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I just read a post about a text to teach about real/whole foods to children and it’s prompting me to this post. I agree with the thoughts mentioned – whole, real food, etc., but…
I grew up eating white bread, frosted flakes, coca-cola, etc. I didn’t know about salads until I was a teenager. I couldn’t cook anything when I married, but in the 5 years before I had kids, I scoured cookbooks, made 2 week meal plans and had fun following the recipes, many of which were healthy. However, I didn’t learn to really cook. I can follow a recipe, but meal planning, shopping, cooking is my LEAST favorite things to do because I find it SO HARD because I didn’t learn the process smooth enough.
A couple of years ago, I bought a wheat grinder and bread maker and do make my own bread about 50% of the time (it used to be more, but since #4 was born, well…). I try to buy organic produce, dairy products and meat, but its putting it all together that I have a hard time with.
I would love to have about 4 weeks of meal plans written out with shopping lists prepared that I could rotate through. This would be a HUGE help to me, but I cannot for the life of me do this. I’ve started about a dozen times, but always get bogged down and quit. Then I feed my kids meals that are not what’s best.
I’ve tried meal planning subscriptions (The Scramble, Saving Dinner) and while some of the meals are a hit, others – not so much.
If anyone has some good advice or better yet an already put together plan to share, PLEASE do!
This may sound crazy, but do you have a list of your family favorite? If so, send it to me and I’ll make you some meal plans. I know that we are pretty structured in our meals so this doesn’t work for everyone. Here is how I do it. (I haven’t looked at the other site in depth but I did notice mention of Nourishing Traditions. This is how we eat all the time with a few allergy modifications.)
1) I have a list of our favorites and a list of what we want to try. Print out calendar months (however many you want to rotate through)
2) Here is our schedule:
Thursday: Soup, Salad, Sandwich (depends on the season and it’s typically a vegetarian night)
Friday: Homemade Pizza (gluten, soy and dairy free)
Saturday: Breakfast for dinner (omelets, pancakes, whatever you want)
Sunday: Our church has a potluck every Sunday so I have a variety of meals that I choose from but it’s always crock pot.
3. Take your favorite meals and plug them into a calendar. Each month I evaluate that rotation and decide if I want to insert new meals somewhere. Typically I do because my family likes variety.
Now as the month progresses sometimes we have to change meals around due to time constraints or preference. But, it’s not a big deal when you already have the things on hand for the meals. I shop once a month except for another trip for produce that doesn’t stay good for a whole month.
I hope that helps.Blessed with sevenMember
Well..I am listening in. This is an area I have been so frustrated with lately. I can ditto Christie’s post. I am so discouraged about this meal thing. We are a large family, 7 children, on a budget, I never feel like I have enough $ for groceries and end up angry leaving the store w/ food I do NOT want to feed the kids. I bought bagged salad last night because it was on sale and MUCH cheaper than buying all the ingredients for making a salad. We do have a garden going, well the kids do, but my daughters “crops” are getting bombarded by cucumber beetles. We eat from the garden until it is gone.
This too is the hardest time of day for me…I do not like it. It all feels so HARD, to try and feed everyone healthy meals that we can afford. I do not know how to put meals together so we end up eating all the same things over and over and I just buy a lot of vitamins, green drinks etc..etc..
Organic is out for me, I buy very little because where I live there is very little offered. We make our own bread but it is white bread..YUCK! I want to make sourdough but it looks really complicated.
Anyway..did not want to take over Christie’s post, just very glad she posted, I always come to this website when I get really discouraged, does that sound weird? I can’t even figure out the CM approach, I seem to complicate that too much but the people who post on this website are great! It just feels safe and comfy here!
Kim (homeschooling mom of 7)briedellMember
I have also been struggling with this. This post couldn’t have come at a better time:) Dave Ramsey always talks about a sight that has meal plan subscriptions. Maybe emeals.com? Anyway, our issues are being vegetarian, and myself trying to keep dairy out too. I looked over those meal examples and it seemed as though a lot of the recipes are using processed or pre-packaged items. I don’t want to do that for the most part.
We make our own whole wheat or spelt flour breads, and I do a lot of from scratch cooking. I just need to pull it all together into a monthly plan. Maybe this discussion will motivate me to do just that. I’d be interested to hear how you all do it.
Years ago, I had a meal plan that changed monthly. I wrote down every recipe I could think of that our family normally ate. I included a few extras from the cookbook that we’d like to try. Then I wrote them down weekly trying to make sure we kept some variety; i.e. not too many pasta dishes in one week, or too many bean dishes etc…. Then when I went shopping I’d make my list from the recipe items and get the things I didn’t already have at home. I do remember that it saved us money on our grocery bill too. Getting motivated:)2flowerboysParticipant
A great website for vegans is http://www.hacres.com There are some recipes online, but also go to SHOP and buy a great cookbook! The Recipes For Life is a great one-some recipes are hard but most are easy! This cookbook includes guides to healthy eating and living. The Healthy 4 Him book is awesome! Very easy meal plans for vegans! The author gives you a grocery list for the week and gives step by step instructions.
Although I love to cook, I do not plan out meals! I love to decide what my tastebuds want the same day–most of the time! I just can’t help it! I plan on making a “plan” this upcoming school year for at least 3 nights. Don’t want to cramp my style!! LOL!kimofthesavagesParticipant
I like to stick to “whole foods” too. I’ve gotten really bad about meal planning though. I know that emealz.com does have a vegetarian option but we do eat meat, so that doesn’t work well for us. Maybe we can keep this thread or start a new thread for meal planning and then when we do plan the meals for a week at a time (or more) we can post it to possibly give some of us others ideas or motivation. 🙂 I wanted to share with you all my all time favorite cookbook though… it is called “Whole Foods for the Whole Family” and has many family friendly meals in there. I get most of my ideas from it. I bought it at a le leache league meeting several years ago.
Polly, I’m sending you a PM with a favorites list. I’ll take all the help I can get in this area!
Anyone else with meal plans, please share. If you need a place to upload a created form, http://www.box.net is free and easy to use!
Just had to share. Hop on over to Donna Youngs prinables resource. She has a newer section on menu planning with printable forms. Looks promising:)
I’ve been trying the e-mealz.com low-carb plan. I’m finding it doesn’t really save me money and may be spending more because of my whole food organic ways. I have to make changes and substitutions to meals that don’t quite fit. For the same price I had tried another meal planner that also didn’t fit. It’s a nice idea, but neither are being put together by folks with my same food convictions, I guess. Pollysoup, I really like how you laid it out, might try that. I’m also thinking the Fundamentals e-course mentioned in the other thread might help a bit. I signed up but haven’t started the course yet. I’m so glad we’re having this discussion. It’s encouraging to see I’m not the only label-reading oddball out there. 🙂crazy4boysParticipant
Here is my spring menu and here is my summer menu with links to all the recipes. I use each of them for 3 months. Some of them may not be the most nutritious, but it’s a start for our family and a sanity-saver for me until I find more recipes I like.
Things like hamburgers for example. I buy grass-fed ground beef and make whole wheat hamburger buns. That’s pretty “whole foods”, right??? Or spaghetti, again with grass-fed beef and Barilla Plus noodles and a wholesome sauce. You can make ‘typical American’ foods more nutritious until you build a recipe file.
I have tried in the past to completely change how we eat and after a week or so of new dishes that bombed I start to dread cooking because I might waste ingredients and everyone will complain and sometimes I’ve had to make 2 dinners. Now I take our favorites and make them as healthy as possible and try new recipes a few times a month. When we find one we like I replace one of the less healthy meals we were eating.
I am working on the fall and winter menus and recipes and will post those later if you want.
Bridget, thanks for the forms link. I love a good form!
Melissa, I, too, love the concept of a meal planning service, but the 2 I tried didn’t fit us, either.
Heather, Thanks for the seasonal menus, this is exactly what I want to do, but with pre-made shopping lists added. I just find it overwhelming. The idea of slowly replacing less healthy meals is great, too.
Keep these great ideas coming, ladies!
A million thanks!!!
I was originally going to do grocery lists but because things always come up (can’t get to the store, already have the ingredients) that I decided just to make one right before I left. Because I have the menu already planned and the recipes already printed I can make a list in less than 5 minutes. I use one from Donna Young where everything is listed and you just check the box that you need it. I also made one just like it based on how my store is set up.
Heather, good point about the lists being easy to make if the planning is already done. I actually have preprinted ones that I made – one for the Grocery, one for Target and one for Costco. Doing it how the store is set up would be an even bigger timesaver!
I’m new to posting here, so I hope it’s ok for me to jump in mid-stream here… I’m not sure how you have your shopping list laid out, but I saved one so that I can adjust it as needed with separation per types of foods. IE – I havea a dairy, meats, canned goods, breads/grains, etc. Also, I just print out one for each of the stores I use and slide them into a page protector. This then hangs on the frig for ease of marking. I slip it onto a clip board for use in the store; erasing the marks as I pick up the items. It’s easy breezy.
Another idea for the recipes/ shopping lists… you can join allrecipes.com. It can be used for free, but if you join, you can manipulate recipes (ie- change ingredients, etc.) I believe you can add your own as well. You can save the recipes to your own online recipe box. Just choose the recipes that you want to use for the week (month, 3 months, etc) and the program will compile a shopping list which you can then print. It’s very nice and quite handy.
A last idea is to purchase your own computer recipe/ meal plan software and do this yourself. The upside is that it’s a one time payment for use. The downside is that you don’t have reviews from others (as compared with allrecipes.com). Here is one that I thought looked interesting and here is a listing review/ comparison of several that are available.
Hope this helps,
Hi Blue J,
I like the all recipes site reviews and I do have a recipe box there and I actually own Mac Gourmet, but I’ve not really used it yet. . Alas, why is this such a challenge to my brain?
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