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    • kinkine
    • By kinkine 8th Oct 17, 12:01 PM
    • 119Posts
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    kinkine
    Menu planning
    • #1
    • 8th Oct 17, 12:01 PM
    Menu planning 8th Oct 17 at 12:01 PM
    Hi folks, I am wondering if anyone can help me. I have decided to get organised and would like to find a monthly dinner menu planning template. I have spent hours looking on the internet, but they are either printable or they include breakfast, lunch and snacks. I've had a look on the Forum but haven't found anything. Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • NewShadow
    • By NewShadow 8th Oct 17, 12:23 PM
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    NewShadow
    • #2
    • 8th Oct 17, 12:23 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Oct 17, 12:23 PM
    Why not create an excel sheet with exactly the columns and rows you need?

    If you're not on windows, Open Office is an almost identical suite of programs which includes a spreadsheet tool.

    That way you can make it as easy or as complicated as you'd like
    That sounds like a classic case of premature extrapolation.
    • Ilona
    • By Ilona 8th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
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    Ilona
    • #3
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:22 PM
    The old fashioned way of doing it. Get a large piece of paper, A4 landscape, should be ok, ruler and pencil, draw a grid on it. Down the side write in the days of the week, along the top fill in the meals that you want to plan, breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper. Fill in the proposed meals in pencil then you can rub them out if you change your mind.

    ilona
    I love skip diving
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 8th Oct 17, 1:26 PM
    • 5,065 Posts
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    iammumtoone
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:26 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:26 PM
    Or a dry wipe board. Use a permanent marker for the lines/days of the weeks etc and a dry wipe marker for the sections that will change every week.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 8th Oct 17, 1:37 PM
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    LameWolf
    • #5
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:37 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Oct 17, 1:37 PM
    I use an OpenOffice spreadsheet, as NewShadow suggests.

    Column A is the date, B is the meal, C and D are for "notes" - eg is it a special day (birthdays, anniversaries, someone visiting, etc; I make a note if I'm going to have dogs staying, and which ones, as some are a bit of a pain in the kitchen so I stick to simple food when they stay). You could add a Desserts column if you wish, too.

    I have a 2nd page which is simply a list of the meals I can do, in alphabetical order. This is for inspiration, and for Mr LW to look at as I ask him to help meal plan with me (he has to eat what I cook, after all!)

    The 3rd page is my inventory of the freezer and cupboards, so that I know what I have in.

    On the meal plan page, meals in the past are in black; forward planned meals which could be swapped about if necessary are in red, and those "set in stone" ie that is what we are definitely having that specific day, are in blue.
    Last edited by LameWolf; 08-10-2017 at 1:40 PM.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • tiredwithtwins
    • By tiredwithtwins 8th Oct 17, 2:28 PM
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    tiredwithtwins
    • #6
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:28 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:28 PM
    wow lamewolf that's awesome!!!


    my post-it notes - one with the weeks meal plan and the other with a freezer stock list - scribbled on the fridge door seems to pale into insignificance lol ..


    sue xxx
    October grocery challenge - 116/200
    nsd oct = 4!


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    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 8th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
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    LameWolf
    • #7
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    wow lamewolf that's awesome!!!


    my post-it notes - one with the weeks meal plan and the other with a freezer stock list - scribbled on the fridge door seems to pale into insignificance lol ..


    sue xxx
    Originally posted by tiredwithtwins
    Thank you. *bows*

    I need to be well-organised; I have lupus, complete with the brainfog that is one of the joys of the illness, so having everything easily accessible on a flash-drive means we eat proper meals rather than random things thrown together with half the ingredients missing or substituted because we ran out and I forgot to buy more.

    I also keep a "rolling" shopping list, in two columns (one for @ldi and one for Morries) so that items required can be written on straight away. Not for me my mother's method of sitting down and scratching her head trying to write her list all in one go on Wednesday evenings (she shopped on Thursdays) and invariably omitting something essential.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 8th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
    • 3,161 Posts
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    jackyann
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
    I use a notebook - A5 suits me. As I mostly plan weekly - left hand page menus, right hand shopping.
    I find it rather more flexible than anything computer based, but that may just be my age!
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 8th Oct 17, 2:53 PM
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    iammumtoone
    • #9
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:53 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Oct 17, 2:53 PM
    When I was out of work I used Excel for everything meal planning/budget ect. I treated running my home/budget like a job, it gave me a focus and the sense that I wasn't completely useless.

    Now I work and use computers all day, I much prefer pen and paper at home.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 8th Oct 17, 3:14 PM
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    LameWolf
    As with so many things, it's "horses for courses".

    My shopping list is pen-and-paper, because I'm only writing a couple of words at a time, and of course I need to take it to the supermarket with me (I don't have a smartphone); but to do the meal plan etc, I need to write/type for quite a while, and that is a) painful with arthritic hands and b) illegible after the first few words, for the same reason.

    There's usually at least one computer switched on around here, and it's quick and easy to just bung the USB flash drive in the hole.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • MallyGirl
    • By MallyGirl 8th Oct 17, 5:14 PM
    • 1,967 Posts
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    MallyGirl
    I just write the menu plan out on paper as things change a lot round here - teen daughter with a long list of extra curricular activities and a DH who quite often has to work late.
    The shopping list, on the other hand, is in a phone app called Wunderlist. We all have it and can add / delete items as they occur to us or we buy something. It has a separate list for Costco and general shopping.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 8th Oct 17, 5:49 PM
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    jackyann
    I do use OurGroceries for lists. I don't like walking around the shops with my phone in my hand (I just can't manipulate it quickly) but I find the list facility great.
    I don't do a big 'supermarket shop' but use various independent shops and markets, and go to some when I am in that area.
    So I have the following lists, which were a bit of a nightmare on pen & paper:
    'wholefood co-operative'
    Lidl
    Waitrose (both of which I get to every 4-6 weeks)
    Boots
    Lakeland (so when I go to do an order, I don't forget the clingfilm or plastic bags!)
    • debtfreeforlife
    • By debtfreeforlife 8th Oct 17, 6:23 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 201 Thanks
    debtfreeforlife
    I use a small dry-erase board. If you have access to a laminator, you could draw up a plan that you like, then laminate it and write the week's meals on the laminated sheet with a dry-erase marker.
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    • Mr_Singleton
    • By Mr_Singleton 8th Oct 17, 7:11 PM
    • 681 Posts
    • 1,499 Thanks
    Mr_Singleton
    I have decided to get organised and would like to find a monthly dinner menu planning template.
    Originally posted by kinkine
    I would be seriously concerned about planning a menu 4 weeks in advance.

    Going to be doing a beef stew from David Leibovitz’s book “My Paris Kitchen” tomorrow after I found some excellent beef yesterday. Having that freedom is great.
    • ruby_eskimo
    • By ruby_eskimo 8th Oct 17, 7:15 PM
    • 2,229 Posts
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    ruby_eskimo
    I use a spreadsheet to plan the meals and then have a separate tab where I list out what I need to get. I then copy this in to mysupermarket and compare where the cheapest place is to get everything I need.
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    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 9th Oct 17, 8:08 AM
    • 3,161 Posts
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    jackyann
    I think we all find our comfort zone on the line from 'whatever I feel like today' to 'strict menu plan'.
    Most of us like to build in some flexibility to take account of offers (and price hikes), things that look good, weather changes etc. I think when you have been ding it a long time, it is second nature. But those new at the game often need to be rigid for a while.
    In the days before the internet, and shops had stopped delivering, I had 4 young children to take shopping! It was fine at smaller shops and markets, but supermarkets were a nightmare! Anyone remember Kwiksave? My DH used to do a monthly Kwiksave shop for all our basics, and I had a quarterly delivery from the wholefood co-op, so I needed some advance planning!
    • GreenQueen
    • By GreenQueen 9th Oct 17, 10:56 AM
    • 228 Posts
    • 512 Thanks
    GreenQueen
    I would be seriously concerned about planning a menu 4 weeks in advance.
    Originally posted by Mr_Singleton
    Agree. I plan on a weekly basis, and check what is left from the previous week (e.g. half a dozen mushrooms that need using up, etc). General items are written on the kitchen calendar in a spare column. If there's e.g. fish pie on the menu when I come to cook and we fancy breaded fish instead, I'm happy to swap with something using roughly the same ingredients.

    For the plan, I think about the things we usually eat - a roast meal, a leftover roast meal, a pasta meal, a soup and baked potato evening, a fish meal - and once they are on the plan, there aren't too many other gaps to fill. As I shop on Saturday, Friday tends to be a thrown together leftover meal. Breakfast and lunch tends to be fairly standard (apart from weekends), so don't menu plan, just check that there is enough bread/cereal/items for packed lunches.

    The secret to making a plan work is to keep it simple. If it's a complicated exercise that takes hours, you won't keep it going
    GQ
    • kinkine
    • By kinkine 9th Oct 17, 11:25 AM
    • 119 Posts
    • 259 Thanks
    kinkine
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I'm sorry I never replied earlier but I forgot my password and couldn't get back in! Lots to think about, lots of helpful advice.
    • PipneyJane
    • By PipneyJane 9th Oct 17, 1:27 PM
    • 582 Posts
    • 3,630 Thanks
    PipneyJane
    I would be seriously concerned about planning a menu 4 weeks in advance.

    Going to be doing a beef stew from David Leibovitz’s book “My Paris Kitchen” tomorrow after I found some excellent beef yesterday. Having that freedom is great.
    Originally posted by Mr_Singleton

    You can factor in a degree of flexibility. As long as you have a reasonable store cupboard, a minced beef meal can swap from Spaghetti Bolognese to Beef Chilli to Keema Curry depending on your mood.
    "Be the type of woman that when you get out of bed in the morning, the devil says 'Oh crap. She's up.' "

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    • S_Wales_Saver
    • By S_Wales_Saver 11th Oct 17, 6:15 PM
    • 233 Posts
    • 2,582 Thanks
    S_Wales_Saver
    Agree with New Shadow. Make your own spreadsheet template. I use google sheets which I access on my computer or tablet for planning, and on my phone while shopping. I cook for OH and myself, as well as two DDs and twin 9yr old DGDs. I plan for a calendar month.

    First column is date, 2nd the meal, 3rd children’s meal (usually the same but it gives the flexibility to do them a quick meal on the days that they have a late running activity).

    4th column is ‘what’s on) usually the twins activities, but could be appts etc, next is a column for school meal (so they don’t have fish and chips twice!). There’s a shopping column and a column for food to be defrosted ready for cooking.

    The following sheets detail expenditure on food, food for stores (bought at good prices and ‘bought back’ when used), toiletries, pet food and petrol.

    I do love LameWolfs idea of a running inventory so maybe need to add another page.

    It sounds complicated, but I keep a template and it takes about 15/20 minutes to fill in during the last week of the month ready for the new month. Using the mathematical properties of the spreadsheet enable me to know just how much I have left to spend, keeping my budget on track.


    I shop the first week for meat & fish to freeze and any frozen food, tins & jars that are not already in my stockpile. After that twice weekly for milk and yoghurt, fruit & veg and bread.

    Although the plan is there, I use a degree of flexibility. Meals can be swapped about, or chicken dinner changed to chicken salad if the weather is hot for example.
    Last edited by S_Wales_Saver; 11-10-2017 at 6:25 PM.
    Dor
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