Do you plan your meals in advance?

United States
July 26, 2007 9:08am CST
Do plan out your meals in advance? Perhaps plan out some sort of menu for the week or month? What's your meal planning strategy? I thought about this last night trying to figure out what on earth I'd make for dinner tonight. Last night I made my go-to easy meal (rigatoni, marinara sauce and italian turkey sausage) that I love and prepare when I can't think of anything else. So now what? I find this happens to me all the time towards the end of the week when I'm feeling tired and like I don't want to put tons of effort into making something. The good news is that I've got all day to figure it out. I think maybe I need to start planning ahead to take the guess work out of it. So what do you do to figure out what's for dinner?
7 people like this
25 responses
@alnilam (969)
• United States
26 Jul 07
i usually do not plan menus in advance. i go with the flow. but when i want to save some money i usually plan it. because i know you can also make good food with less expenses. so in situations like this i carefully plan what will i cook for the rest of the week. i combine things in this way so there is no food to be thrown away.
• United States
26 Jul 07
That's a good idea, so that you are not wasting food. I find that's a big problem for me, I end up throwing away a lot at the end of the week, all the left overs that don't get eaten. What sort of things do you prepare?
@alnilam (969)
• United States
26 Jul 07
one of the things is pasta (you can make it on 1001 ways with home cooked gravy), i always buy a ton of potatoes because they are cheap and can be also be made on 1001 ways... i usually mix them with another vegetable so i get i do not know carrot mixed potatoes, peas mixed potatoes) i use a lot of season vegetables, because they are cheaper.
@alnilam (969)
• United States
26 Jul 07
and yes meat goes there also, but in lesser quantities than ordinary (or i just try to make it more full filing)
@drannhh (15237)
• United States
27 Jul 07
Yes, I do try to plan most meals in advance, but my husband is sometimes a fussy eater and often decides to have something different from what was planned--even if he was the one who chose a particular meal in the first place. He is just more spontaneous about eating than me. So I do have some of his favorite foods made up ahead in order to be able to change plans on short notice--these include baked potatoes, chili, rice and vermicelli, and a few other staples. Also, although I don't approve of this in general, many a night I do just pull out a frozen pizza and nuke it for him, because that is a snack he will never refuse. I gave up trying to get him to eat his veggies a long time ago, so I make sure he drinks them instead. He likes Green Machine from Sam's Club, which although it tastes delicious, has 10 different greens including spinach and broccoli. It is funny because before we were married this guy said I would love meals with him because he was a "put-it-on-the-plate" kind of guy and would eat anything served up to him. Little did I know that his definition of "food" was hot dogs. Period. After about 40 years he even has me liking them, but in moderation, and with something nutritious on the side, please.
• United States
27 Jul 07
Your husband sounds like my boyfriend, who is dreading the fact that eventually once we're married his hot dog days are numbered. He hates veggies and I love them so that drink sounds great. I'd have to tell him it's something else though but if it doesn't taste veggie like then he'll go for it. With him, he prepares 2-3 different types of meat per meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if it isn't a potato or corn, he's not having any. I like my food healthy so the poor guy's going to suffer majorly. I tell him; hey you are not giving yourself a heart attack on my time buddy. He won't eat the hot dogs I eat, I use 98% fat free turkey dogs. Hmm... I wonder if I can sneak a bocca burger on him?
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15237)
• United States
27 Jul 07
Based on my experience, I truly don't think the bocca burger is going to work. But unbelievably, my guy will even drink the frozen wheat grass juice that I buy for myself if I mix it with pineapple juice and wild cherry drink. I usually float a few sticks of frozen orange juice in it, too. Now he would not always do this--it is a rather recent development. The fact is, we were in Jamba Juice and somebody dared him to try it and as they had a camera to take a picture, he was going to do this just once for the camera, just to show that he was macho. But afterwards he felt really good and wondered "What's in that stuff!?" Now he likes it. What I like is not having to be the veggie police. I don't care if we eat the veggies raw or cooked or drink them, I just want my honey to have proper nutrition as I expect him to hang around a while, and be healthy while he does it. Now if I could only figure out a way to get him to exercise more, lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jul 07
I bet that would work too, hmm... who can I get to dare him, lol. I'm with you, I don't care how he gets them down as long as he's eating something other than 5 lbs of meat a day.
1 person likes this
@myfanwy65 (1030)
• United States
26 Jul 07
I usually plan my supper's in advance, but I don't plan my lunches. Unless I'm at work. I take a frozen dinner for lunch at work. So, I guess you could say I plan that. I usually just plan the main dish for supper though. The side dishes are usually just what we have in the cabinet and feel like having.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jul 07
I say planning a frozen lunch counts! My lunches are frozen lunches 98%.
• United States
26 Jul 07
Having a large family, I always had to plan meals. Now that it is just my husband and I , I still plan. I do a major shop once a month, I buy all my meats & fish then seperate it into individual meals and freeze it. We eat mostly chicken and fish, so I am always looking for new recipes. Bettycrocker.com has some great ones. I don'tlike spending a lot of time on meals anymore, so I look for the quick and easy ones. Chicken picata is a great meal and easy, I make the lemon version. When I shop, I try to think of at least 2 meals per week that are diffent, I buy everything for those meals and then it is so easy to just put them together without having to think about it more than my once a month shopping day. My daughter doens't plan meals and she is always complaining that she spends way too much money every week at the store. Buying in bulk for the month is so much cheaper. the bigger the package the cheaper per lb. Another favorite in my family is pasta with either chicken or shrimp, I use a package of Good Season Parmesean salad dressing and olive oil. Mix together and your good to go! Good Luck.
1 person likes this
@ArsonCuff (3116)
• United States
27 Jul 07
I plan my meals out about 10 minutes before eating..ha ha. Never know and usually our family is rushing to find something.
1 person likes this
@MGjhaud (21957)
• Philippines
27 Jul 07
most of the time yes. there really are times that i would planned my dinner at lunch time. in the morning, i dont eat meals -- just coffee. by lunch time in school, we do have this store we go to and i always order my favorite meal. if its not available, it takes me a long time to decide what to order. sometimes i would just buy anything if im so hungry and i cant decide what to it in an instant.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Aug 07
I don't usually plan my meals in advance, unless we are having someone over for dinner, then I will plan ahead. Otherwise, I just buy groceries for the week with different meats and different side dishes. Then whatever we decide on that sounds good for that evening is what we have for dinner. Sometimes it is just easier for us to do it this way because we always seem to have things come up and we have to rush around.
• United States
2 Aug 07
That's what we generally do. My thing is that when I shop I'll just grab whatever catches my eye and then whey I get home I'm stuck because nothing goes together for a full meal.
• Canada
27 Jul 07
We don't usually plan our meals in advance. We just buy what we like and what is within our budget, put it in the fridge or freezer, and eat it when we are in the mood. If we are in the mood for smething we don't already have, we just have to walk across the street to the groccery store and get it.
• United States
27 Jul 07
I used to live across the street from a groccery store, I love that. It was so much easier to just run over and get what I felt like eating for the day.
@kelly60 (4548)
• United States
27 Jul 07
I don't really plan my meals in advance, but I like to make sure that I have a few meals planned ahead on my shopping list. This way when we can't come up with something for dinner, we resort to one of the standbys that are on the list.
• United States
27 Jul 07
That's what I've been doing. So The first few days is great cuz I'll use the standbys but the rest of the week... kinda screwed as to what to make.
@Nardz13 (5056)
• New Zealand
26 Jul 07
Hey. Yes there are days when I plan our meals in advance, and then there are days where I will do the spur of the momment thing and cook dinner on the spot... The advantage of cooking in advance, is dinner is planned out and you dont have to rush around at the last minute...
• United States
26 Jul 07
That makes total sense and at least there is some blance there. I hate running around last minute staring into the pantry going "uhhhhhh". Some days I can think of something last minute but lately I've not been feeling well and don't have the energy or desire to stand there for 20 minutes trying to pull something out of the air.
• United States
26 Jul 07
Yes I plan my meals in advance. I write down on a paper the days of the week. Then breakfast, lunch, dinner. Then I write down something for each day and meal. I take that list to the store and buy whats on it. Then when its time to eat I already know what were having! Makes it so much easier that way.
• United States
26 Jul 07
I bet that makes life so much easier! I only need to worry about dinner, I'm the only one home during the day and I don't eat breakfast and for lunch I'll have a frozen michelina's (sp?) lean entree. I get them for 88 cents and they're just as tasty as lean cusine, and a good size for just lunch. Dinner however is where I get totally stummped. Wish I knew what we were having, lol.
@bearfan (63)
• United States
26 Jul 07
I always sit down the day before I go shopping for groceries and decided what I want to eat for the week. Then I look in the different store fliers and see what is on sale and I go to the place that has the most things I need on sale.
• United States
26 Jul 07
That makes sense to check out the fliers first so you save the most money. I have a friend that goes from store to store to store to get what's on sale but I think the way gas prices are, that's just pointless. But going to the one that's got the most you need at a great price is a good idea.
@sunshine4 (8706)
• United States
26 Jul 07
During the school year, I make a menu for the week. I go out and buy the groceries for these meals and I am very organized when it comes to what is for dinner. I plan around what kids activities we have going on each evening. Sometimes it is easy, make your own sub night, other times I can make homemade spighetti and meatballs. During the summer, we kinda play it by ear. It depends on what kids are going to be home. We grill alot in the summer, so I make sure the freezer is full of stuff for grilling. Then I go get veggies from the garden, make a salad and we are good to go.
• United States
26 Jul 07
I usually make a menu for the week on Sunday, before we go grocery shopping. That way, I can check what we have on hand and decide what I need to buy to get through the week. Of course, I rarely follow the menu precisely. It does give me a good variety of meals to work with, though, and if I switch a couple of them around, it's no problem. I've definitely found that making a menu makes us less likely to go out to eat, because we will always have plenty of food possibilities on hand.
• United States
26 Jul 07
I think I'd do the same thing on not follow it precisely but it would be nice to know I could switch it up and still make something easily vs spending the cash (and calories) on another pizza night. I normally go shopping on Saturday and just buy what we're short on and then whatever catches my eye, I'll get home and nothing goes together. Oddly enough I've found that the very same thing applies to my clothes shopping and wardrobe, it's all pieced that caught my eye but nothing goes together and at the end I'm stuck going "I've got nothing to wear" despite stuff with tags hanging off. Funny how the two things kinda tie in together.
@rave700 (247)
• Philippines
2 Aug 07
nope..no menus....because we usually cook food based on the availablity of ingredients at home....if what's available then we cook...and we amke sure the food that the food being served would benefit ourselves....we don't just cook and cook...but of course wewanted also to prepare a dish that's delicious and healthy for everyone else.....
@timou87 (1641)
• Singapore
2 Aug 07
it really depends on what you term as planning dinner in advance. what time frame would you consider to be in advance? for me i personally dont plan out my meals days ahead, usually i would just do so say the night before or something like that, or if i am really to busy then i would just make the decision to have my meal outside.
@dane20 (45)
• Philippines
27 Jul 07
nop, i would plan my meals everyday because im still dependent on parents, my dad is the one who plans our meal but me usually buy food outside than cook food because he doesnt have enough time to cook.
• United States
27 Jul 07
My life has become rather hectic. Unless we are having a party or guests for dinner, I just walk to the freezer and see what looks good for the next day. This doesn't always mean we are having what has been pulled to defrost. We change our minds quickly. One night I pulled pork chops from the freezer for dinner the next day. We ended up having omelettes.
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
27 Jul 07
I never really plan my meals in advance. I don't eat meat that needs un-thawing or anything so that helps. I just go and look for whatever I am craving that day or if one of the family says they have a craving I can just wipe that up. When I am shopping I usually buy stuff that I have run out of or something new to try but without a real plan when it will be used. Vicki
@unisis (1674)
• Indonesia
27 Jul 07
My wife never plan menus in advance,My wife cook with the thing that she got everyday, but when we want to save some money she plan it,because she know that she can also make good food with less expenses,so in situations like this she carefully plan what will she cooks for the rest of the week. she combine things in this way so there is no food to be thrown away ,my family like vegetable when we took dinner together.