Do you plan your meals for the week?

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Do you plan your meals for the week?

Post by Mander » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:18 pm

Just wondering if anyone does this and whether they find it helpful. I tend to decide what's for dinner that day, and I often realize at the last minute that I don't really have anything appropriate in the house for lunch. Hence I end up eating a lot of haphazard lunches that are just thrown together.

I suppose this also ties in with the concept of "intelligent defaults", but I have yet to develop sensible default meals.

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Post by oolala53 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:33 pm

It is very useful to develop the habit of anticipatory grocery shopping. I know that most of my meals are going to have certain ratios of food types so I make sure to buy those things. I look for deals on those foods, buy in quantity at times, cook simply, freeze if necessary, and add sauces at meal time. I always have several servings of meat, dairy, cooked or dry grain and legumes, high fiber breads or other flour products, starchy veggies such as squashes and potatoes, and a variety of fresh and frozen veggies and fruits on hand. I don't cook the whole meal fresh every time or even very often. I take a lot of leftovers to work for lunch, where I keep a panini press to heat sandwiches or wet foods wrapped in foil. (I don't like microwaves.) I tend to shop before the supplies are completely depleted. I did this even when I was an overeater. I don't plan what I'm going to have on which day, but it's just me to prepare for. If I had a family, I imagine I would have to be more specific. If I want to supplement with a burrito or pizza from a fast food joint and add my veggies, I do.

However, if you're happy with your haphazard lunches, no worries. If you find that you can keep to the 3-meal (or whatever) structure with the shopping habits you have now, no problem. But it would probably be interesting for you to check the intelligent default thread anyway.
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Post by wosnes » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:34 pm

I don't plan as in Monday I'll have this, Tuesday I'll make that and Wednesday I'll make the next thing -- and so on. But during the week I'll think of things I'd like to eat and I make note of them. When it comes time to do the grocery shopping, I plan from that list. Also, I have one substantial meal daily and one that is light, usually soup. I'll plan on making a pot or two of soup during the week and they will form that lighter meal.

I do make smaller batches of soup, usually about 4 servings, so I don't have huge pots that I'll get sick of before I finish or will take up lots of space in the fridge or freezer.

Sometimes I make a roast on Sunday and plan to use the leftovers during the week.
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Post by ~hf » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:55 pm

I plan 6 dinners, complete with sides, and 1 night of left-overs for each week. I don't assign which dinner will be eaten on what night though. I leave that to be determined by my schedule that week. Some meals require more prep time or longer cooking time than others so I just match the meal with what my day looks like. As for lunches, I usually keep it to left overs or a batch of soup (with toast) that I eat from during the week...Of course this is when I'm on top of things. Often, I find myself eating pb&j with a glass of milk for lunch. It's my current default. ;-)
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Post by mimi » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:24 pm

I usually plan one or two crock-pot meals each week since there are several nights (actually three!) that I don't get home in time to cook...last night we had Hawaiian Chicken - 6 boneless chicken breasts, a drained can of pineapple tidbits, and a bottle of Target's Hawaiian BBQ sauce - super easy and delicious. I simply serve over brown rice and add a fresh salad. It's just my husband and me, so there is enough left for another meal and leftovers for lunch.
Sometimes I just cook a crock-pot full of beans - navy or pinto - and use them for different meals.
Like the previous posters, I don't necessarily plan what I will have on each specific day, but I think about what I would like and then shop accordingly when the time comes.
I think the important thing is to plan meals including foods that you love and will look forward to...goes a long way for me in keeping me from derailing!

Mimi :D

P.S. My default lunch is Bumble Bee's Sun Dried Tomato & Basil tuna medley - comes with crackers and a little spoon in the package. In fact, I keep several of them in my car for days when I don't have time to pack lunch or don't want to eat fast food somewhere. Add a piece of fresh fruit and instant lunch.
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Post by reinhard » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:52 pm

We have been for the last year or so, for logistics rather than "diet" reasons.

With two young kids (and another on the way) and both of us working full time, logistics can be tricky if you actually want to eat a home cooked meal every night. Planning ahead, especially with one or more multi-night "big pot" meals, makes this not exactly easy, but certainly less difficult.

For my personal lunch at work, I have my "default" of oatmeal ingredients always on hand, though my new job encourages a lot more eating out with colleagues so I don't have recourse to it quite as often as I used to.

For breakfast, my main default is "garbage disposal," coming up with interesting ways to breakfastize and dispose of bits of leftovers too fragmentary to turn into a full family meal (throw an egg in and anything becomes breakfast). Occasionally the rest of the family will partake of my impromptu concoctions with me, but usually they'll stick with more conventional breakfast food (oatmeal, toast, English muffin, cheese, fresh fruit).


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Post by milliem » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:26 pm

I try to, for budgetary reasons as much as dietary! It saves me going out to the shops every evening looking for something to eat (and shopping when hungry is a terrible idea...) and saves me time when I know what to cook rather than spending half an hour umming and aahing about it.

I find very useful :)

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Post by Mander » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:15 am

The "garbage disposal" method sounds like my lunches. Add broth and anything can become soup!

I'm just not a very organized person, or rather, I find that I unconsciously rebel against anything that threatens to impose order or issue commands. So I find it hard to plan meals, even though I actually want to. Perhaps I'll get back into the crock pot habit.
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