Monday, June 29, 2009

Meal Rotation Charts?!?

Whew! After being gone for two out-of-state trips in the last two weeks, I am very pleased to be home for a stretch. We have four "normal" weeks ahead of us... well, that "normal" is relative to summer, of course. The laundry is done and mostly put away. I have planned meals for the week and pulled meat from the freezer. I have grocery shopped and put away that food. And, for once in the month of June, I actually feel on top of things. Too bad there are only two days left this month!

For the most part, I am feeling okay. I definitely notice I am pregnant, which is unlike my last pregnancy when each day was full speed ahead. I usually have three or four really good days, but then something will set me back and I will have a few days of feeling nauseous and fatigued. I think some of it has to do with over-exertion. With the traveling, some of it may have to do with dehydration. And, some of it is simply food not agreeing with me.

I have planned more meat into this week's menu, hoping that the extra protein will be a good source of sustained energy. I have started exercising again! And my biggest challenge is drinking enough water. Were any of you really interested in these minor details?

Well... I had a hankering for brownies today. Since I wanted to do something special in the kitchen with my girls today, I pulled out a brownie recipe given to me several years ago. It is quite healthy, as far as brownies go. It uses a small amount of whole grain, rapadura, chocolate baking squares, etc... all whole, real foods. So, my plan is to make that special treat for my family this afternoon.

BUT... in the process of digging up this recipe, I found a chart I made for a Monthly Meal Rotation in 2004. I remember at the time feeling very overwhelmed by coming up with new, healthy meals every week. So, I took a suggestion from my husband and wrote out our favorite 20 meals. The idea was that we would have the same meals each month, so I wouldn't have to keep planning everything new each week. At that point, I was already doing leftovers on Saturdays (so I wouldn't have to cook that day) and we were eating our usual Sunday evening meal.

After listing our favorite 20 meals, I organized them into 5-day weeks. Each week contained some meals that would have leftovers, two vegetarian meals, one fish meal, and meat on the remaining two nights. I didn't list out side dishes because we mostly ate salads and whatever other vegetables were in season and reasonably-priced at the grocery store. I also had alternate meals listed out... just in case, you know.

Talk about a blast from the past! It was really fun to see some of the meals that we enjoyed so much. My question is, what happened? Why am I not still serving them? There was a Jamaican Black Bean Pot... and Salmon Patties... when was the last time I made those?

Would making a Meal Rotation help you in your meal planning? Back in 2004, it was really worth my time and thought to create this useful tool. And, as I recall, grocery shopping was quite simple as well, since I kept the lists of items I would need for each week. Do any of you already use a similar meal plan? If so, I would love to hear about it!

Off to grab some more water,


Noel said...

Maybe it's this summer rush that makes us feel as though we need a meal rotation. I've been working on something very similar. We'll have to swap ideas :)

Glad to have you back!

Jean Joiner said...

isn't it so funny how meals come in and out of your rotation? things i'll make all the time for while suddenly go by the wayside. i'm going to a meal planning party soon...we'll see what i learn there. right now, i tend to make the same types of main dishes each week, i just change up the sides. i plan my meals for the week on the weekend and shop on sunday or monday.

kristilea said...

I usually do this kind of thing in my head. We have the same meals over and over, and I try to throw in some new ones when the grocery budget allows me to expand a little. I think it would really help to write them down, so I'm not repeating too much of the same thing. That way I could make sure that everyone gets one of their favorite meals once a week. With 6 people, no one ever agrees on their favorite meal!

Tracy said...

Oh my goodness YES, YES, YES....YES!! Why did something this simple never cross my mind! Your hubby is a smart one~ I have done a disastrous job through June of planning meals...I just got tired of struggling to come up with ideas! This is great. I found your blog on MSM and I am hooked. Can't wait to check out more.

colleen Austin said...

Wow! I just found you via Money Saving Mom. You might just be my saving grace, after Jesus, of course!
I love your site, the date ball recipe (that I will be trying very soon - never thought to grind my sucanat - brilliant!) and the fact that you are speaking my language in both health and planning. I have made monthly meal plans. I found a site called that has free meal planning printouts. I like these b/c it includes the main dish, two sides, and a fruit/dessert and a column for a grocery list. I completed 5 of these weekly menus and stapled to each one a photocopy of whatever recipes I might need. Under the grocery list I included all of the necessary ingredients for that week. Now, confession. I never use them. But, you have re-inspired me to pull them out and get back to it! Thanks! You are bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

Hey, just discovered your little corner of the world - I think it's great! Well done you!

And, meal planning is fantastic. Absolutely. I also highly recommend always keeping 'spare' mince in the freezer, so you can invite extras spontaneously - no one complains about spag bol!

Nice blog, great motives - you've earned yourself a bookmark... ;)