Author Topic: How far ahead do you plan meals?  (Read 1058 times)

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Offline Saints_Fan_H

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How far ahead do you plan meals?
« on: December 07, 2016, 05:23:03 PM »
A lot of varying factors led me to attempt to try a month long meal plan. Instead of "what are we eating tonight? Who's cooking? Will you have lunch for work?" type questions and "shit we need THIS for that dish..." we took my big OT check (thanksgiving, black friday, plus two over times & she has 80 hours) and bought a month's worth of groceries and plotted out meals every day for a month plus. As it happens I'm not going to have any extra hours in December so stock up now and throughout the month we can just restock on things that go bad (milk, bread, veggies, fruits).

Tonight, I went shopping, to execute the plan. Fucking overwhelming. By the end of the trip it was an elaborate game of Jenga and people were starting to give me funny looks. One woman looked right at me and said, "UGH." When I got to checkout, only one line was open. They quickly opened up another line, but that did nothing to change that I had what wound up being two carts worth of bagged groceries. People were giving me looks of death, audibly sighing, and one guy was yelling about the wait. I glanced back and he was looking directly at me in a confrontational manner, I quickly broke eye contact. I started to panic that I was doing something wrong.

Anyway here's the plan as we have it. It is in .doc format so I can go in and retool as her schedule changes or other reasons that may pop up. I want to try to keep to it as close as reasonable, but don't want to be too strict either. I made it to where when I'm off is when the big meals are done and when I'm working things are simplified. Not thrilled about all the "Hamburger helper" and frozen type meals but if I'm working over night or she's working late, there's no point in doing anything elaborate. She's in retail, "get off at 6" means "8" half the time.




We try to go outside the box and get creative and try new recipes, but I tried to stick with "I know what works" for the first go at this. I'm open to suggestions, adjustments, shared experiences, etc...






Offline Firmino of the 909

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 05:12:52 AM »
A week. Just buy for 7 days and whatever sounds good on that day is the choice.


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Offline Baby Shoes

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2016, 06:44:14 AM »
I started to respond but then got pissed I didn't get an invite to Stuffed Shells night...  >:(


Earlier in the year I was pretty good with a vague schedule.  Like, I'd have some general ingredients ready and figure out what I was going to do with them over the course of a few days.  I wish I could commit to all the effort and planning that you have as I am sure I would be doing things a lot smarter that way.

Tend to cycle through the same few things, as I've picked up a few cook books but then rarely venture into new territory of experimenting enough to make a menu as deep as yours.
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Offline Saints_Fan_H

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2016, 03:59:10 PM »
Stuffed shells were a donation from my dad. Literally he stuffed raw ground beef (the value kind with a lot of fat) into al dente shells, then froze them. So I baked them @ 350 for 25 minutes on a foil lined pan. I removed it from the oven and took each shell with a pair of tongs and squeezed the fat that had pooled up inside. I then transferred them to a casserole dish and covered them with a jar of store brand premade "traditional" sauce and half a bag of pre shredded Mozzarella.

I put them back in the oven at 270 for another 30 minutes. At the ten minutes remaining mark, I pulled them out and put more Mozzarella on top, and finished it off. It was good, but I know I can do better if given the right amount of time.

Typically the extent of our planning has been, get paid then grab the schedule, count how many day shifts I have (for breakfast) and then count what meals we can make with what's in the freezer. Subtract that # from 14. Then the difference is what we shop for.

I did the math. At 3 meals per day, our total came out to about $3.77 per meal for the duration I shopped for. So all and all not bad when I think about it like that.

Offline tekcop

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2016, 05:11:22 PM »
We sit down and plan out 10 dinners each time we go grocery shopping. Just in case we're too lazy to go again in a week. It's just a vague "here's what's left of what we bought, plus pizza or Chinese." everyday.

As for lunch, she doesn't really eat it (maybe a banana or an apple and some peanut butter here and there) and I eat a pb&j like everyday. Neither of us ever eat breakfast.

Offline NoCalMike

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2016, 04:15:31 AM »
I usually grocery shop Monday's after work for the weeknight dinners.  Since I work M-F, most of my lunches consist of either leftovers or I will buy a bowl of soup/or salad from the work cafe.  Breakfast I usually just bring some fruit.

The way I plan it out is I try to just pick a different meat for each night and then go from there. I incorporate the slow cooker into a couple dinners as well because that way there will be at least 2 nights during the week where we get home from work and nothing really needs to be cooked except maybe a side/vegetable.

I compile the grocery list throughout the day at work, and will often google slow cooker recipes for ideas on new/different ways to prepare the stuff.  Slow cookers are really your best friend when it comes to making meals.  Get a sizable one and it can actually produce enough for a couple dinners or at least a big dinner and good-sized lunch. (depending on how many people are in your household).   I actually am thinking of getting a second one so I can start throwing the sides in there as well.  Making stuff like Chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup in a crock pot?  When you walk through the door it's hard not to just go to town right then and there.
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Offline Saints_Fan_H

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2018, 01:07:21 PM »
Now that local grocery stores are following Wal-mart's practice of online ordering I think we're saving a lot of food money. There's still impulse buys but you see the total adding up before you hit submit and you are able to adjust as you go. You hit order and when your groceries are ready you drive to the designated parking spots and check in from the app or call the # on the sign. No tipping allowed.

At worst, I forget about allocating for snacks and only buy the ingredients for the meals I plan to cook and one of us has to make a secondary run.

One thing I have done is add everything into my cart on the computer. Then I log into my phone app and go to "Save a Lot" on the other side of town and if it's cheaper than Wal-mart I delete it from the app and add it to my cart. I think I knocked $40 off one time doing that. It's not a perfect system but it's better than nothing.

Biggest issue with planning our meals lately is variety. Easy things like Hamburgers, tacos, red beans & rice and hot dogs are starting to wear out their welcome. And with my restrictions that have popped up subsequent to starting this thread, a lot of "40 top recipes for your instapot/crockpot" get passed over.

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Online Epic by Faith No More

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 10:11:23 AM »
A week. Just buy for 7 days and whatever sounds good on that day is the choice.

This is pretty much what it's like for me. I see what I haven't eaten for a few weeks and target that for the coming week. I've been less inclined to cook as opposed to sticking something in the oven lately but I try to cook at least on the weekends. Sundays, mostly.

Offline Amy pats fan

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Re: How far ahead do you plan meals?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 03:31:44 PM »
I don't at all.  I guess mentally in the back of my mind I have a rough plan, but it basically depends on what I purchase grocery wise, and that changes based on the season/what's affordable.  I generally eat healthy and get my veggies and fruit and protein and H2O in.....I'm just too lazy/not OCD enough to plan out meals

Also, my appetite fluctuates.  Some days I'll barely eat more than a bit of salad, and other days I'll pig out on beef jerky, pork rinds and beer