Do you menu plan??

@creematee (2810)
United States
March 16, 2007 9:53am CST
And I'm not just meaning "what's for dinner tonight?" but plan, either a week, or month of menus ahead of time. I've been thinking about starting menu planning again, (it worked when DH and I were dieting) but worried that we'll get stuck in a rut, and bored with the same meals either week after week or month after month. I know that it will make grocery shopping easier (and cheaper) and it can help us with weight loss. Any help, ideas or tips on what or how we should work this out would be apprectiated.
5 people like this
23 responses
@Bev1986 (1427)
• United States
16 Mar 07
We try to do this every weekend.... my daughters and I sit down and decide what we want to plan for the week, then we go grocery shopping. Dh doesn't care what we eat, so it's not big deal to him, but my girls are picky eaters and if I let them help me plan, I'm sure they'll eat. It also saves us a lot of money because I'm not picking things up on the run. I already have things planned and know what I'm going to have.... I do sometimes forget to put things out to thaw from the freezer once in a while and then I try to have a back up plan for those nights!
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
That's kind of how we plan it now. I have one major shopping trip a week. I would really like to cut that back to once every other week. (Payday) Thinking that I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I would have dinner planned and going on the stove every night. Nope, just a dream. So many times I look at the clock and say "OH POOP! It's 5:00 and I haven't started thinking about dinner yet!" LOL
@lillake (1634)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I try to plan out meals in weekly menus a month at a time. I printed out planner sheets that I fill out and take with me to the store. http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/gettingorganized/planner.php#weeklyplnrev This is a great weekly planner you can print off, it has room for a menu and a shopping lsit.
2 people like this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
Thank you for the link!!! It looks like this will be a great help!
@Aliciay (72)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I always plan 4 meals a week. I cook four, we eat leftovers on night and eat out one night. The last night is usually something easy and alwasy on hand (hamburger helper, pizza, etc). I have found planning a weeks menu reduced out grocery bill and made my life easier. Sometimes on Sunday I will prepare for a few nights meals allows me to just rewarm on the night. Keep a list of all the meals you like. The will help you stay out of the rut. Look through the list for different things to try.
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
Thanks for the advice. This is what I'm going to try to do. We're a family of 5, but babysit our neighbor's niece at night. she eats like she's never eaten before! It seems the only time I have leftovers is when nobody likes the meal. HA HA HA! I'm going to get started planning. :)
• United States
16 Mar 07
Good Luck. Another things I try to do is plan meals with similar main ingredents. i.e. ground beef can make spaghetti, tacos, stir-fry. So I will cook all the beef on Sunday adn season it as needed, then it's ready when I want to eat it.
@TFM123 (5)
• Canada
16 Mar 07
You could do this but don't you ever feel like eating somehting specific one night. I often get urges to eat a certain thing on a given night, for example some nights I like to eat mexican cuisine, but I can't plan on i because mexican cuisine is somehting you have to be in the mood to eat. So I don't think I will ever meal plan.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I agree on the different food urges. My meal plan will have to be flixible enough to allow for that to happen. :) I'm hoping that by meal planning I can at least keep things on hand so if I don't have time to plan I have it available. I have a grocery store that is within walking distance of our house, so if the mood strikes to have tacos, instead of chicken, we can just get what we need to change it.
• United States
16 Mar 07
No, I don't plan it. I may plan it a few hours before, but never days or weeks. That said, we do only go to the store once a month. I think it saves money that way, and I hate grocery shopping anyhow. We only have to go to a Target or Walmart to pick up bread and milk to fill in.
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I agree with you on the grocery shopping. I just wish I could cut it down to once a month. No matter how good my shopping list, there are always things I forget! If I can plan my menus, I will know exactly what I need for the week. :)
16 Mar 07
I have never planned a menu for a week or month ahead of time.What I like to do is to make a loose plan based on what I see available fresh in the market.We are vegetarians so I buy my vegetables every week at our local farmers market.I generally am very health concious, and especially concerned because my 3 yr old won't eat easily.I have to take her needs and tastes into account too.However,there are certain vegetables that I donot get in the local farmers market and when I start wanting to eat those,then me and my husband mak a plan to go to another market on the weekend although those are a bit more expensive.So once a month,I splurge on the choice of my vegetables and the rest,I cook with whatever I can find.I have found that rigid planning does not help as my daughter wants one thing and my husband is always after something simple to cook(meaning not taking too much time), and between all of this,I just tend to thnk on the moment. You can do one thing-print up a load of recipes and keep them in your kitchen drawer.Then while making the menu for the month,put in whatever you would want to eat.Choose one varitey with each vegetable or meat, and put it down in the menu.This way,you will have a different meal each night and also give you great ideas about leftovers..they make a great meal,they just need dressing up a bit.Happy cooking!
1 person likes this
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
That sounds like a great idea. Kind of like a "if I have time meal" and an "easy meal" menu plan. I've taught my children that they eat what's given to them or they don't eat--even dessert! If they don't like the meal, they get 2 min. to complain about it before we eat. Then they aren't allowed to say anything negative about it. It's worked pretty well for us. 3 year olds aren't as easy to train this way, but she'll get it. :) Wish our farmer's markets were open(probably not until mid-May will they open.) I love fresh veggies and the stuff at the supermarkets just doesn't cut it.
• United States
16 Mar 07
I used to do this but somehow I got out of the habit. I hate trying to figure out what is going to be for dinner every night. I think its a good habit to get back into. I have no advice or tips to share on this but want to thank-you for posting this discussion, as I can read what others have suggested to you. Have a good day!
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
Glad I could help. :)
@sunshine4 (8709)
• United States
16 Mar 07
I just started menu planning about 3 weeks ago. I ask the family what they want for dinner for the following week. I figure out what we will be having each night and put it on the calendar so there are no surprises. I make my grocery list for that week and do my shopping. I have actually found that I am spending an average of $25 less by doing this. For new recipes I have gone to campbells soup website and got some great ideas.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
16 Mar 07
hi there! i believe that planning a menu is a good way to manage your budget and finances. it will also allow you to be creative in the kitchen and be able to provide meals which are carefully prepared. so i suggest, you plan a menu for a month just to make sure that you won't repeat the same meal within the month. try something new every week. goodluck!
1 person likes this
@junior07 (974)
• India
16 Mar 07
yes it is easy to menu earlier when you are on dieting,but there should be no repeatance of foods in ur menu so that u didn't feel bored,for that you should work on the dishes which are for peoples who are on dieting.
1 person likes this
• Egypt
16 Mar 07
i dont have any menu plan
@creematee (2810)
• United States
16 Mar 07
Thanks for the post. How do you decide what's for dinner? Right now, I just wait until the clock strikes 5, and say Shoot, I haven't got a clue. Meals can get pretty creative or really yucky. That's why I'm hoping for some kind of structure. :)
@syndibee (799)
• United States
21 Mar 07
i do not menu plan but i have in the past and it's a wonderful idea to get back into. when i did menu plan i did a 5 week rotation plan. i sort of stole this idea from the work i was at as i had to prepare the menus from their diatitions menu plan...they had a 4 week rotation and i added a week to mine so i wasn't having exactly the same things at the same time of every month. i picked everyones favorite dinners and made that as a midweek meal, each person had a favorite for a different week. i got out of the cooking habit and have started eating rather unhealthy as a result. now that i have a little one to cook for again i may re-introduce the menu plan.
@babyhar (1338)
• Canada
19 Mar 07
I actually do a menu plan every two weeks just around the time my other half gets paid. I'll go through recipes online and in the cookbooks I have here to find new and exciting ways to cook our favorite types of meat and usually both of us will have some things that both of us usually enjoy mixed with a few new recipes. I started this because the last place we had lived in, we seemed to make the same dishes week after week and ended up getting bored of them very fast. It got to the point where me and my other half were so bored with a lot of the meals we were making that we began to order out a lot more. After a while that got tired fast and both of us had to do something to re-invigorate our interest in food in the first place. I was at the point where I would make a meal and hardly eat any of it because it had become almost routine to have that dish. I began by just looking through some cookbooks here in the house to see if there were any different meals we could make. I think the first time I tried this I had varied about 6 of the dishes both me and my other half had during that two week period. I set up a grocery list that included ingredients for all those dishes as well as some that both of us still liked at the time and my other half went grocery shopping and picked all those necessary items up. I had found some soups and stews that I had never really thought of as a great idea until then. Even hamburger helper looked good at that point and I did in fact get some of that stuff. That two week trial period with the new recipes went so well that both me and my other half kept on doing that every two weeks up until recently and I still do that on a regular basis. I think ti keeps both me and my other half on our toes by introducing both of us constantly to new cooking ideas and ways of preparing dishes. I know that a lot of the meals intrigued me the minute I read them and when they were fully cooked and served, I edited ones out and kept other recipes that turned out to our liking for future mealtimes. I have a few notebooks where I write down all these recipes and I need to really go into those books and write them all down in one single binder or notebook so I do not lose any of them,. I remember I had gotten a copy of a potato pancake recipe that I believe we lost because it was on a separate sheet of paper somewhere in this room of ours. I would like to keep the recipes I find in one book so that referring to them does not mean I have to search out five or six different books just to locate a recipe that I want to add to the list for that meal period. I honestly believe that this is a really good way to not lose interest in food at all. It helps to keep bringing in new ideas and approaches to the same ingredients. By varying between old and new recipes nothing seems to get too routine or boring. I also try to keep in mind that the recipes should be healthy and offer us a good amount of nutrition. I believe by me doing this I am helping to keep both me and my other half healthy and free from a lot of what is in fast food nowadays. Both of us hardly order out anymore and I think that it is helping us to feel better about ourselves to make meals and have them really turn out. I think that as well, by cooking yourself you are eliminating a good amount of grease and other bad elements that are found in fast food from your diet. In conclusion, I feel the best way to meal plan is to try to plan about two weeks worth of meals at a time and try to keep a variance between old favorites and new and interesting dishes. It helps to keep the food you eat from not getting routine or boring. As well, you're able to monitor the health content of the food you are putting into your body. I think it is best to do this in the long run so that eating a meal never gets boring. I've been there and it's not a good place to be! I hope I've given you a few ideas, along with tips on how to menu plan! . . Thanks for allowing me to share! xx
@venshida (4837)
• United States
18 Mar 07
I just started making a menu, and it really saves time and money. I do mines weekly.
• United States
17 Mar 07
I go though stages. Sometimes I plan it, and sometimes I go for whatever there is and create something. If you are planing ahead, decide what you want each night, and mark the calendar. Then just get out the shopping list, and mark down each ing. you will need.
@kavi112 (232)
• India
17 Mar 07
it s really great that u make a menu and do things in ordered manner.... it s really surprising to see this... anyways it will help a lot... n also reduce the expenses and will help to buiil a diet in the food
@SilPhil (267)
• Australia
17 Mar 07
I always menu plan. What I do is have a big file that I keep all my recipes in, and divide them up according to the main source in it. eg. pork, beef, chicken, fish, misc. Then what I do is make sure that over the 5 weeknights we have at least one from each section. Weekends are kinda crazy in our house, hubby is out every Saturday so I just have whatever is quick and easy that I feel like. Then Sundays we do a roast, but vary what kind we have each week. So basically I plan each day, and as I go work out the shopping list from what I already have. Then I go and do my grocery shopping off that, once a week. Planning it out is really good for me, because I'm busy with work and a bubs. So what I do is wherever possible, I prepare the meal the night before. eg, after dinner on Monday, I prepare as much of Tuesdays as possible. That way if I'm busy or running late on Tuesday, dinner is still taken care of. The good thing is you can add more and more recipes to the file so you never get bored with what your having!
• United States
17 Mar 07
While I can see how menu planning would have financial or health-related benefits, I don't think detailed menu planning is my "thang." Loose menu planning is okay and I do have very general ideas of what I might want to eat during a week or 10-day period, but detailed, day-by-day planning (unless it's for a diet) robs the cooking experience of fun and spontaniety. However, that's just for me; if other guys and women out there find detailed menu planning is what works for them, that's terrific!
• India
17 Mar 07
hey!!! many a times even by thelate evening we arebarely able to decide what should/(rather) would be up for dinner...and u aksing for a week's ahead....we know just one thing that we don't have to ake any arbohydrates in the evening....so salads fruits proteins and milk proteins.........make the main diet...so whatever is actually handy at the nearby market is something we ring daily for the dinner---simple
• Canada
17 Mar 07
yes i do i try 2 eat well so i can stay fit so i plan a week when i go shopping that way i wont have to run out and get a some crappy fast food joint. I always try 2 eat well and i think that having a menu plan is a good idea