough dinner and then eat leftovers for the next 2 days. Then I'll do the same on Wednesday/Thursday-ish.

    One thing I've never understood is when you see pictures of meals lined up for the week in tupperware. Especially if there are greens packed IN with chicken/rice. Like, what are you gonna do? Eat wilted spinach? Microwave it all together? I HATED meal planning/prepping like that. I found that food was so gross if I made it that far in advance. Hence why I like the "plan/prep twice a week."
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.VinoVet View Post
    Since I am only cooking for 2, I only cook like 2-3 times a week and eat left-overs the rest of the time/for lunches. On Sunday, I look at my pinterest boards and decide on a dinner for Monday and Tuesday- might be 1 meal, or 2, and then I will eat the leftovers for lunch. Then Wednesday I go shopping for meals for the rest of the week. It doesnt really take any planning other than deciding what I will cook and writing down the ingredients I need for those meals.
    This is what I do too, except cooking for one so far. I've also been eating some frozen dinners like Michelangelo's when I just feel too lazy. or get take out. Will be cooking for two soon though.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by #luci View Post
    This seems more of the route I would go. Planning for an entire week... sometimes produce goes bad by then (I eat a lot of avocados for lunch lol). If/When I meal plan, I make a big enough dinner and then eat leftovers for the next 2 days. Then I'll do the same on Wednesday/Thursday-ish.

    One thing I've never understood is when you see pictures of meals lined up for the week in tupperware. Especially if there are greens packed IN with chicken/rice. Like, what are you gonna do? Eat wilted spinach? Microwave it all together? I HATED meal planning/prepping like that. I found that food was so gross if I made it that far in advance. Hence why I like the "plan/prep twice a week."
    I actually do this. Either I heat the whole thing up, spinach included, or eat it cold like chicken salad. I actually like cooked spinach though and I could eat it every day, so I know I'm a weirdo
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.VinoVet View Post
    Since I am only cooking for 2, I only cook like 2-3 times a week and eat left-overs the rest of the time/for lunches. On Sunday, I look at my pinterest boards and decide on a dinner for Monday and Tuesday- might be 1 meal, or 2, and then I will eat the leftovers for lunch. Then Wednesday I go shopping for meals for the rest of the week. It doesnt really take any planning other than deciding what I will cook and writing down the ingredients I need for those meals.
    Same except I try to cook 3-5 meals a week. I go to the store at the beginning of the week, usually Sunday, with a list of ingredients for the first 3 meals. Then, by like Thursday, I get stuff for the other 2 meals. I get sick of eating the same food all the time, so I like to try out a few new dishes each week.




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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by #luci View Post
    This seems more of the route I would go. Planning for an entire week... sometimes produce goes bad by then (I eat a lot of avocados for lunch lol). If/When I meal plan, I make a big enough dinner and then eat leftovers for the next 2 days. Then I'll do the same on Wednesday/Thursday-ish.

    One thing I've never understood is when you see pictures of meals lined up for the week in tupperware. Especially if there are greens packed IN with chicken/rice. Like, what are you gonna do? Eat wilted spinach? Microwave it all together? I HATED meal planning/prepping like that. I found that food was so gross if I made it that far in advance. Hence why I like the "plan/prep twice a week."
    I used to work with someone who had the same meal for the week. She cooked a batch and it's what she brought to lunch for the rest of the week. She said it helped keep her on a budget. I do follow healthy IG users and I see those tupperware stuff all the time. There's an actual term for it, micro something. It's where they plan out every single thing they eat, down to the pieces of almond per day. It's part of their body building regimen.

    I personally couldn't do that, but for some, it's just a way of life.

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