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POSITIVE41's Photo POSITIVE41 SparkPoints: (33,325)
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12/1/13 6:48 A

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I think if you menu plan at ALL you are doing great. I am always surprised at how many people wing it.

I go by what is on sale and what I have to use plus what activities are going on with the family.

My goal is to have red meat only once a week and to not go overboard on pasta. So far this has worked for us.

PS - I post a menu on the fridge which the kids like because when they come home from school they know what they are having for dinner.

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein


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JMBLRC's Photo JMBLRC SparkPoints: (2,267)
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3/22/13 1:57 P

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When I plan for meals, which I do off and on, it tends to go like this:
Monday: Meatless - Pasta
Tuesday: Chicken
Wednesday: Pork
Thursday: Fish
Friday: Meatless - grab bag (meaning I can do another pasta like dish, a salad, a soup)
Saturday: Chicken
Sunday: Leftovers or Roast

I like to decide the day of what I am in the mood for - like chicken and rice, stuffed chicken, etc. So I leave it open. Sides go with whatever we are having and I pick up plenty of rices, veggies, and fruits to accommodate. Whatever I miss I just pick up at the store, since it's a mile away. As far as breakfasts and lunches go, we usually do the same kind of things - cereal or eggs during the week with one big breakfast on Saturday that is usually homemade pancakes, sandwiches and salads for lunch. I struggle with breakfasts and lunches big time. I stay at home which is wonderful, but just because I stay at home doesn't mean that I want to spend all my home time cleaning up dishes, so I stick to easy meals in the AM.

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NANS_NEW_VISION's Photo NANS_NEW_VISION Posts: 43
3/14/13 5:10 P

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I try to be flexible in my menu planning each week, depending on what is on special and in season. To make sure foods are fresh I shop 2 or 3 times a week. Since I am using public transport and have to carry everything myself, and don't have a lot of fridge or freezer space, I try not to buy too much in one go.

I generally cook enough for 2 or 3 servings and then have the leftovers the next day for breakfast or lunch.

This week's dinner menu plan:

Monday - Quinoa stir-fried" rice with beef mixed vegetables

Tuesday - baked rainbow trout, scallops (both bough fresh that day from the fishmonger), broccoli spears

Wednesday - roasted guinea fowl with an amaranth stuffing (mixed with chopped leeks and carrots), asparagus with melted butter

Thursday - mussels cooked in garlic butter, fresh carrots and fine beans

Friday - game stew made using venison, leftover guinea fowl, chopped leeks, red onions, carrots, and mushrooms

Saturday and Sunday - undecided yet

I'll probably have fish one night. I like to eat fish the same day I buy it for freshness.


Rediscovering who I am, one tiny step at a time.


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MARGOMCP's Photo MARGOMCP Posts: 8,670
12/23/12 10:06 A

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I try to make my menu planning a little easier by buying larger cuts of meat that I can cook, then use the "leftovers" for soups, stews, etc. I enjoy trying new recipes so used some left over roast beast to make my husband cottage, or "shepherd's" pie (technically, shepherd's pie is with lamb; one doesn't shepherd cows :-)

I'll cook a chicken and make stock with the bones and/or soup, etc. Christmas eve we're having ham so I'll have all sorts of ham dishes (including eggs benedict :-) in the following weeks and it freezes well. I have a recipe for ham potato chowder made in the crock pot that I love.

Edited by: MARGOMCP at: 12/23/2012 (10:07)

There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. ~John Mortimer


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LYNNWILK2's Photo LYNNWILK2 Posts: 2,607
11/11/12 1:10 A

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Living alone and buying organic from a farm (more so over the summer and early fall months) and I froze a lot to get through the winter and early spring until my favorites are back in the farmers market and farm stand... I have learned to planning is essential and prevents waste. Organic food being more dense food, I don't eat as much as if I were eating the GM stuff or the processed stuff- my nutrient rich foods allow my body to feel satisfied and very very few cravings (however I was craving cauliflower today).

SO A challenge for November was to find new winter veggies that I could try and see if I could start incorporating them into my monthly eating plan. The trick is buying a small enough to taste at first and having a back up if I didn't like them (I am a very picky eater-more so in the cold months).

So I planned 4 cooked meals a week... I cook enough to have at least 4 left over servings for lunch and other dinners. I then cook 2 small meals -usually fish and veggies or a salad and then some rice or quino or barley. When I cook rice I cook enough for the weeks meals that will include it, I do the same with some of my steamed or roasted veggies (mostly to extend shelf life). So Sunday and Wednesday are my primary cooking days that I make a over backed meal and crock pot meal on those days... takes about 45 minutes for preparation of both meals and then cooking times vary. But the oven meal is usually less than an hour and the crook pot, I like to cook all day so I can smell it and then I would be hungry for it that night. When they are done, they are packaged in meal sized portioned glass containers with the sides in bags beside them... If I have extra, it gets labelled and put in a plastic container that is then labelled and put in the freezer, an entire meal can be saved in two bags so I just have to pull out the bags when I am needing a bag and they are generally small enough that they will thaw in less than an hour.

Sounds complex, but the planning is really the part that is the complex. Once I get the meals I am going to eat that month or for the majority of the month I call the farmer and order my meats, diary and eggs. Then I hit the farmers market and see what is available that i would eat, then out the the farm to get the fresh meats (usually not frozen yet)... and I am able to come home and split the meats up and freeze what needs to be frozen. I do the same with the veggies... blanch the veggies if they can be, so I can just take them out of the freezer in serving or cooking amounts.
I have recently started adding sprouted beans and peas to my diet... they are a bit more time consuming as they need to rinsed three times a day and sit for three days. I was afraid of missing a rinse and messing up a whole bunch of beans. But now I set the times on my cell phone to go off when I need to rinse and I have been pretty successful in adding them to stews and soups and even on salads or alone as they are sprouted.
My next big thing to try is to start fermenting my own veggies ... I will probably try that in December or January. To add the advantage of freshly fermented (weird I know) but better than canned or bottled. I also would like to start dehydrating my fruits like apricotes and bananas and apples so that I can have those as treats with some nuts.

be authentically you...
it's journey, not a one day hike.

BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE SparkPoints: (75,744)
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11/9/12 7:13 P

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Amazing. I don't remember writing the two earlier posts. Meal planning has definitely gotten easier for me since August. The Nutrition tracker is very helpful. Also, I am doing ETL with help from the Full Plate Diet. ETL keeps it simple and Full Plate Diet supports with suggestions on how to add fiber. At first it was difficult working in 2 pounds of vegetables. It is still difficult getting all of that eaten, but the planning is much easier.

I guess habits are forming.

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BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE SparkPoints: (75,744)
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8/20/12 10:42 P

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I am so proud of you for sticking to your plan, your menus, AND your budget. So necessary during this economy, but it will serve you well right through retirement and old age, because you will have health and wealth.

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YOJULEZ's Photo YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,605)
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8/20/12 7:01 P

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I've been meal planning since May, so this challenge will be easy :) I think it's fun, I like figuring it all out, and I like having meals to look forward to. I do it on Wednesdays after the grocery ads come out, and between what's on sale and what I have in my freezer, I build the next week's menus off of that, usually by using my Pinterest recipes page. I will only buy what is on my list, so I avoid buying junk if I happen to be hungry when I'm at the store or I see something yummy in the bakery department :) Even my BF (that I live with) knows that if it's not on my list, he's not getting it, so he better make sure I get it on the list. This also really helps me save money since I do also have a budget I have to stick to.

My meal plans are just written out on a piece of paper, and I stick it to the fridge. I also enter my foods in my tracker the night before (sometimes even 2-3 days at a time), so I know what I need to add/subtract to say within my goals for the next day.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 8/20/2012 (19:02)
Working on maintaining at 140!

If you're interested in checking out the food I've made and liked, come visit me on Pinterest, and feel free to follow me:
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BRAVELUTE's Photo BRAVELUTE SparkPoints: (75,744)
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7/30/12 10:28 P

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I'd love to know how you manage the monthly menus. I struggle with using Spark people and planning 3 days ahead. I'd be happy getting to a week of plans that meet my desire for tasty, healthy whole foods.

Does this team have an idea of what makes real food real? For example, are all meats real? Personally, I consider range fed chickens and their eggs to be whole food and healthy.

Paying it forward at
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Download the Full Plate Diet E-Book at
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MISSG180's Photo MISSG180 SparkPoints: (107,139)
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7/9/12 8:41 A

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I have been terrible about planning my menus, but now my 26-year-old daughter is living with us, and she is much more of a veggie eater than hubby, so I'm feeling more inspired. I sent her to the grocery store with free rein to bring home whatever veg she felt like, and am cooking based on what's on hand, which works well for me.

Miss G


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LADY-JAENH's Photo LADY-JAENH Posts: 140
7/8/12 11:18 P

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I have been planning my menu for a month at a time for a few years! I love knowing what were having, it helps to know what prep work may need done ahead of time, and what foods to have on hand. It also cuts my grocery bill down a lot. I find that we eat healthier and are much less apt to eat out grabbing fast food when its planned. I keep all my menues so I can recycle if I am not going to get it planned. I have it written out for 1 week at a time. It helps the kids knowing what to expect as well!

Lady Jae
Family first and forever!
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MISSG180's Photo MISSG180 SparkPoints: (107,139)
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3/25/12 9:15 A

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I have been incredibly sick and barely eaten for the last two weeks. Getting back to cooking will be a good thing for me.

Miss G


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COCK-ROBIN's Photo COCK-ROBIN SparkPoints: (73,409)
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3/18/12 1:03 A

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It's a challenge I've been following since I began, but I'm signing on to this one.

Don't give up!

Marc from Topeka, KS
I go with either Marc or CR.



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YULLABELLE's Photo YULLABELLE SparkPoints: (17,370)
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1/5/12 4:42 P

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I like this idea because I now have a new way to shop. Instead of sugar and junk food. It's more fruits veggies and healthy low fat foods. I love the crockpot meals and recipes I get from spark people and keep using them at every chance I get.

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EARTHSEAME's Photo EARTHSEAME Posts: 4,474
10/20/11 7:04 P

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For one month, try creating a menu every week and a shopping list.

Post it here or blog about how it worked for you and what you learned. What did you hate about it? What did you like so much that you'll continue doing it?

-Evie


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