A Case for Meal Planning & Our Allergy Home Meal Plan

There are Type A, very organized people in this world.  I wouldn’t really consider myself one of them.  I’m more of a type A- or B+ person.  I see the worth of good organization and meal planning, but I don’t always do it.  However, in an effort to share with you the delicious array of dinners we eat in our allergy home, I have tried to be more purposeful in my meal planning.  I do this so that you can see that while most meals we eat are free of dairy, egg, soy, wheat, corn, turkey, mango, and peanuts, we eat very well.  But, of course, I have to include my Type A-/B+ personality in there; my meal planning is often “loose.”  That’s okay!

Over the past few weeks since I’ve been sharing Our Allergy Home Meal Plans, I have actually grown to really enjoy having this aspect of organization in my days/week.  Here are the benefits that I get from planning out my meals and sharing them with you:

  1. Organization: I don’t have to think over what we’re going to eat every night because I’ve already done it before hand.
  2. A sense of accountability.  Although you guys have no idea whether I fix what I say I’m going to fix, I feel accountable to you regardless.  Maybe a bit weird, but I’m mostly a rule-follower.
  3. I make sure I have all ingredients needed for the meals before I make my weekly grocery trip, or not, because I have ingredients stocked already.
  4. Our days of running to and from activities and dealing with the increased load of homework don’t fit “on the fly” meals.
  5. Our days of running to and from activities and dealing with the increased load of homework don’t understand that food allergies (and a tight budget) prohibit running to just any restaurant drive-thru or throwing a frozen pizza in the oven.
  6. I’m able to really look through the grocery ads and our stockpile to determine what are the most cost effective dinners for the week.
  7. I’m able to incorporate our desire to have one fish dinner and one vegetarian dinner each week.
  8. Meal planning makes sure that we are eating healthy, well-balanced foods.
  9. I’m able to incorporate The Willing Cook-A-Long challenge into the week as well as any other new recipes that I want to try.
  10. We eat just about every dinner at home, so I really have to think ahead so that I don’t repeat recipes/ingredients.  We don’t want to have chicken or red meat every night.
  11. By being a “loose” meal planner, I’m able to switch things up or swap things out.  You’ll see examples of this in this week’s meal plan.

So, have I convinced you to start meal planning? If you do already, I’d love for you to share it in the comments.  What does your meal plan look like? If you don’t meal plan, why not?

Our Allergy Home Meal Plan for the Week of October 16, 2011.*

Sunday: Fried Cod Fish, Homemade French Fries, Pineapple (We found Pineapple for 70¢ on manager special.  If you live near Trader Joe’s and love fish, try their Alaskan Cod and Ahi Tuna Ends and Pieces.  They are fantastic and a great price!)

Monday: Chicken Tacos (I doubled the chicken & added white beans in order freeze half for a later dinner.), Homemade Salsa

Tuesday: Bacon-Potato Chowder with Shrimp (Didn’t get to this last week.)

Wednesday: The Willing Cook-A-Long challenge dish, Yakisoba

Thursday: Vegetarian Dish (any suggestions?)

Friday: Family Harvest Party (Everyone takes a dish to share. I plan to take a couple allergy-friendly dishes.)

Saturday: Refrigerator Round-up (leftovers)

Dessert: Baked Apple Chips (Whole Foods recipe)

And there is our week in meals.  What about you?

*Most meals are free of dairy, egg, soy, peanut, wheat, corn, turkey, and mango.

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8 Responses to A Case for Meal Planning & Our Allergy Home Meal Plan

  1. I’m like you. I’ve learned that having a meal plan is really helpful to figure out what to put on the table when you have so many limitations. But I do let myself play fast and loose with that schedule. That said, now I need to figure out what our next week is going to look like.

    • Cook says:

      Oops! That was supposed to be scheduled to post on Tuesday. Oh well, I suppose some of you got a preview. Now you can take Tuesday off 🙂

  2. Kristen says:

    I go back and forth with this one. I tend to plan for several meals before I go to the grocery store, but I don’t have nights assigned to them. I just like knowing I have the ingredients on hand so I can choose which one I want to make for that night. I can always improve in this area – I need to start trying new things to add to our rotation to keep us from being bored. We also eat at home every night – going out to dinner is a rarity. Thanks for the list of reasons why it helps you – I hadn’t though of some of those before!

    • Cook says:

      Assigning meals to each night is among my “loose” meal planning. I switch things around all the time. In fact, right now I’m not feeling like fixing soup, really any kind of dinner….but I will. As far as trying new things, you should try some of the recipes from the Willing Cook-A-Long challenge as there have been some really good dishes. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

      Happy babying tomorrow! I will be praying!

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  6. Carol says:

    I do a meal plan for two weeks. It’s a meal plan for our pay period. I do it because it’s so awesome to just look at the menu and know what to make instead of asking “hmmm, what’s for dinner?” BUT a huge reason I do it is finances. Before I did a meal plan, I’d go to the store and aimlessly put stuff in the cart that I figured we’d use, and that mostly works. One day at the end of a pay period I took a look at what was left in the pantry and thought “this is like storing money in the pantry”. Why buy something and not use it when you are pinching pennies? So now I make a “menu” for two weeks. It includes breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinners. It’s according to date so I can incorporate dinner guests or planned nights out (Church or dinner plans). I try to be type A so there are times that I don’t feel like doing it or it just doesnt get done in time. When I do get it done, kitchen matters happen more smoothly. Even my kids have come accustomed to checking out what’s for snack and helping me by getting it themselves.

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