Thursday, May 25, 2017

Meal Planning - year?

Have any of you heard about the meal planning for a year?

I have to admit, the idea is VERY intriguing for me.  There obviously is a TON of prep to this, but I have quite a bit of time on my hands, so I thought it might be worth giving a try.

Especially since we will be living in a place (very soon) that is a minimum of 20 minutes from any kind of grocery store or restaurant, eating in is VERY important and getting the right groceries is even more paramount.  There is no running to the store really quickly for butter, eggs or that kind of thing.  Unless Dollar General sells it - which they actually might, BUT I bet it will not be the natural butter we like or the farm eggs we get at the farmer's market.  Just saying.

The premise here is to divide foods into categories.  Such as with dinners,  Mexican, Pizzas, Pork Dishes, Beef Dishes, Asian Cuisine, Italian, 'Merican, Breakfast night, Chicken, Soups, etc - ideally 7 to 14 different categories with a minimum of 14 meals in each category.

Then, you would just repeat those meals - with adjustments to the seasons based on availability of some foods - like pablano peppers in the summer!  YUM!

You would do the same for breakfasts (if that is a meal you need to plan -like me) and lunches.

Then, just plug it into a calendar or spreadsheet and there you go!

Some tips I have seen that make sense:

  • Keep the meals to things your family likes, then every now and then experiment with something new when there is time.
  • If you know there will be a season that is rough (like soccer season), then plan easy meals
  • When the family gets sick and you get way off your menu - don't worry about it, just jump back in when everybody is healthy again.
  • Add in some out to eat nights - then those will really be treats!

This a very fluid way of planning for a year - if you do not like repeating meals a lot, then you don't have to come up with so many.  Me, I like a LOT of variety, so I will be brainstorming for dinner ideas, but for breakfasts and lunches - wash, rinse, repeat.  I don't like to spend any time on them.

I am quite excited about this - it makes so much sense to me.  We plan meals anyway, why not just go ahead and take all the planning out in one full swoop!

 Do any of you plan for a year of meals already?


  1. Ha! I barely plan by the day. Typically, I plan the next day's meal while clearing up after dinner. The plan can change, though, as days unfold. Sunday is always a roast lunch of some sort....beef, chicken, turkey or pork, which means Monday is leftovers. But, I can, in 115 minutes, (not counting ccoking time) get a meal on the table from what is in my freezer and pantry. That requires me to shop wisely. So, if whole chickens are .67/lb., you will see me buy half a dozen. Same with boneless, skinless breasts at 1.69/ lb. That wqy, I never have an "oh, I have nothing for dinner." I don't shop for a recipe, I find recipes to suit what I have, purchased at rock bottom price. I do have friends who use meal planning apps, and what happens more often than not, is they plan menus, then shop for the ingredients. This seems backwards to me. (Birthdays/Christmas/Easter are different. I will splurge fir a special ingredient then.)

    1. 15 minutes, not of these days I will bite the bullet and buy a laptop so I don't make these silly typos on my E-reader

  2. I always plan for a week.......sometimes I can get 2 weeks planned but it is painful LOL. I can't imagine doing a year. I'll be interested to see how it works for you. I'm not that organized, haha.

  3. I have a short list of favorites, and we also buy the same ingredients pretty much week over week. So, I suppose this is a version of that? I certainly don't meal plan that far in advance, but our pool of recipes & groceries remains really consistent.

  4. I plan for a year for some things. We share a google calendar as A family and that's where we meal I add dinner with links each night (we don't plan breakfast or lunch as it really doesn't vary) and for those meals we like/are easy I just use the repeat feature and repeat it every two, three, six weeks or whatever. So... spaghetti (every 4 weeks) and soup night (every 6 weeks)show up automatically for weeks in advance and I refine the weeks when we are a month out or so. Pizza appears every Friday. I just have to add new things to the open days!