The meal planning system that saved my sanity

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  • Motomom Casper, WY
    Nov. 22, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    I suppose that this new way of organizing and planning meals works well for the younger generation. But I find it more difficult trying to keep up with the new technology in order to use this organizational system. I guess I am just older and because I was taught by my mother how to cook from scratch... I rarely ever use a recipe. I don't need cards and folders and such, because it is all in my head. I am grateful that I had a mother who taught me how to cook this way. I do keep a list of "dishes" to make. I chose the dishes I want to make for the week, make my grocery list from that, and go from there. Good luck, ladies! I wish you well.

  • Shuzzie53 HAYWARD, CA
    Oct. 21, 2013 8:27 p.m.

    Who wouldn't be overwhelmed and scatterbrained with six kids under 9?

  • BioPowertrain Detroit, MI
    Oct. 19, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    Hi Jennifer -- In the words of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, "I do not think ('scatterbrained') means what you think it means. Your system is the most organized and disciplined approach to feeding your family I've ever seen or heard of. I'd love to see an article or book entitled "30 truly easy, healthy and appealing breakfasts, lunches and dinners for large families with one or two picky children". But I have a pretty good idea why nothing like that has ever been published: IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND 90 RECIPES LIKE THAT.

    I'd LOVE to have someone prove me wrong. Jennifer, Jeanie and/or dawneula -- PLEASE give it your best shot!!! :)

  • dawneula Gold Hill, OR
    Oct. 19, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    Have you looked into a program such as Cook'n, the Everyday Food app, Whats4Dinner app, or Ziplist app? I love these programs and apps because I can create a menu and generate a shopping list with a few clicks of the mouse or taps with my finger on my iPhone. The Cook'n program is cool because if you find a recipe online you like you can import it into Cook'n and it includes the picture, ingredients and details. You can then change the ingredients if you like. You can create your own cookbook and categories. When creating a shopping list you can adjust the number of servings. I am in no way affiliated with the company other than I am a user of their program. You can share recipes with friends and family who also have Cook'n. They are working on the apps for the ipad and iPhone, etc. Check it out.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    "We avoid grains and processed food"...but then you say you keep chicken nuggets on hand.
    Do you you make your own?
    I found this article a little confusing. Think I have to back and read it again...

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Part 2

    The meals written on the magnet also have the cookbook that meal is found in along with the page number. If we find we use a recipe only a few times and then keep skipping over it we discard that magnet. If I want to try a new meal out to see if it deserves a magnet I'll write it in the day with a dry erase marker. If the family thinks it's a keeper it gets it's own magnet.

    This system helps me see if we are eating balanced meals with a variety of main dishes. I try to balance meat and other proteins and seeing it all laid out like this helps. The kids can easily plan meals with the board. Since both my hubby and I work and our kids are older they help plan and cook the meals as well.

    I must say, the weeks I do not take the time to plan end up being more stressful and haphazard.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    I love your suggestions.

    I do much the same as you, but instead of a printout I have a whiteboard that is also a magnet board. With permanent maker on the top half of the board I drew 7 section for each day of the week. On the bottom half I divided it into main courses and sides. The main courses are divided into beef, fish, pork, chicken, other (egg dishes, coffee cake, etc.) and veggie main courses. The sides are breads, veggies and fruit. I then wrote the title of the dishes we liked on card stock and put a peel and stick magnet on the back of each meal or side dish. These are all placed under their correct category.

    When it's time to decide what the weeks menus will be I just move the meal and sides I want to the day of the week. I also put the sides there too. It's almost like playing a board game. Like the author I don't worry about planning breakfast or lunch, Saturday meals are loose, but Sunday we like a great meal.

    I then generate my grocery list from this board and shop once a week.