My ultimate meal plan?

I’ve written many meal plans over the years and when I have one we invariably eat better and buy much less takeaway than in the weeks without plans. There’s something about the never-ending decision making of “what are we having for dinner?” that really gets to me, I’d like someone else to choose! So I try and do all the deciding in one go and get all the shopping done and then not have to think about it for a while. Problem is I kept getting caught up in trying to do New and Different and Interesting all the time and the actual constructing of the meal plans became too much like hard work. Not to mention finding myself with a fridge and pantry full of stuff for New and Interesting when all I could face cooking and feeding to the kids was safe and easy.

While we were away on holidays I was having one of those “my life feels out of control and I need to fix it” conversations with Adam and I seized on the whole meal plan thing as being one little part of the whole that I could do something about (a large part of the rest of the out of control stuff was magicked away the next day during a phone conversation about work with Jen – much relief ensued!) and I sat down with my laptop in front of the fire and came up with a 2 week perpetual meal plan.

And here it is on the fridge, 2 week’s worth of breakfasts, dinners and desserts, or rather a broad hint not to ask what’s for dessert because the answer will always be the same – I was getting heartily fed up with the constant demands for ice-cream. Which they weren’t getting, but that didn’t stop them asking. (Click on the pic for the larger, readable version.)

The ultimate meal plan?

The green bits are magnets for keeping track of where we’re up to…and I’ve just now realised that all day I’ve been expecting tacos tonight and we’re actually supposed to be having tortellini! We shall have tortellini tomorrow πŸ™‚ Which makes more sense as Caitlin is sleeping over at a friend’s place tonight and she infinitely prefers pasta to mexican. I don’t anticipate us sticking to this rigidly – far from it! I expect to swap meals around, replace them with something New and Interesting when I’m feeling inspired and indulge in takeaway or meals out on occasion. But for those nights when it’s 6pm and I’m thinking about dinner for the first time that day? All I’ll have to do is look at the fridge and do what it tells me! (Of course it will help if I’ve remembered to take meat out of the freezer the night before, but I reckon I can manage that much.)

With any luck I won’t have to write another one for quite some time.

10 Responses to “My ultimate meal plan?”

  1. Penthe says:

    Cool. We can manage dinners and shopping list for a week at a time. Adding breakfasts and dinners would certainly increase our vegie and fruit intake.

  2. Ariane says:

    That's inspired. The meat-out-of-the-freezer turns out to be a regular show-stopper for me. Seems like a simple enough task, but apparently I am utterly useless post kid bedtime.

  3. mimbles says:

    Our fruit and veg intake improved dramatically when I started getting weekly deliveries. I get a phone call each Monday asking what I want and I can either specify everything or ask for a mixed box of whatever's in season.

  4. Deborah says:

    Many years ago, shortly after our Miss Ten was born, my partner finally persuaded me to start to weekly meal plans, and to shop to that plan.

    [I'm saying this next bit very, very quietly, so he doesn't hear.]

    He was right.

    It has made life much, much, easier, and I've done it ever since. Usually I plan the coming week's menu on Thursday evening, and shop for it on Friday. Sometimes the planning is a little loose, such as "Roast wev" on Saturdays, which means a roast of whatever is on special, but generally, it works very, very well for us.

  5. Alix says:

    Mim! You are a meal planning Rock Star! I bow to you. Now if only you would email me a meal plan for my family – knowing of course that with an 18 year old who spends half the time with her boyfriend's family, we never know how many will be at meals. Also… if my daughter is home, absolutely no fish. And no asparagus, artichokes, avocados, or onions please, but green beans are okay. Peas too – unless Larry is in town. No peas for him. And no bleu cheese or gorgonzola for either of them or they will spontaneously combust. Also no mayo, cream cheese or sour cream {unless it is only a little and duly hidden in something else like a sauce that doesn't taste like any of that is actually in it}. I'm okay with everything, but when does that matter? Okay, got it? Go!

    By the way, I didn't know people actually ate porridge. That's so cool. Makes you sound like you live in a storybook.

  6. Cathy says:

    Love it Mim. So good to have the idea, I can't believe you plan breakfasts! I don't think that would go down well in my household.

  7. yodaobi says:

    I can't believe nobody has mentioned your cool fridge magnets!
    =P

    I totally want to come over for breakfast on Thursdays! On the way home yesterday I'd decided on getting takeaways but William fell asleep and we ended up making pizzas instead. Much better got the tummy and pocket.

  8. Mel says:

    You've inspired me to do this again! Last time I did it I got Mr 9 (my fussy eater) to help design the menu. Saved a lot of complaints.

  9. Eternal Lizdom says:

    The past few weeks have been dreadful in the eating department in my home. Really bad is that I use the excuse that my kids are at least eating well (fruits and veggies) with their daycare provider (in home provider and she actually cooks them breakfast and lunch). But I need to get back on the cooking track… I just wish my husband would at least make an effort to express some enjoyment in what I cook.

  10. mimbles says:

    @Liz There's nothing worse than busting a gut to cook meals only to be confronted with a complete absence of appreciation from your audience. When my kids were younger and fussier it was horrible. I eventually trained them to say "thank you for the lovely dinner" even when I'd served up food they hated. But Adam has always been enthusiastic about my cooking, I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't…make him do the cooking maybe?

    @Mel Whenever I ask my kids what their favourite dinner is they say KFC, which is not so helpful on the meal planning front πŸ˜‰ This current plan is heavily tweaked towards Caitlin's preferences, and even so there are 5 or 6 dinners that she won't eat well.

    @Em I know! I totally picked the best ones to hang it up with LOL

    @Cathy I plan breakfasts because otherwise Tom demands something involving bacon every morning!

    @Alix Ummm…pass! I think I'd be making people fend for themselves with all those restrictions! Porridge is entirely commonplace in this neck of the woods, what, if any, hot breakfast cereal do you guys have?

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