Meal Planning?

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Friends, I’ve got something to chat with you about.  As mushy as it may sound, I value you.  I am fortunate to have your support of NP.  I love to hear from you.  And I listen to every ounce of your feedback and input with this whole thing.  Changes may be coming-nothing major, but I can’t innovate and keep things fresh around here without your assistance.  

Many of you have come to me with questions, requests and how-to advice with regard to meal planning.  I’ve given talks in the local community touching on this topic and the interest and desire is definitely out there to do it; but I’m finding it can be quite the challenge for some.

It’s something I do weekly-and it’s something thats taken quite a bit of trial and error to work for our busy family, just like yours.  I typically meal plan dinner for Monday thru Thursday or Friday, depending on the week-I take the weekends off because we love to fly by the seat of our pants on those days.  It keeps things manageable and achievable.  When you care about what and how your family is eating, meal planning can feel daunting; like a job in itself.  But it also can make life so incredibly simple, cost effective and healthful.  These reasons I am pro meal planning are grounds for an entirely different discussion, but right now, I’d love your feedback on the topic.

How can I help you with this?  That’s what I need to know.  Do you meal plan?  Do you desire for someone to help you with your plan?  Would it make things easier for you?

I’m toying around with offering “meal planning” through Nourished Peach.  There are several avenues I could take here and the options are endless.  But I can’t make my decision unless I know your needs and interest.  Because there is no point in me taking the time do this if it won’t help you and your family.

I considered doing a survey for your feedback, I really did.  But I want this to be interactive and I wan’t to get a discussion going with you all on this.  Let’s keep things raw, casual and personal-we’ve never needed any frills around here…let’s not start now;)    I’ve got a few questions for you…and if you would be willing to comment below we can get this ball rolling.  And if you would rather keep your thoughts private, which I totally respect, please email me your thoughts at melissaoprish@yahoo.com

I’m by no means looking for a commitment from you…I’m truly still trying to figure out if this is something worthwhile for me to do.  So for those of you interested in taking the meal planning work off your plate, here’s what I’d like to know:

Would you benefit most by having a weekly meal plan for Monday-Thursday or Monday-Friday?

How often would you like to receive a weekly meal plan?  Every week?  1, 2, 3 weeks a month?

Do you have other meals you desire to be planned or just dinners?

Are you willing to pay for a weekly meal plan service?

Would you like to receive your meal plans via email?

If you received a meal plan for Monday-Thursday/Friday, which day of the previous week would you like to receive your plan in order to purchase/prepare the ingredients?

Would you like a grocery shopping list included?  Or just recipes?

Do you appreciate receiving ideas for where to buy certain products/my favorite products when I post new recipes?  Would you like more tips like this with meal planning?

Do you like a mix of cooking methods in your weekly meals? i.e., grilling, oven baking/roasting, stove top, slow-cooker. What method do you prefer the most/least?

Do you enjoy utilizing leftovers? How often?

Do you prefer NP’s style of food?  i.e. family friendly, simple and easy, nutrient rich, no restricted diet, all things in moderation, minimally processed types of recipes?  What other types of recipes would you like to see more of in a weekly meal plan?

Other thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

So that’s what I’ve got, guys.  I think this could be a really awesome thing for all of us if we do it right..we just have some things we need to put into place before we can do that.  And I’m depending on your thoughts to get this in place.  I promise to keep you updated on the topic as I come up with new thoughts and ideas but I think this is a great place to start.

I look forward to hearing from you!!  xoxo

 

28 thoughts on “Meal Planning?

  1. I’ve been meaning to start meal planning. I’m interested in learning what works for you! I was thinking about a week at a time, but I know there are others far more organized than I am that could probably plan farther in advance!

    1. Sadie-its such a tough thing to do at the beginning…but once it becomes a habit you almost feel lost without it;) I definitely drift from my plan once in a while..but it allows me to work with the ingredients I’ve already purchased so theres no running back and forth to the market dragging my little ones along…which is HUGE for me 😉

  2. I am so interested in meal planning, I always say I’m going to and then it gets away from me. I would totally pay for this, and I think Monday-Thursday would work, I agree that weekends don’t need a plan. I love the idea of you emailing out maybe the Friday before so shopping could be done on the weekend, and I would LOVE a shopping list!! I’m so excited to hear more!! Great idea!!

    1. Girl, you are BUSY…I bet it so easily gets away from you! I really hope i can help with this…it is wonderful to hear your feedback. The shopping list sounds like its a must!

  3. I would definitely benefit from meal planning. Working full-time and with 16 mo twins makes it difficult to prepare good meals every night plus the twins seem to already by picky (how can this be?!) and so breadth of the food they’ll eat seems limiting yet I want to broaden it as well. I also seem to lose creativity even thinking about dinners. I would love information on preparation styles and tips plus definitely the grocery list – I seem to completely blank out even contemplating a grocery list not to mention walking aimlessly around the store. I would definitely give this a try!!

    1. Awesome, Amy…Im so happy to have your input! You sound super busy with those little ones on top of a crazy work schedule….having the planning taken off your plate might be great?! 16 months is such a fun stage…but boy do they have minds of their own or what? With my kids, we could have something one night for dinner and they adored it and then a week later have the same thing and they wouldn’t touch it. Little minds of their own:) but i give you major credit for continuing to try and broaden their exposure to new food…I promise they will catch on eventually. Nice work mama!

  4. I meal plan every week! I do it because it fits my need of knowing what we are having and to only make one trip to the store throughout the week. I would definitely be interested in your meal plans of you offered them. I feel like I already use your recipes for dinner throughout the week. I would mostly be interested in dinner meal planning because we usually take leftovers for lunch or do grilled chicken and salads. I agree Monday-Friday would be best because we also like to be flexible on the weekends. I think I would love 3 out of the 4 weeks a month and would since I do my shopping on the weekends, Friday would be best to receive them.
    Meal planning does take me time and I have a problem of falling in ‘ruts’ according to my hubby. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do, I love all your recipes!!

    1. Fantastic, thanks Mackenzie! It’s so easy to fall into ruts…even with all of the blogs, websites out there…we tend to get so comfortable with what we know/have made. Im so honored that you utilize my recipes on here…thank you!

  5. It’s funny….I was just talking to Dani this very afternoon about the fact that I do meal planning on the weeks that I have her because I want to ensure that she gets a week of healthy(ish), delicious home cooking.

    I’ll try to answer your questions in order….

    * I cook Sunday-Friday so the more days the better.
    * How often? Probably weekly for me. Monthly would be overwhelming.
    * Just dinners
    * I’m not sure it is a service that I’d pay for but I will say that every time I see articles on the internet relating to easy meals or meal planning, I gravitate towards them in the hopes that I might find a tasty new recipe or two to try.
    * Email or blog post would work great for outlining a weekly plan
    * I do my grocery shopping on the weekend, so would want the upcoming week’s info on Friday or earlier.
    * A grocery list would probably be kind of awesome – there would be less chance for me to make a mistake in my shopping.
    * I love when you tell us where you can find stuff in the stores. It makes life so much easier. In other words, keep the awesome Ninja secrets coming. 🙂
    * My slow cooker is the most used appliance in my house, and my grill is the least used. Truthfully, I fear my grill because I have no idea what I’m doing.
    * I always try to make sure to cook enough so that there are leftovers to send in Adam’s lunch the next day. I double most recipes – that boy can EAT.
    * Family friendly, easy to make, delicious to taste, and relatively healthy are right down my alley. What you do is perfect.

    I hope this helps some. Love you, Missi!!! xoxo

    1. Man is it a treat to hear from you, Shelly…and Im so happy to hear you take priority in getting some wonderful food into Dani’s cute tummy! Your feedback is so helpful and I will take every ounce of it into consideration if/when this moves forward. And “that boy” can eat, I know, because I am from the same darn blood…I love it! xo

  6. I really love your style of cooking, it fits my family perfectly. I would be very interested in trying out your meal plans. Weekly would be preferred. Mon-Thursday. Grocery lists and plans going out Thursday night would be my preference so I have Fri-Sun to shop. I like a variety of methods to be used, slow cooker, grill, whatever. Also, including tips/ideas on what could be prepped the night before or ahead of time to make things faster after work would be really great. It would be cool if it was seasonal as well, for example salad ideas when greens are in season, then tomatoes, sweet corn, etc. We have a csa box so meal plans using seasonal produce would be ideal for us. Anyway, my random thoughts! Great idea!

    1. Yes, girlfriend, to all of the above! I always try to utilize the seasonal veggies when I am able…and this would positively stay true with meal planning as well. I so appreciate the input on helping the recipes move along more quickly/preparing ahead…this could really be valuable to so many. Thank you, Rachel..Give Shawn and darling little Iris my best…its such a pleasure to keep up with you guys on social media!

  7. I was so thrilled when I read your idea of meal planning because I tend to get stuck in a rut. There are only the 2 of us, both retired (69 and 68) but our granddaughters come to our house everyday after school (13 yr & 8 yr.) I usually cook Sunday through Friday. Probably would like weekly planning but twice monthly would be fine also. I agree with Shelly that I’m not sure I’d pay for this service but I also gravitate toward looking for menus. I do lean towards healthier recipes without sugar and some gluten free meals. Email would be the best place for me to receive the planning. I lean toward shopping on Friday so would enjoy the grocery list on Thursday night. I cook mostly in the oven, slow cooker or stove top, some grilling in the summer. I want to thank you personally for taking the time to even considering this project. My son-in-law has encouraged me twice to join a weekly program to eat healthier with a weekly plan for breakfast, lunch & dinner with the grocery list. It was wonderful and it was a great benefit for all of us, I just want more than once or twice a year.

    1. Donna-I really appreciate your feedback…it sounds like the food you are feeding your family is a priority to you and high fives to that, so awesome! I hope I can make this work to lighten your load a little…I will take your input into account, this is very helpful, thank you!

  8. When we first started meal planning I looked and looked for a site that offered a service like what you are describing. I never found exactly what I was looking for. So we ended up on the same path of trial and error you described. I too have been asked several times how we come up with our plans. So we recently built a site, JaquesKitchen.com to share our plans. We have no intention of doing what you are proposing. In fact I would even be interested possibly utilizing such a server as I often need inspiration.

    What I have noticed with most services is that they seem rather rigid in their approach. Even if they have categories to accommodate special diets, gluten free, diabetic, etc, they still seem to have a one size fits all approach utilizing recipes I often don’t like. I understand why but it never quit met my expectations regarding flexibility. I would love to see something like that used as a “starter” and from there be able to adjust the menu plan according to my likes and dislikes. For instance lets say I receive the following as my “Starter Menu”:

    Monday, April 04, 2016
    Smoky Mexican Pork Stir Fry

    Tuesday, April 05, 2016
    City Chicken
    Whipped Sweet Potatoes
    Tossed Salad

    Wednesday, April 06, 2016
    Chicken Enchiladas
    Corn Salsa
    Avocado and Tomato Salad

    Thursday, April 07, 2016
    Spaghetti
    Tossed Salad
    Garlic Bread

    Friday, April 08, 2016
    Turkey Caesar Wrap

    (By the way I tend to plan 2 weeks at a time Monday-Friday with Friday being a dish that can be moved to lunch Saturday or Sunday)

    Now lets assume I don’t like any part of the Wednesday selections. It would be nice if there was a method of altering the menu selection(s) for that day.

    What we do now using MasterCook is then “print” the menu plan to pdf with recipes that we store on drop box for future use. However, I have started posting it to our blog since we set it up and found having it on the web much nicer. So if it were possible for this service to “host” my menu plan with associate recipes for me to access with prepping the meal that would be great.

    One other thing MasterCook provides that we do with the menu plan is to create an editable shopping list. With this software it is a bit time consuming but worth it. It simply takes the ingredients from the recipes in the plan and puts them on a list. We then have to “combine” the ingredients, this is simply a button we click. The result is that if several meals use shredded cheese, as would be in the menu above, then all those lines are rolled up into a single entry with the quantities needed added together. That is the easy part. We then have to go through and delete any thing that we already have in our pantry. Finally we have our “printable” shopping list. This too goes out to a pdf file on drop box. Then as we are shopping we simply scratch items off as we go using a pdf editing software on our phone or tablet. It would be great if the list was “hosted” as part of my profile ot plan and I could just tick a check box as I went along.

    To me that alone would be worth a reasonable subscription fee.

    Ironically, just this week I was sitting at the lunch table at work and this very topic came up. Several at the table mentioned it would be great it you could somehow generate a shopping list and then utilizing a list of grocery stores in your area have the service generate an shopping list showing which store had the best price for any given item. You could then choose to print a list for each store or if desired before printing move an item from a lower cost option to another store, for time saving reasons, customer loyalty, whatever. The group even mentioned that it would be completely awesome if the service even had the ability to submit the order to an online grocer now that those are becoming more common.

    They said the time savings for such a service would be worth a subscription.

    Just my 2 Cents.

    1. well your 2 cents are very helpful, thank you! so much valuable input here. A one size fits all menu is definitely not going to work for my readers as i believe they all have different wants and needs; but if they are fans of my site, they likely have a common interest: pro-nutrients, achievable, simple meals, minimally processed, family-friendly, craveable food…but I’m hoping to find a way to make it possible for them to customize their priorities with regard to favorite things/meal planning so we can work together to get them set up just perfectly for themselves. I am excited to research your notes more thoroughly…I appreciate it!

  9. Meal planning is a must at our household. We started before Macy was born to avoid trying to think of something at 5:00 p.m. each night, and now that we’re parents, it is REQUIRED. I love seeing other people’s meal plans, but Monday-Thursday would probably do it for us since we usually end up having leftovers and incorporating a date night on the weekend. I make my meal plan each Saturday for Sunday through Thursday and do all the shopping (or at least as much as I can) on Sunday. It has become kind of a fun event to go as a family (a.k.a. I get an iced coffee while dad chases Macy around in the toy section). I personally wouldn’t pay for a meal plan service since we’ve kind of mastered it on our own, at least what works for us. Also, I am a Weight Watchers member so I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to use as many recipes as I’d like! A provided shopping list wouldn’t be needed for me, but I would like to hear your tips about where to buy certain items! We LOVE leftovers and often make two main meals to cover four nights. Your recipes are right up my alley – delicious, simple yet complex flavors, healthy, clean, and family-friendly. We like to keep things simple and healthy, but it’s also important for us to step out of our comfort zone. I personally plan my lunches (so I don’t end up grabbing something unhealthy during nap time), but my main meal planning is for dinner. Hmmm…I think I answered almost everything – great questions!

  10. First off, I’d like to just bow down right now. How you do it, making it look so simple, I just can’t quite grasp. I have a hard enough time with my family of two! As you know, Pauly and I love everything NP. I’m certain it would taste better with your sweet touch but I love attempting your recipes and Paul’s always happy about being the taste tester! That said, I would LOVE to get on board with your meal planning/prepping/grocery shopping input. Weekly (or maybe every other) would work best for me M-Th. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds – exciting 🙂 xox

    1. Oh Bean…thank you!!! So glad to hear from you…and my dear you are BUSY..props to you for even cooking at all with that work schedule! I’ll keep you posted on things! 😘

  11. Yes, yes, yes times another 5 yes’s! I have been interested in this for awhile but can get hard as a party of one :). I’m used to splitting meals and putting containers in freezers but any other idea I can get I will take them! And yes, I love your recipes and have been raving for quite awhile! Xo

    1. Well now this just makes me ridiculously excited Miss Catie! Thank you for your note..You are so sweet. I think ideas for cutting down/multiplying recipes would be really helpful for so many..you rock! 😘

  12. I agree with Colleen, props to you! As for a meal plan option, I would subscribe in a heartbeat! This is definitely a service that I would be willing to pay for. Since that seems to be the industry standard and I make and love all of your recipes anyway, it’s a no brainier. Personally, I feel it would be worth more money if you included additional detail, i.e. your favorite products, where you shop (to help eliminate having to shop at multiple grocery stores), utilizing your CSA, including a grocery list and tips and shortcuts to prep for other nights. Such as a note to chop two onions when preparing Monday nights dinner and store one for Wednesday’s recipe. For me, the savings of time spent planning or trips to multiple stores wandering aimlessly along with simplifying and organizing part of my week would be priceless. With a busy summer approaching if I don’t plan for the week, my family misses out on the vitally important wholesome, nutritious meals that you offer. I can’t wait to see what you do with this potential new feature. I know it will be worth every penny! XO!

  13. I am interested in meal planning with a grocery list. I love your style of cleaning eating. I would pay for it especially if it saves me time. We are new empty-nesters and I want to continue to eat healthy but I’m over with the planing. Just keep it simple for me.

    1. I really appreciate your feedback, Nancy..thank you for taking the time and for your kind words! The planning can definitely get monotonous..and it sounds like you’ve had your fair share of it:) I hope I can help..I’m working thru some ideas that I think would be an awesome fit for you and I will be sure to keep you updated..More to come for sure!

  14. Hi Melissa, I was first introduced to your blog by Heather McCartan and then later met you when you presented at Pax Christi.  I enjoy reading your blog, and love the recipes. I am interested in meal planning, but I am a little complicated.  I do not do grains, and I have daughters with dairy allergies.  They can have hard cheeses, but not soft ones like brie/blue/gorgonzola.  (My favorites.) We do not eat a lot of processed food, so I find myself at the grocery store often.  I am planning to use the CSA that you suggested this summer.  (Very excited about it.)  I am lucky in that my family does not mind leftovers.  My current meal planning is two meals at a time that takes us through four days.  I would love to be more efficient, but this is as far as I got.  I have a good friend that created monthly meal plans, she prints them and keeps them in a binder. She has reused these for years.  I have always hoped to do something similar to this.  Two years ago I tried emeals.  They sent out a week of meals w/ a grocery list.  This did not work for me at all…  The emails became overwhelming and I struggled to keep up.  Years ago I tried Let’s Dish.  It was not for me as I prefer to serve my family less processed meals.  (Maybe this has changed for them now.)  I am interested to see where this takes you.  Thank you for your blog! Colleen Reid

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    Friends, I’ve got something to chat with you about.  As mushy as it may sound, I value you.  I am fortunate to have your support of NP.  I love to hear from you.  And I hear every ounce of your feedback and input with this whole thing.  Changes may be coming-nothing major, but I can’t […]Read more of this post nourishedpeach | April 5, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Tags: food, healthy, healthy eating, meal, meals, menu, organization, plan, planner, planning, recipe, recipes, weeknight | Categories: Tips + Tricks, Uncategorized, Words Of Nourishment | URL: http://wp.me/p3nv7M-2NN | Comment |    See all comments |    Like |

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    1. Thank you for your note Colleen…so great to hear from you! I give you so much credit for making your family’s eating a priority in your busy life! I think it’s so difficult to find a “one size fits all” meal plan strategy. My hopes, as I continue to work on this, are to help the majority of people by giving not only meal ideas but swaps, substitutions and prep tricks to make things a little easier. I am so grateful to have your support…more to come!

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