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Planning out 3 months of meals - UPDATE: I did 2 months


Quill
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Let me start by saying that, although I am a planner in general, planning out meals has historically failed for me. So I'm not working from a great track record. 😒

 

My MIL will be staying with us for three months, beginning in a week or two. Though the word is that she is a good eater, not difficult over food at all, I am still anxious about having my act together WRT meals. I often decide on dinner on the fly, using staples we usually have in stock: chicken breasts, ground beef, pasta, crushed tomatoes, onions/celery/carrots...you get the picture. She will eat all of those things without complaint, but I would just like to feel that I have it better organized, so I know in advance what I plan to make. (This will also be true for meals other than dinner, but deciding breakfast on-the-fly is much easier than dinner.)

 

I was thinking of making a three month, loose menu. Theoretically, we would have better variety and I would have a better overview of what we're making on what nights. Theoretically, I will then buy the certain ingredients I need to make those items, rather than throwing something together off the cuff.

 

Do you do this? Is this a waste of time? A foray into repeated failure? Planning things is my natural response to anxiety, so I'm sure some of it is about that.

Edited by Quill
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If you do this, I expect you to post it here so I can steal it.

 

I'm no good at advance meal planning, either. :)

 

I will say, though, that if I was going to have a house guest for 3 months, my biggest concern would be making a plan to ensure that I had enough excuses to get out of the house and spend some time alone. It would drive me nuts to have a guest stay that long!

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If that's something you'd enjoy doing, why not give it a try!  I was happy when I had a busy family and could do that for even a week in advance.  It felt so good to know it was all planned out and I didn't have to figure out everything all over again every day.  You could always start out doing just a month of planning, and if it is working well, start planning out month 2 .

 

My biggest concern would be buying up lots and lots of food that we ended up not using.  That's why I'd maybe start with just one month.

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If you do this, I expect you to post it here so I can steal it.

 

I'm no good at advance meal planning, either. :)

 

I will say, though, that if I was going to have a house guest for 3 months, my biggest concern would be making a plan to ensure that I had enough excuses to get out of the house and spend some time alone. It would drive me nuts to have a guest stay that long!

It remains to be seen how well I tolerate having a long-term guest here. Very fortunately, I love my MIL and don't expect serious problems. Also, I believe DH will take an active role; I don't think he will leave it to me to take care of his mom.

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I know magazines do a month at a time. So you could sure do more than that.

 

I think it is either Woman's Day or something that has a month's meal plan.

Yeah...I don't want to use someone else's meal plan, though; there are too many variables and special issues to work around. But if it were a plan made up of things I know are workable for our family, it might be easier than having to keep figuring out meals every day.

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When I have guests (usually 7-10 days at a time) I alway post the menu plan on the fridge so they know what to expect. I HATE going to someone else's house and not knowing what to expect. We're going out to lunch but I don't want to eat a light lunch only to find the host ordered a heavy lunch and decided to fix a super light, late dinner.  My sister does that...I'm starving and she decides to serve cheese and crackers for dinner. 

 

So with that, I applaud you for trying to make mil's visit nice.  But I can only plan a week or two at a time...my life is too nuts to try longer than that. 

 

But it would be worth it to write up a list of meal ideas to refer to every week when you're planning that week's menus. Brainstorming once but using it for three months will eliminate some stress for you. 

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How much variety do you need? I know people who eat the same thing about 4 days each week and then add different things or eat out on the other days of the week.

 

If you could come up with about 10 different dinners, as an example, you could just keep rotating them unless you think of a better option on a given day.

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I think a three month meal plan would be too difficult to do.  

 

I suggest:

 

- Make up a list of meals you like cooking and eating, and group them by type, i.e. chicken dishes, ground beef dishes, pork, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

- Every week before grocery shopping, pull form this list by choosing 1-2 things from each category.  That way you don't end up with a week where you're having ground beef 5x!

- Your MIL might appreciate it if during the weekly planning, there was anything she was particularly hankering for.  It might be hard for her to never get a say... maybe she has a few favorite recipes she misses.  

 

 

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I would make one moth plan - and if you like a ton of variety - simply allocate nights with themes that don't have to be exact details but you still have an overall idea of what will happen. Thai night, Mexican, etc. 3 months would be overkill for us. I'd just repeat the same monthly plan.

 

I also do things like roast chick one night - soup for lunches the next day and maybe with salad for dinner - and some leftover-based dish for another night. I would th spell out the exact plan the week of as it arrives.

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How much variety do you need? I know people who eat the same thing about 4 days each week and then add different things or eat out on the other days of the week.

 

If you could come up with about 10 different dinners, as an example, you could just keep rotating them unless you think of a better option on a given day.

I want at least two weeks without a repeat, but then I would also want the next two weeks to be different from the first two weeks, although many might be repeats or near-repeats of things in the first two weeks. (That sounded confusing.) So, if day one was chili, day two was salmon, day three was chicken stir-fry, I don't want any of those things to turn up again for two weeks. After two weeks, they can turn up again, but not in the same order, not again day one chili, day two salmon...

 

We eat out very infrequently and I expect it to happen less with my MIL here.

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I'm not seeing WHY a 3-month plan would help you.  

 

I'd plan for the week based on her input and what is on sale/in season/fresh that week.  By asking her input for at least a couple of meals each week, she will feel taken care of/respected and by doing it as you go week by week, you can better predict what you have to prepare and what you want to make that week.  

 

I don't see the utility in having a meal plan 10 weeks out.  There will be many nights you switch or you see a good sale on fish or MIL asks for something in particular or you decide to order in.  I am betting you'd put a lot of work into it but it would be abandoned at some point.  The key to successful meal planning is to do it in manageable, achievable chunks and get into the habit of repeating it regularly.   

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When I have guests (usually 7-10 days at a time) I alway post the menu plan on the fridge so they know what to expect. I HATE going to someone else's house and not knowing what to expect. We're going out to lunch but I don't want to eat a light lunch only to find the host ordered a heavy lunch and decided to fix a super light, late dinner. My sister does that...I'm starving and she decides to serve cheese and crackers for dinner.

 

So with that, I applaud you for trying to make mil's visit nice. But I can only plan a week or two at a time...my life is too nuts to try longer than that.

 

But it would be worth it to write up a list of meal ideas to refer to every week when you're planning that week's menus. Brainstorming once but using it for three months will eliminate some stress for you.

I really like the idea of posting the menu on the fridge. That is a GREAT idea for so many reasons, and it will help her exercise her brain.

 

I think you're right, too, that I can brainstorm once and then use that info repeatedly.

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I'm not seeing WHY a 3-month plan would help you.

 

I'd plan for the week based on her input and what is on sale/in season/fresh that week. By asking her input for at least a couple of meals each week, she will feel taken care of/respected and by doing it as you go week by week, you can better predict what you have to prepare and what you want to make that week.

 

I don't see the utility in having a meal plan 10 weeks out. There will be many nights you switch or you see a good sale on fish or MIL asks for something in particular or you decide to order in. I am betting you'd put a lot of work into it but it would be abandoned at some point. The key to successful meal planning is to do it in manageable, achievable chunks and get into the habit of repeating it regularly.

I think the reason is because when I have to keep planning for the upcoming week, I'm somehow bad at this. I can't figure anything out and it takes me an hour to come up with five meals. My SIL says MIL will not ever say she has a preference about any food, to the point where it's a joke: "Oh, I'm fine, I'll just drink some bleach for lunch." So, I don't know - I can certainly ask her, but it sounds like it's better for me to be prepared to decide without much input from MIL. Also (not that you asked), but when I have tried to get a meal plan together by asking DH, he wants a bunch of things on there that I don't want to eat, so I guess that is my flaw; I'm picky.

 

But there is a good chance you are right in that I would put a lot of effort into it and then would abandon it. So far, I have never had success with anything like Once-A-Month cooking, for example, because it gets messed up when variables come into play.

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I have done lots of one month meal plans over the years, and a few two months. I usually plan 20 meals for four weeks, with a few repeaters. The other 8 days are a mix of leftovers, light nights (grilled cheeses, eggs, you're on your own nights), or eating out. Then you can just take the same menu and repeat for month two and three, changing up the days. You can make your shopping lists weekly or monthly.

 

The hardest part is coming up with the meals your family will all eat (of course). Make a list of all the meals you cook for your family and count them. Only 5? That's a lot of repeating, but maybe your family is ok with that. If you can come up with at least 10, you are only repeating twice a month if you mix in the light, leftover, on your own days.

 

Sometimes it is helpful to think of each day as a type, like meatless Monday, taco Tuesday, crockpot Wednesday, pasta Thursday, breakfast for dinner on Friday, etc... Or you can do it by the main protein ingredient, like rice and beans on Monday, ground beef dish Tuesday, chicken dish Wednesday, Fish dish Thursday, pork dish Friday, etc..rotating your favorite proteins. Then just have sides, sauces ,etc you can flex.

 

Planning can be fun and stress relieving, even if you ditch or alter some plans later. (Just like homeschool planning lol..) It took me a while to make a one month meal plan and grocery list, but once I had it made I could use it over and over and then there is almost no stress or time spent deciding the worst question in the history of the world...."What's for dinner?"

 

If you really get into it, I suggest leaving one day a month for trying out a new recipe. If it is a hit, you fold it into the plan. That helps keep it from getting too monotonous...

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OK, Quill, this is good.  Isn't your name Danielle?  Anyway, this topic deserves a special notice or social group.  People are just busy nowadays. 

 

I started doing this about 2 years ago.  But, not for 3 months.  This is what I've done -

 

For years I've collected recipes and enjoy adding to my recipe box.  My box has become so big that I use a utilitarian "file" box. LOL!

 

I divided my recipes by category and used dividers upon which I labeled that category.  My Mom's and Dad's recipes as well as other family members' recipes happily reside in a "file folder" labeled "Family".  Only family recipes go in that file. Others include: Entrees, Side Dishes, Breads and the list goes on. 

 

You didn't ask for recipe collection organization but honey you got it! :)

 

When I started a couple of years ago, I was getting stressed out for not having a decent meal on the table.  Now, I like spontaneity once in a while and love just finding whatever for a meal every now and then.  But, it was becoming too frequent and we were not eating well. 

I made a "monthly calendar" template.  It's blank.  Each box is divided by a horizontal line so there is a top half and bottom half.  In each day's box I hand-wrote the names of two meals.  One in the top half and one in the bottom half.  I've used approx. 29 days x 2 is 58.  However, only a few are repeats through the month. I wanted to come up with enough ideas to not repeat hamburgers every 5th day.  I looked in my recipe box, online, books, etc and found a lot of meals.  I probably have about 45 - 50 days worth of meals so I only repeat a meal once every 45 - 50 days.

 

I'd like more meals!  Creative ideas to include more ethnic meals.  

 

I'm not great with coming up with meals from current foods.  I'd like to do better in that area.  My brain is geared towards recipes first then supplying food for the recipes which I don't like b/c it's a lot of unnecessary trips to the store and what I buy gets old.  I'd love to improve upon using what I currently have and creating a meal to use those foods up before they expire.  :)
 

HTH!

 

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I want at least two weeks without a repeat, but then I would also want the next two weeks to be different from the first two weeks, although many might be repeats or near-repeats of things in the first two weeks. (That sounded confusing.) So, if day one was chili, day two was salmon, day three was chicken stir-fry, I don't want any of those things to turn up again for two weeks. After two weeks, they can turn up again, but not in the same order, not again day one chili, day two salmon...

 

We eat out very infrequently and I expect it to happen less with my MIL here.

Is your family okay with that much variety?

 

I know that sounds weird, but if everyone loves your macaroni and cheese (or whatever,) they might be more than happy to have it once a week, which would make your meal planning much easier than if you try to be creative and come up with 14 totally different meals plus another 14-17 meals that are a bit similar to the first 14 but are still not the same.

 

We eat out a lot so none of this applies to me, but I think it would be a real pain to try to have that much variety -- and the grocery shopping would be a nuisance, too. I would definitely need a list.

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I am very strange mix of fly by the seat of my pants and planning. So I might plan a month's worth of meals and it ends up lasting two months, because, well...life. I am ok with that because I have a deep freezer and nothing is going to waste if I don't follow "the plan"

 

I have everything on hand to make lots of meals. If we decide to eat out or scramble eggs, everything stays in the freezer. If I have already thawed meat, I either cook it the next night or cook it into something that freezes well. Like I can just brown the ground beef and refreeze it for chili or spaghetti, or throw the chicken in the crock pot to shred and freeze. Or I just make burgers for lunch the next day or something like that. I am very flexible with it and I don't let it rule my life. I just decide the night before what tomorrow will look like and what I feel like cooking. I like knowing that everything is on hand for that meal if I just thaw the meat.

 

I did not have as much success with once a month cooking, although having chopped frozen veggies for soups and stir-fry or the occasional pre cooked meat is helpful. Sometimes I double a recipe and freeze spaghetti sauce or something but I don't cook a month's worth of meals. I also keep a couple of oh no, I forgot to thaw something options. Like frozen pizza, jarred pasta marinara and a box of pasta, or a bag of shrimp that I can do a quick thaw under running water.

Edited by CaliforniaDreaming
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Can you take your MIL to the grocery store with you and let her pick out foods she likes? She might like to help plan a few meals here and there, and might even offer to cook. It might be fun for her and a way to keep her from getting bored, as well as to make her feel needed and like she's not being a burden to you.

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OK, Quill, this is good. Isn't your name Danielle? Anyway, this topic deserves a special notice or social group. People are just busy nowadays.

 

I started doing this about 2 years ago. But, not for 3 months. This is what I've done -

 

For years I've collected recipes and enjoy adding to my recipe box. My box has become so big that I use a utilitarian "file" box. LOL!

 

I divided my recipes by category and used dividers upon which I labeled that category. My Mom's and Dad's recipes as well as other family members' recipes happily reside in a "file folder" labeled "Family". Only family recipes go in that file. Others include: Entrees, Side Dishes, Breads and the list goes on.

 

You didn't ask for recipe collection organization but honey you got it! :)

 

When I started a couple of years ago, I was getting stressed out for not having a decent meal on the table. Now, I like spontaneity once in a while and love just finding whatever for a meal every now and then. But, it was becoming too frequent and we were not eating well.

 

I made a "monthly calendar" template. It's blank. Each box is divided by a horizontal line so there is a top half and bottom half. In each day's box I hand-wrote the names of two meals. One in the top half and one in the bottom half. I've used approx. 29 days x 2 is 58. However, only a few are repeats through the month. I wanted to come up with enough ideas to not repeat hamburgers every 5th day. I looked in my recipe box, online, books, etc and found a lot of meals. I probably have about 45 - 50 days worth of meals so I only repeat a meal once every 45 - 50 days.

 

I'd like more meals! Creative ideas to include more ethnic meals.

 

I'm not great with coming up with meals from current foods. I'd like to do better in that area. My brain is geared towards recipes first then supplying food for the recipes which I don't like b/c it's a lot of unnecessary trips to the store and what I buy gets old. I'd love to improve upon using what I currently have and creating a meal to use those foods up before they expire. :)

 

HTH!

 

 

Yes, my name is Danielle. 😊

 

This sounds well-organized. I do have a three-ring binder that is, essentially, my recipe file. I have tabbed categories for a whole bunch of different kinds of food, even one called "fun things" that has recipes for dog treats and boiled eggs made to look like mice. Ususally, if I try a recipe and it is a hit, it goes into this binder. I should look at this binder more often for the planning part. I do tend to forget about recipes because I get stuck in that mode of just flying blind again and again.

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I would do one month and repeat it twice. Try to incorporate leftovers. I like this because sometimes there are items that are easy tibdozble batch make and then just thaw for the next time it's on the menu.

 

I used to schedule in one day a week for leftovers, usually on grocery day. If there are no leftovers, that's a take-out/pizza/restaurant day. If you don't want to plan every meal at home, build out days into the schedule.

 

When I work a long term plan, I always like to have containers for easily freezing leftovers so they won't go to waste.

 

Good luck. I think you are wise to plan ahead. Three months with my mil would be challenge enough.

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I used to do a month at a time and then I'd just recycle that month over and over. After 4 weeks, a recipe seems fresh again. I'd occasionally change it up a bit seasonally, but it was pretty simple. I planned one beef, one fish, one chicken, one pork, one soup or salad meal a week, and then I'd assume one night we could eat out and another we'd have leftovers. 

 

It was really easy. I just picked 4 of my favorite recipes from each category and arranged them into weeks so that I didn't repeat the same kinds of meals in the same week. For example, if I had an Italian inspired chicken and beef recipes I liked, I made sure they weren't in the same week, but rather spread them out throughout the month. 

Edited by Paige
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I often plan my meals for three, four, or more months at a time. I use a cheap paper calendar and pencil in what we will have. I often erase and move things around as life happens, but it is really helpful for me to have something on paper. It takes a lot of mental energy for me to meal plan, and long-term plans ease that stress.

 

I do repeat. My trick is to plan out the first week or two. Then I think about how often I am willing to eat those meals. Usually every six or eight weeks. I merely count down eight weeks on the calendar and write that same meal on a day on that week.

 

This works better for me than having a Week A menu and a Week B menu, etc. that I rotate in its entirely, because our schedule tends to shift around in the evenings, as my four kids each join up and then complete various after-school activities. If your afternoons and evenings follow a typical pattern week to week, you could just plan to rotate entire weekly menus.

 

I have certain days of the week when I know I will not be home until right before dinner, so I plan for the crock pot on those days. I also think in categories. For example, soup on Sundays, chicken on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, etc.

 

Or if you are willing to eat things every four weeks, just make a one-month plan and rotate through it three times.

 

It is definitely doable, but write your plans in pencil and don't be stressed if you have to modify them as you go along. Think of the long-range menu as a blueprint that you will follow but tweak.

Edited by Storygirl
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Is your family okay with that much variety?

 

I know that sounds weird, but if everyone loves your macaroni and cheese (or whatever,) they might be more than happy to have it once a week, which would make your meal planning much easier than if you try to be creative and come up with 14 totally different meals plus another 14-17 meals that are a bit similar to the first 14 but are still not the same.

 

We eat out a lot so none of this applies to me, but I think it would be a real pain to try to have that much variety -- and the grocery shopping would be a nuisance, too. I would definitely need a list.

Yes, actually, we pull from a lot of meals already. Nobody here is very picky; I'm the pickiest, but some of that is because I shouldn't eat dairy and I only like meat in limited ways. (For example, I like grilled chicken breasts, but not thighs, whereas the rest of my family likes thighs and prefers them, actually.)

 

So, my initial brainstorming on my notepad here beside me has 15 meals that are already go-tos we make often, and another 10 that we make once in a while. I do like the suggestion up-thread of leaving a space here and there for trying something different.

 

Grocery shopping is already a nuisance for me ðŸ˜, in part because I try to stay in budget, and in part because I go to five or six different stores, depending on other factors, and they are in different directions. So, I go to Costco usually once a week or, two weeks at most, but I can't get everything needed there alone. I often go to Aldi for prices, but that is in a different part of town. I go to the food-co-op for my Earth Mama frou-frou foods, but I can't buy *everything* there. I go to Harris Teeter sometimes - love their deli and produce - but that is in still another direction from all of my other errands. The most convenient grocery to me is one I only go to in desparation because I like nothing about that store, from the inattentive staff to the produce that should have been removed a week ago. 😬.

 

This may be why grocery shopping is the domestic task I loathe the most.

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That's what I've been doing the last couple of months. I made a Publisher calendar. I sometimes have to change things (like when an evening event comes up during that time), but I'm still glad to have it. I'm much better at planning in a large chunk up front.

 

I intentionally cycle some meals in when it's been about a month; three months of unique meals would be too many. And I put cookbook page numbers on for recipes I need to look up. I print one month at a time and post in the kitchen.

 

 

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nm.

 

I went to fix a typo in my post, and somehow the whole thing disappeared. :glare: I still don't know how I managed to do that, but I'm sure it was my own fault!

 

Basically I was wishing I could be as structured and organized about menu planning as many who have posted in this thread.

Edited by Catwoman
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Grocery shopping is already a nuisance for me ðŸ˜, in part because I try to stay in budget, and in part because I go to five or six different stores, depending on other factors, and they are in different directions. So, I go to Costco usually once a week or, two weeks at most, but I can't get everything needed there alone. I often go to Aldi for prices, but that is in a different part of town. I go to the food-co-op for my Earth Mama frou-frou foods, but I can't buy *everything* there. I go to Harris Teeter sometimes - love their deli and produce - but that is in still another direction from all of my other errands. The most convenient grocery to me is one I only go to in desparation because I like nothing about that store, from the inattentive staff to the produce that should have been removed a week ago. 😬.

 

This may be why grocery shopping is the domestic task I loathe the most.

 

 

When I had my rotating menu, we significantly lowered our grocery bill. I was no longer buying things for one recipe that ended up half used and shopping was easier because it was predictable. I should really get back to it. I quit when we moved and things were hectic and then my computer died and I lost my files. 

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Can you take your MIL to the grocery store with you and let her pick out foods she likes? She might like to help plan a few meals here and there, and might even offer to cook. It might be fun for her and a way to keep her from getting bored, as well as to make her feel needed and like she's not being a burden to you.

Yes, my SIL said she would bring her to the grocery, but not every time (it takes longer). SIL said she made it a point to include MIL in part of the meal prep (although she can't really manage doing a whole meal). It's good for her to be included in some way, like rolling some meatballs or cutting up things for a salad, so I do plan to do that.

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I would plan eight weeks of meals. Then, to have a menu for the rest of the time, I would take the first four of those weeks and put them into a randomizer (like those free websites that will generate bingo cards for you) and put those randomized meals after the first eight weeks. So that way you'd have 12 weeks of meals and there would be no chance of repeats too close together.

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I've got this calendar on my fridge.  I fill in dinner plans in pencil.  I only plan one week at a time, but this makes it easy to look back and get meal ideas if I'm stuck.  And since the calendar has all of our activities & appointments, it's easy to see how much time I'll have in the kitchen to cook and how many boys will be home to eat.  In theory, it should stop the "what's for dinner?" question, but it doesn't.  

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I think a three month meal plan would be too difficult to do.  

 

I suggest:

 

- Make up a list of meals you like cooking and eating, and group them by type, i.e. chicken dishes, ground beef dishes, pork, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

- Every week before grocery shopping, pull form this list by choosing 1-2 things from each category.  That way you don't end up with a week where you're having ground beef 5x!

- Your MIL might appreciate it if during the weekly planning, there was anything she was particularly hankering for.  It might be hard for her to never get a say... maybe she has a few favorite recipes she misses.  

 

 

This is basically what I do now. I keep a list on the fridge of meals that I either have in the freezer, have most of the ingredients for or have a taste for. Then before grocery shopping each week I look at the list and make sure I have everything for a few of the meals on the list. 

 

It's sort of a flexible laid-back plan. 

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um...3 months..wow..I hope you like her

 

:lol:

😇 I do. Seriously, I do think I am very lucky because, though she has some dementia, she is not (or not yet) a mean old lady. I know this does often pan out that way, but so far, she is reportedly not difficult to have in the home. My SIL whose family situation is most similar to mine told me that, despite her anxiety about how it would be, they came to love having her there and were sad when she moved on to take a "turn" at another sibling's home.

 

I am optimistic about taking our "turn." Who knows how many more turns we will even get - maybe none? I also think this is a great opportunity for my children to witness elder care, which is often shut away from many kids.

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I've got this calendar on my fridge. I fill in dinner plans in pencil. I only plan one week at a time, but this makes it easy to look back and get meal ideas if I'm stuck. And since the calendar has all of our activities & appointments, it's easy to see how much time I'll have in the kitchen to cook and how many boys will be home to eat. In theory, it should stop the "what's for dinner?" question, but it doesn't.

Totally O/T but Judomom, I love your beautiful avatar dog! ðŸ˜

 

Ok, so the guinea pig was actually doing judo, but your dog might be dreaming about judo, right? ;)

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I think the reason is because when I have to keep planning for the upcoming week, I'm somehow bad at this. I can't figure anything out and it takes me an hour to come up with five meals. My SIL says MIL will not ever say she has a preference about any food, to the point where it's a joke: "Oh, I'm fine, I'll just drink some bleach for lunch." So, I don't know - I can certainly ask her, but it sounds like it's better for me to be prepared to decide without much input from MIL. Also (not that you asked), but when I have tried to get a meal plan together by asking DH, he wants a bunch of things on there that I don't want to eat, so I guess that is my flaw; I'm picky.

 

But there is a good chance you are right in that I would put a lot of effort into it and then would abandon it. So far, I have never had success with anything like Once-A-Month cooking, for example, because it gets messed up when variables come into play.

I find it easier with the sales circulars from the grocery stores open. First, look at what you have on hand and then what's cheap in the circulars and make a list of meals from that.

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When I had my rotating menu, we significantly lowered our grocery bill. I was no longer buying things for one recipe that ended up half used and shopping was easier because it was predictable. I should really get back to it. I quit when we moved and things were hectic and then my computer died and I lost my files. 

 

My family prefers to eat the same 10-15 dinners and once I got on board with that it really helped my grocery bill. I don't buy as much variety at the store and that seems to help my bottom line.   Other people manage to serve a wide variety of things without having wasted food but I wasn't able to accomplish that feat. I gave up (which was made easier by the aforementioned family who likes the same thing over and over). 

 

Quill, I'm impressed that you don't serve repeats frequently AND that your family eats such a wide variety. 

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I like meal planning and I do it weekly, but no way could I plan three months.  My weekly plans are just "suggestions" to myself and a way to ensure that I have everything on hand for what I want to prepare.

 

I do like the idea to put a menu on the fridge so your guest can have some idea of what is coming up, since I hate the not-knowing and not having control over what I get to eat that happens when i'm a guest for an extended time at someone's house; I like the idea of asking MIL for menu suggestions.  But I also know that since my own menu plan, posted on the fridge, is really only a suggestion, and not something I rigidly adhere to, it might end up being a source of frustration (for the guest).

 

My kids are always looking at the plan and telling each other what we're "going to have", which I then have to correct because we ate out last night and so are having last night's food today, or it turns out that there was no ___insert ingredient here___ after all, or I just don't feel like it tonight...and so on.

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I find it easier with the sales circulars from the grocery stores open. First, look at what you have on hand and then what's cheap in the circulars and make a list of meals from that.

I never look at the circulars. They are so confusing and cluttered!

 

I know I would save money if I comparison-shopped, but I don't have the time or the energy to make detailed store-by-store lists. I generally shop at whichever store is near me when I realize I need something, and I figure that the total amount I spend will balance out well enough in the end, because one store will have some things I need on sale and another store will have other things I need on sale, so if I get everything at one store, I still get some things on sale without having to waste time going from one store to another. I know I don't save as much as I could, and I don't use coupons, either, so basically I'm just a lousy grocery shopper.

 

But I have already mentioned that I'm not a big meal planner, so I tend to wander around the store and plan my meals as I shop. I don't do detailed lists unless I know I'll be buying a lot of items that I don't normally get and I'm afraid I'll forget them if I don't write them down.

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The cooks on Submarines do that. They get food for 6 months, before they go out to sea.  They have everything aboard before they leave. There was an "Extra" (overseas viewers see them when U.S. viewers are getting commercials) that I saw about that, a number of times.   Possibly you can get menu ideas from a U.S. Navy web site?  GL with this 3 month  visit!  

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For me it would be a failure and waste of time. I can plan 2 weeks of meals max

 

And in our house, at Breakfast, everyone eats something a little different. My wife made Breakfast for 4 people (including herself) this morning. When I took the plates to the dining room table, everyone had something different.  I think Breakfast is the hardest meal to prepare, because everyone wants something different, or, cooked differently.  

 

BTW:  How you pronounce your Screen/User name?  If you can, please post a link to an .mp3 of that...      :huh:

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Totally O/T but Judomom, I love your beautiful avatar dog! ðŸ˜

 

Ok, so the guinea pig was actually doing judo, but your dog might be dreaming about judo, right? ;)

 

Aww, thanks!  That's Jed, our extremely spoiled 5 American Eskimo.  And honestly, he's such a chicken, he's probably dreaming about hiding behind me while I do Judo :lol:.

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I'd consider it a waste of time.

I don't know three months in advance what will be on sale at a given time, which vegetables will look appetizing, how the weather is going to be, what I will feel like eating on a given day. I don't know on which days I will have commitments beyond my regular work schedule. Nor can I predict how much the teen will eat (depends on his workout schedule) which affects whether a large meal can serve for two days or is eaten up. Nor do I know on what day I will have how many of my teen's friends at our house.

 

I also see no purpose in making a schedule. As long as you know what you are making by the time you start cooking, that is plenty.

Edited by regentrude
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