Meal planning vs. flexibility

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I’ve tried various types of meal planning over the years.  I’ve tried writing out exactly what I’m having for each meal each day, I’ve tried assigning certain dinners on days to certain types of food, say chicken or Indian food, and I’ve tried winging it based on what’s in the fridge and freezer.

I don’t tend to find any solution wholly satisfactory. The best one was probably when I gave each dinner a different type of meat and then just chose a recipe to do for dinner that involved that meat.

Each type of meal plan seems to have bad points. Having different things every day can leave you random ingredients to eat up in the fridge, or say you open a pot of yoghurt – then you have to spend the next few days eating it up.  Choosing the meat for the day sometimes doesn’t work if you have more meat than needed and want to use it up the next day but it’s not on the plan.  And a repetitive plan gets boring quickly.

Some of the solutions to meal plans seem to be ever more complicated planning, and that leads to inflexibility.

Eventually with any kind of set meal plan I end up feeling like I’m eating the same foods over and over again. If I didn’t have a plan I think, I could eat what I want and I’d try out all these new recipes.

So I stop the plan and wing it, and what happens is I get overwhelmed by the choice, can’t think of anything to cook, and then the fridge runs out of food and I can’t think what to replace it with and I end up thinking, if only I made a plan, then I’d know exactly what food I needed and go and buy it.

And so the cycle continues!

My current plan is that I’ve written out a list on a white board in the kitchen of what meat and leftover meals we have in, and then each night I choose something for the next day. It works okay, but I end up with this nagging feeling that I’m not making the most out of my meals – so I sense change on the horizon again. The list of meat and meals is good though – I will keep that.

How structured is your approach to meals, and are you like me, constantly making plans and then not sticking to them for very long?

I secretly suspect, that actually I just like making plans and lists, and get bored carrying them out! We shall see what I come up with next.

 

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  1. evilcyber Says:

    The only thing that worked for me when I lost weight was not sticking like a slave to any meal plans. By Jupiter, that gets old pretty quickly when you simply can’t come up with something different and end up eating the same thing three days in a row.

    What I finally did was going to the supermarket, keeping my calorie allowance in mind, and choosing what hit my fancy and allowed me to stay within the daily limit.

  2. admin Says:

    That sounds pretty reasonable. Some people I know thrive on routine and eating the same thing every day but it drives me mad!

  3. Mum Says:

    I think it is always good to plan, but to have flexibility too. I was always limited by the amount of money I had to spend…still am, but not to the same extent. If you have the time to look round for bargains, then that will influence how you plan your meals.
    We are told by the people who collate the statistics, that one in three bags of food we buy is thrown away…that’s a lot of food. Maybe a bit more planning would not come amiss.
    Every so often I have a week where I just eat up the food in the freezer rather than buy any more!
    And some weeks….like Katy, in What Katy Did, I wish they would invent a new animal.
    :-)

  4. admin Says:

    Oh yes I always think of that bit in What Katy Did when I get fed up of thinking up what to cook for dinner!

  5. Mum Says:

    Preferably not horse though! How about venison or a brace of pheasant?

  6. admin Says:

    :) The farm shop up the road from us does some different meat – wild boar I remember seeing.

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