I need help meal planning....

Discussion in 'Chatty Pad' started by klee73010, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    Gah! I hate this chore.... Probably because I'm stuck with monotony in the recipes. I hate trying to think up what to have each week.

    How do you do it?

    Things that work well for my family:
    *a list of meal options for a week or two, that we can pick and choose from depending on the day's plans
    *Grocery shopping based on the list
    *Mixing a few "easy options" in each meal planning period (spaghetti, pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc)

    Things that are frustrating me:
    *I try new recipes, and my kids decide to be picky
    *coming up with a list every week or two

    I have a list of meal options on the wall, and try running down it to pick a few, but none of them sound good... Or I'm sick of eating them, or someone doesn't like them.... etc. I have pinterest boards for meal ideas that i also look at, but struggle with knowing the kids will be picky. I try asking what others would like to eat, but get frustrated with hearing the same meals all the time. (we've started giving the kids the option to just go to bed hungry/not getting anything else/just try a few bites, rather than fighting them over food, but obviously several nights in a row of this is not ideal... My almost 5 year old actually chose to go to bed at 530pm last week rather than take one bite of everything on her plate!)

    Once i have the meals selected, making a grocery list is mostly quick (even if boring, the decision part is done), and hubby does most of the shopping, so I'm spared that part. But seriously. I'm sooooooo over it. I know I'm not alone. I've searched our chatty pad here and read many posts already. Lol
     
  2. QuiltyMom

    QuiltyMom Practically Perfect in Every Way

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    Following, because I need help with this, too!
     
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  3. Rikki

    Rikki Next I'm going to look up naughty limericks

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    I hate meal planning, too (and the shopping part, and the putting it away part). I used to use an online tool which is really great, but I stopped using it because it is not free and I wanted to save the expense. If you are willing to pay I'd recommend Plan to Eat. It is very convenient and easy to use. It does all the work for you.

    Now I am back to sitting down with cookbooks (I want to try out more new things because I have so many cookbooks and never used them), pick 5 meals (one day is left for whatever - leftovers or something and Saturday is pizza day) and jot down the list - and forget half.
    If we like a certain meal particularly I write it on a fav list and make sure that I have the ingredients at home as a basic. So at least we always have something to make in case I forgot to plan (which happens more often than not). I am horrible at meal planning, thank Gods my kids are easy.

    It's all very annyoing but I cannot bring myself to be more organized because it is such a hated task, no matter how organized I am going about it.
     
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  4. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    I love the idea of plantoeat but I'm not sure it will help me selecting meals.... It's on my mind as a possibility though.

    I have done post it notes in my bullet journal before. That needs to be updated a bit. I had a post it note for each meal, then moved them to the menu page the week we decided to use them. I'd put them back after the week was over, and moved other options more to the top.
    I didn't mind this method, but i still got sick of meals. I also got irritated that my bullet journal was in another room, so i moved to the "list on the wall" method...

    I have also tried a pinterest board for "this week's menu" - i really like having all the links in an easy to find place when the recipe isn't something I'm familiar with, or need to be able to find the recipes quickly. The aspect of this i would like to keep is to have the QR code available on a recipe.

    I have a recipe book i just bought to write out our recipes, and that's where i would paste a qr code. The handwritten version would have our substituions or preferences (allergies).

    I have so many printed recipes in our pantry.... Let alone the many cookbooks. It really shouldn't be so hard to come up with meal lists! Lol
     
  5. tkradtke

    tkradtke Why is my butt cold and wet?

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    I've gotten out of the habit since the first of the year, but here's what worked for us up until then. I picked a category for each day of the week that changed each month. The kids helped me pick the categories at the first of each month, so they at least had a little bit of say in the planning. Our categories where as standard as "chicken", "pizza" or "pasta"... but we also did other categories like the random "food you eat with your hands". It gave me a start each week when planning. I also liked to then challenge myself to think outside of the box in the standard categories... like for pizza night we had Mexican pizzas one night (layers of toppings sandwiched between tortillas and baked).

    Even though I haven't exactly been doing the category thing lately, we do still sort of do it. Like right now my kids are way into those little sandwiches you make with Kings Hawaiian Rolls... so they like to try a new one each week.

    When my kids were little I struggled with finding stuff that they would always eat. My compromise then was to make whatever I wanted, but always make sure I had one side dish that I knew they would eat.
     
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  6. bestcee

    bestcee Lorelei and Rory are my neighbors

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    I use plan to eat. I have for years. The expense was higher the first year, but I always get another year at the Black Friday sale (50%off).
    When planning meals, I check out my friends recipes to see what looks good, or like something my family will eat. I actually have more friends there than on Facebook!
    If I come across a recipe to try from Pinterest or blogs or wherever I add it to my queue.
    Then I drop the recipes in a the monthly planner to create the shopping list. Then I write the titles on our white board. We pick and choose from there if I'm not in the mood for the meal on the calendar. Or if plans change and I need something quick I can see what we have ingredients for. It sounds complicated when I write it out, but it's actually really easy.
     
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  7. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    Category days... Could be helpful. Thanks Tracie!
    We used to do a meatless monday, taco Tuesday, leftover Wednesday. I'm not sure why we stopped doing that...
     
  8. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    I am currently (right this minute) going through a cookbook i purchased in October called "What's for Dinner". It has like 30 weeks of menus with main courses and sides for 6 days/week.

    I am just marking the pages with a post it note where the main course is kaydee safe (with easy/safe substitutions we keep at home like milk or butter). We don't usually do "complicated" sides (frozen or fresh veggies are the main one we use 90% of the time). I have been meaning to do this since I bought it... :giggle

    Anyway. Maybe having someone else do the choosing. I'll just make the meals and the kids can *hopefully* stop being picky??? My mom suggested only giving the choice to skip meals twice a week. Maybe....
     
  9. bestcee

    bestcee Lorelei and Rory are my neighbors

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  10. jenn mccabe

    jenn mccabe She's OUR sunshine!

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    I'm like you Kristina ... make a plan for the week (in my planner) - with a mix of easy meals for those lazy nights/or unexpectedly busy ones and then a few of the more involved-type meals too. i then make a shopping list based on that.

    i will seriously forget what i planned and shopped for once everything is in the frig/pantry. so besides having it written in my weekly planner spread -i have a big chalkboard in my kitchen to remind what is on the menu for the week. if one night is too busy to make the "meal for that night", i switch and grab an easy one, and move things around as needed.

    i also do what tracie does by breaking up with the week with different meal types: a pasta dish, a one pot dish (like a stir fry), a mexican inspired meal, a soup/stew and salad night, a new recipe to try night, etc. this helps big time with the planning and makes sure the week has variety so the family doesn't get bored.

    it is a huge pain and my least favorite thing. i also feel like i am bored and repeating meals over and over. and my kids will pretty much eat anything!!! so i really feel for you with picky eaters.

    can i ask ... do the kids care if you have say 10 meals they like and you just keep repeating those things? or is it that you & hubby don't like it/find it boring? if the kids don't care - maybe just make what they like until they grow out of it? and .... for you and hubby ... make a little side dish -along with the staple protein say, 2x a week - so you have something different and yummy to look forward to without worrying if the kids will eat it? or maybe agree to all try something special once a week that everyone has to eat. i do think making the kids try new things is important - like you are doing, but your kids are so little - you really are in that stage where it can be hard for many kids. offer the special side dish and require they take a bite to keep introducing them to new tastes. if they end up eating it great, if not you & hubby can have it as leftovers for lunch? and maybe eventually their palette will grow.

    i don't know - meal planning just stinks. it really does!
     
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  11. LeeAndra

    LeeAndra Step aside, Arwen!!

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    I feel your pain! My 2yo only eats fake meat e.g. chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, pizza rolls. He doesn't eat anything mixed together, either, so he usually eats a fruit or veg for dinner + some kind of starch + milk & I've given up fighting it for now. My husband eats GF so I make all of our family meals GF, too.

    Anyways, I meal plan every week. I grocery shop Monday mornings for Monday - Thursday and Friday mornings for Friday - Sunday (since my husband is gone every other weekend). During the week, I buy 2 lbs. of ground beef (2 meals), 1 package of chicken, and either a pork roast or pork chops. I make one easy meal (tacos, spaghetti, etc.), I make one crockpot meal (usually the chicken or the pork), & then I make a 'wild card' meal that's either something we haven't had in awhile or a new recipe. We have either rice or potatoes for a side once or twice and frozen veggies & applesauce or fresh fruit every night.

    I also 'piggyback' recipes and use a specific ingredient twice in one week. I do this all the time with green peppers; my homemade sloppy joes, our 'Christmas rice' (deconstructed stuffed peppers), & a kind of soup I make all use green peppers so I will make two of those recipes in one week since I don't buy or keep green peppers around all the time.

    We go to my parents' for dinner on Thursdays & have pizza on Fridays so I don't plan for leftovers, either. I usually err on making not quite enough then making way too much as either I will have to eat it for lunch every day for a week or I will have to throw it out.

    I love to cook & am pretty good at it but my husband and daughter just don't care whether they're eating something gourmet or tacos for the 8th time that month so I've simplified the process way down & they are just as happy.
     
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  12. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    @jenn mccabe they are happy to eat spaghetti, hot dogs, pizza and Mac n cheese every night. I am sick of it. Lol. Hubby and I eat leftovers for lunches, so when it's the same 5 meals every week that they WILL eat, then we also have them for lunches...
     
  13. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    @LeeAndra love the name of that.... "Christmas rice". Maybe I should just name everything with "fun" names. Lol. I get upset when my kids throw fits when they ask for "chicken nuggets from somewhere" instead of the nuggets in our freezer.... That argument doesn't go over well in our house! But at almost 4 and 5, trying to explain paying and costing more money, is really like trying to catch smoke with your hands. :giggle
     
  14. MrsPeel

    MrsPeel LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

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    oh I don't even want to think about meals... Sarita is so busy studying and working, that she hardly ever eats here...so I end up eating very very badly... and even when I was cooking for the two of us...planning never worked :(
    I will need to make some changes now because I have been very very ill and a proper diet is very necessary.... so I ll have a look see what you guys are doing see if I can adapt!!!
     
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  15. IntenseMagic

    IntenseMagic College was bad for my reputation

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    Getting some great ideas here. I seriously need help with this, too!!
     
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  16. bellbird

    bellbird Pollywog

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    i hear ya - i plan for Miss Picky when i plan for the rest of us (so if we are having steamed veg, she has raw carrots and cherry tomatoes etc) Last night we had a chicken done in the oven so she has her frozen crumbed fish from a box that i throw in at the end - yeah i know but it saves arguments #avoidingconfrontation She also prefers everything 'deconstructed' which again is a bit time consuming despite understanding it all mixes in her stomach anyway So we had a veggie fried rice the other nite, she had plain rice, a section of peas & broccoli, some meat, basically scrambled egg and raw capsicum /red pepper - for the rest of us i tossed it altogether.

    Fun names can help - we used to call Quesadillas "Dora Fold-it's" when she was little and she started eating them when she could pick what ingredients to go in hers (and then she'd call it a Diego Fold-It or Swiper etc) Making mashed potato snowmen etc didn't neccesarily help cos the kids just wanted to look at the food and it became art they didnt want to eat.

    We have used cookie cutters to make our own chicken shapes (we cut out from a homemade snitzel after it was cooked with a metal cutter - the plastic ones didnt seem sharp enough) - might help with the 'nuggets from somewhere' - u can't get special stars or gingerbread men ones from 'somewhere' except home!
     
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  17. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    Which is exactly why I wanted to list everything I've tried so far, in case those methods were helpful to someone else.
     
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  18. klee73010

    klee73010 I might have a thing for drummers

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    @bellbird
    I wonder if the deconstruction thing is part of it. I've honestly never tried splitting anything up. But... my son has pulled out every single pea if I mix it in with Hamburger Helper in the past :giggle and he does pull pepperoni off pizza, and prefers to eat it after it has cooled off completely when he's finished the rest of his pizza. I don't get that at all... does pepperoni taste different when it's hot or cooled off? To him, apparently yes. Lol
     
  19. bellbird

    bellbird Pollywog

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    me neither - it must for some people and i wonder sometimes whether it's to do with smell too (i think heat intensifies the smell of things) and she prefers bland, so heated up if something smells more intense is that part of the problem?! i dont know - she wont eat cooked carrot but loves raw carrot (my nose is pretty usless but i dont think carrots smell either way!); re: deconstructed - she will have mashed sweet potato mixed in with mashed normal potato though, go figure (and i hide cauliflower in pretty much everything!) but she won't eat anything i call 'casserole' (which is pretty much code for hodge podge of what's in the fridge in a pot - i guess it's too hard to seperate) - meal prep is pretty much a fulltime job but it's faster for me to deconstruct from the start than to have her remove every little bit of something as she's such a slow eater to start with, every night family dinners end with her still sitting at the table by herself for half an hour - yep frustrating especially after the meal planning battle;

    So know you aren't alone - i pre-cook things just for me sometimes and freeze in small portions and then if i'm frustrated by cooking the same. thing. again! arrgh! then i go reheat my own thing for myself.
     
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  20. amien1

    amien1 I do enjoy a good exclamation point!

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    I'm with Traci on the "Categories" type of planning. That way when I'm at the store- I can buy for whatever's on sale (pork loin for example last week was on super sale so I got a few of those in the freezer!)

    We plan weekly- I usually shop on Monday mornings after kids have gone to school.
    Mondays is Chicken- this week we're doing Sweet & Sour Chicken with brown rice & stir fry veggies.
    Tuesday is protein bars for adults/macncheese for kids(or something equally fast since they both have Ice Skating lessons at 5:30.
    Wednesday is pasta (I don't eat pasta so I usually have just the protein portion on salad or something.) This week we're having Spaghetti with ground turkey.
    Thursday is Pork. I think I'm going to do a pork loin- I have a really yummy raspberry chipotle sauce that'd go great with a porkloin! I usually add a veggie the kids like- green beans or peas mostly.
    Fridays we eat out with the inlaws.
    Saturday/Sunday depends on the plans- but lately we've done crockpot chili, make your own pizza, Taco night- anything that can involve the kids more so they will actually eat it! ;)
     
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