Okay, fellow chicks....I am officially having a temper tantrum from having to do all this menu planning. UGH!!
I HATE it! But I know without it I am doomed to fail. It's so time consuming! Will it ever get easier???? Ever????
I think my problem is that I am planning only one day in advance. This weekend I will have to lock myself in the den and plan out a week at a time.
I am doing the Wendie plan and it is so strange to me. Some days you eat more, some days less. All while trying to keep a family happy at the same time.
I'm bending over, please feel free to kick me in the pants :o
01-08-2010, 01:11 AM
LOL, you can do it! I know it is a pain. I don't menu plan but some days I stomp and fuss because I am sick of counting calories. So I feel your pain :)
01-08-2010, 01:25 AM
Planning more than one day at a time sounds helpful. You have a good plan.
I can relate it to restocking my medications into a weekly planner. If I don't do that, it makes each day a struggle.
01-08-2010, 01:39 AM
It does get easier as you go along. Absolutely. You establish yourself some meals that you enjoy and can repeat those and mix and match. You will also just get more used to it. It's new right now - and foreign. You're not used to it. It's uncomfortable. You must work past the initial discomfort, allowing it to become natural and normal. And it will. It will become second nature. Hard to believe, but that's what happens. Luckily we are pretty adaptable.
Failing to plan IS planning to fail, IMO. Things that are important, things that really MATTER, DO take some time and advanced thought. So be it. Eating healthy won't happen on it's own, no way, no how. It needs and deserves our full attention.
But is it really THAT much of a pain? If you ask me nothing, but nothing was more painFUL than being super morbidly obese. THAT was downright miserable. Each and every day and all day at that. I never had a moments peace. Any time spent towards getting healthy and then remaining healthy is time very well spent!!!
01-08-2010, 09:00 AM
I plan out dinners when I'm being good, but I do so more from an economic and convenience stand point. It's not my favorite thing to do either, but I think it becomes sort of second nature. Yeah, I skip it sometimes, just like sometimes I skip dusting. But eventually it drives me crazy enough to get me going again.
Here's how I do it:
I just jot down the side of a piece of paper the days of the week between grocery trips with enough space to fill in food items. Then I grab a cook book or a recipe site from online. I fill in the name of the dish and a memory jogger for where the recipe can be found. (like family recipes pg 162). I take note right then and there of what ingredients I need to purchase and jot them down on a second piece of paper.
And that's it! It never takes as long as I think it's going to.
01-08-2010, 09:31 AM
I also hate planning every morsel ahead. I find it tedious, and usually don't want what I was planning by meal time. That could lead to bad choices, but there is a way around that .
I buy only the foods that I like, that are low in calories and high in nutrition...a nice selection of fruits and veggies , salad stuff and proteins.
Proteins get frozen in individual portions ...so if I think I might want chicken for dinner, it is easy to defrost.Veggies are quick & easy to steam, braise w/ a bit of olive oil and garlic, or roast. If I get too busy to cook, there is always something easy like humus, yogurt cheese, salad. already made soup, beans etc....
I keep a note pad handy and just jot down the number of calories as I go along...and make sure I leave enough for a late night snack.
01-08-2010, 09:41 AM
I used to hate it but at the beginning I relied heavily on WW cookbooks because I didn't want us to eat the same baked chicken every night......it does get a lot easier the more you do it though. Sitting down and making the time to do a few days or even a week at a time might be a good route for you to try so you don't frustrate yourself every day with it.
01-08-2010, 09:44 AM
I still hate it most of the time, it's true. Though I count myself lucky that it's just me, so if I eat the same thing for a week at least no one is complaining about what a boring cook I am :)
01-08-2010, 09:47 AM
I'm the one that gets bored lol my little minions will eat what ever I put in front of them ;)
01-08-2010, 10:09 AM
It gets easier. I used to stop by the store on the way home from work and I hadn't done that in a while since I started planning ahead. So, I've had a bad week and had to stop by yesterday afternoon and whoa! what are all these people doing here and I didn't get home until 6:30 to start cooking. And I used to do that several times a week!! No wonder I didn't have time to exercise, clean house, keep up with laundry...............
01-08-2010, 10:20 AM
It gets easier. I couldn't live without it now. At first I would stress every day over what to make that would work for me and keep DH happy. Now we sit and plan 3 weeks at a time together and then grocery shop. Sooooooo nice to have it all planned.
01-08-2010, 10:34 AM
. Sooooooo nice to have it all planned.
Yes!!! It makes life so much simpler. Having thought about it ahead of time, takes away the decision making process when it's time to eat. Sets one self up to make better choices. If you're hungry and don't have it planned out, there's a good chance you'll make a poor choice. It's great knowing where your next meal is coming from. One less thing to think about.
I do leave a little flexibility in there. I have lots of healthy ingredients on hand. If I'm in the mood for this salad instead of that salad, no big deal. My meals are basically interchangeable calorie wise. I can easily switch out one lunch for another. One dinner for another, etc.. This is where the gets easier part comes into play. It takes a bit to get to this stage.
01-08-2010, 10:36 AM
It definitely gets easier and less overwhelming. Maybe try planning for three days at a time. Hang in there; it pays off!
01-08-2010, 10:37 AM
I plan my meals - sorta! in that, i can't say for certain that i'll want chicken stir fry on Wed, but I know i will at some point this week, so i'm sure to have stuff on hand for it if that makes sense?? I freeze a lot of meals so I have "go to" food readily available, and sides like veg and salad are always around so it's easy-peasy!
And something Dr. Oz said was like a lightbulb going on for me - i was stressed out thinking of variety and trying new things ( i still like to try new stuff) but he said "have a handful of healthy meals that you love and eat them all the time!" he said to "automate your breakfast and lunch" so you don't even have to think about it -- lucky for me, the same old doesn't bother me much (just like i NEVER got tired of double cheeseburger/fries/diet coke as my menu choice multiple times in a week). Same with dinners, I have a dozen or so favourites that are healthy and i rotate them, make extra and freeze them so it's always ready and EASY to grab.
Stressing over something, or hating something makes me think I'd stop doing it, right?? You have to make it an automated process that doesn't bug you ~ you just gotta figure out what that is :)
01-08-2010, 10:41 AM
Yeah, like everyone said, it gets much easier. Once you have a few solid base meals in your back pocket, if you're stressed about what to plan, you can always throw those in. And on weeks when you're feeling more adventurous and like you have more time, you can try new stuff.
Also, I think that your plan to do one week at a time is much better than one day at time. It's better for grocery shopping, and allows for more variety if you need to pick something up for a new recipe.
01-08-2010, 10:53 AM
My life is planned, so meal planning fits into it pretty well. One night is basketball, one night is a cheer meeting, one night is NCIS night (thankfully it doesn't overlap too often) and another night is something else. I had to fit food in before, so now it is pretty similar but I am making different food choices. Last night was "grab bag" because a) it was thursday and nearing the end of the week so we had leftovers and things to eat b) it was DD's basketball practice night (cancelled, but you get the idea).
I think it's important to use this time to find foods you like. Along the lines of the tastebud thread, really taste the healthy foods and discover all of the flavor that commercial, prepared foods can't offer. If you are choosing between going to the wings place and getting wings and nachos and staying home with an iceberg lettuce salad and dry carrots, you are setting yourself up to fail (Been there, done that!). Enjoy this time to discover the things you will actually get excited about. They are out there!
I typically start with a vegetable and build the meal around that. For example, I thought some winter squash would be yummy. How can I use that? I could add some sweet onion, canned tomato, garlic, oregano and basil. Okay, now I need protein. How about a lean pork chop. Okay, so saute the onions and garlic in a large skillet, when "see through" add the tomato and squash and seasonings. While sauteeing, get out the lean pork and either bake or (my favorite) put on the Foreman Grill. Spray well to keep it moist and feel free to add seasonings to it. About half an hour later, voila' healthy, yummy dinner.
Just wanted to add - Think about the money here also. I dont know about you, but if my family of 4 goes to a wing place for dinner and has a minimal amount of alcohol the bill, with tip, is usually about $60. The squash was $3, the tomatoes $0.75, garlic - $2/week, seasonings - $6/month, pork chops - $8. I have now fed my family on about $13. We are saving money BIG time!
01-08-2010, 01:33 PM
Planning has gotten much easier for me. I used to write down everything I was going to eat in advance. Now i just plan out dinners and I actually just plan that those are the dinners I'm going to eat sometime this week. The only reason I don't plan every bite anymore is because my breakfast, snacks and lunch stay pretty consistent throughout the week so I don't feel like i need to map them out. however I guess I do plan for them in a sense, since I buy the same foods week after week and I always pack my lunch the night before and take extra food if I think I might be out late. It's really second nature now...so yes it becomes easier :-)
01-08-2010, 01:43 PM
This was also very hard for me at first. What has helped me was boiling a whole bunch of eggs for the week, I know Ill eat them either alone, with tuna or egg salad. I also buy campbells handheld soups they are low in cals and they actually taste good. I also shop at BJ's wholesale and buy all my fruits, pepperoni, string cheese, yougurt and things like that because I eat them almost daily. I only really cook one meal per day which is dinner and its easy.
01-10-2010, 02:45 PM
Thanks for the support chicks!
I sat down last night and planned out the whole week and you know what? It wasn't so bad :)
01-10-2010, 02:49 PM
I know...it seems like a pain. It will get easier as time goes on and you make it part of your routine.
01-10-2010, 02:57 PM
I'm a freak who actually enjoys planning meals. Which is weird, because I'm such a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person naturally. I think I like the sense of control it gives me to know when mealtime comes, the pressure will be off.
We have a crazy schedule...my boyfriend is up at 1 am for work, and I have a regular 8-5 job. Because of that, we have very limited time to eat dinner together in the evenings, so whatever we do has to be quick. (We've tried eating separately, and missed just sitting down, catching up and having our meal together.)
I try to prepare a lot of stuff in advance on the weekends, so dinner can be heat, make a quick salad or whatever, and serve. I'm also having a blast finding new recipes -- we do our nightly taste evaluation and if a meal was good we put it in the "do over" pile and I add it to my arsenal of things to make again.
01-10-2010, 04:46 PM
Ugh I hate meal planning too. DF and I are big into chicken, but having it every day can be tiring. So not only do I plan nutrition wise, but I also try to rotate between meats.
I think the biggest struggle, for me at least, is finding a chunk of meals that you like and don't mind cooking all the time. I'm new to cooking (just started when DF was diagnosed with diabetes), so I don't understand a lot of ingredients and methods of cooking. Plus we're both picky eaters so I have to figure out what ingredients can be knixed or subsituted without changing the flavor of the dish.
It definitely helps to have some quick, easy, and HEALTHY alternatives to fall back on if/when the meal you wanted to have isn't the meal you want.