Meal Planners

Has anyone ever used or thought of using a meal planner? There are several on-line and I was wondering what others thought about paying a small fee ($5.00 or less a month) to have your family’s meals planned out with a ready to go shopping list. Some of the sites allow you to have a custom plan so the menu consists of foods you like/will eat.

I’m sure many of you love to cook but for me its a real struggle to decide what to feed my family and make everyone happy.

Here are some links if you’ve never heard of it:

personally, it is not my gift, so when my family was young and growing, i would have paid for help in meal planning. I would want to do some investigation, however, esp. if they ask for a credit card, and make sure I am not opening myself up to a lot of advertising, spam and come-ons, or have to buy their food. signed up for E-diet with friends and was bombarded with ads and spam so I had to change my email address.

the best cookbook I ever had, which did essentially the same thing, was the Peg Bracken “I Hate to Cook Book”, she helped you come up with a month of dinner menus, plus standard breakfast and lunch for eat at home or brown-bag. I still use that system to this day, and actually have daily and weekly menu cards and shopping lists. Of course I have adjusted over the years to shrinking family, medical diet needs etc, but the system still works.

Ooh! That’s tempting. DH and I like to cook because it’s usually cheaper and healthier than restaurant food, but some nights neither of us can think of what to have.

Might have to check these out. Thanks for the tip! :slight_smile:

I list 30 meals we like on a blank calendar page. Each week when I go shopping, I choose 7 meals off the list.

I try to alternate beef, chicken and pasta throughout the week.

I am super interested in this too, as we just got switched to paid once a month instead of bi-weekly, and i’m hoping meal planning will help us keep from eating soda crackers and peanut butter for dinner the last week. If anyone has any resources, PLEASE chime in.

I used Saving Dinner for a while. I found it helpful in getting lots of recipe ideas, but was never able to use the grocery lists and things because DH is VERY picky (he won’t eat pork at all, only eats ground beef, and eats very few veggies, plus he has a sensitive stomach, so spicy is out!). However, most weeks, I thought all the recipes sounded very yummy and would have liked to try them all. (Of course, everyone will have some recipes they don’t like!) I thought that it was worth it for a few months, just to get a bunch of meal ideas so I could make my own menu rotation.


I have used this. I didn’t subscribe to the menu mailer, but I did print the sample menus and bought 2 of Leanne Ely’s books - Saving Dinner and Saving Dinner Low Carb. We tried many of the menus - some of them are still family favorites, and some I’d never try again. The positive side was that you had a grocery list covering all the menus including suggested sides, and we tried different things. The downside was that we never liked all of the week’s suggested menus and would have to adapt the shopping list.

One of the Taste of Home magazines has a week of menus complete with shopping list each month. I cannot remember which one… maybe it was Light-N-Tasty.
Here’s one that gives you some sample menus and shopping lists if you sign up. I printed them out but haven’t got around to trying them yet. :o Anyway, it has several options like Family Friendly or Healthy menus. 0

This is more or less what I have done, and once or twice a month I cook something new, of course, it’s just hubby and I now, so we cook more less something that we can stretch for a few days, like a big gumbo or stew, spaghetti or things like that since we both work, it’s a relief not to have to cook everyday.

I, too, am a graduate of Peg Bracken’s books. I can swoop steak, sweep steak, and make Mother’s Little Lead Balloons with the best of them- along with that classic and versatile dessert, Irish Coffee. If you can find them on eBay or Half, you will save yourself a bunch of money.

Family Circle and Women’s Day used to offer a month of supper menus as well.

Around here, lunch means lunchmeat, chilli or peanut butter, with a Lenten Friday tuna fish or grilled cheese. Breakfast also involves peanut butter spread on different things, excepting Sundays, when it’s frozen waffles, syrup, frozen sausage patties, and fried eggs- all heated fo course.

Man, I wish we could do that. I’m not picky but I could eat off a casserole or pot of soup for a few days. DH won’t eat something beyond one dinner and leftovers for the next day’s lunch so we have to come up with a new dinner idea for each day. :rolleyes: Fortunately Thai carryout and pizza are occasionally acceptable.

I need to clean out the freezer so I can make giant batches of things and freeze them.

Either Woman’s Day or Family Circle magazine used to have a calendar included for the month with menu’s for each day, “planned overs” and some recipes…so you might check them out while waiting at the grocery check out…:slight_smile: Plus you get the rest of the magazine…decorating, crafts, articles…

They still do. What’s really funny is that there’s a meatless meal every week, but it’s (I think) Meatless Monday instead of Friday. How silly. Fishy Fridays were such a part of the culture for so many years, but now we have to be PC, so we have to put our vegetarian or fish meal on another day. Well, WE can juggle the days!



I like, which gives you a M-F dinner list every week, complete with menus and shopping list, for my favorite price - free! For two weeks we pretty much stayed completely with the menu and were able to try new side dishes, especially new ways to serve vegetables.

While the food was good, if $ is an issue you will probably want to substitute sometimes, even if it’s just to use vegetables that are on sale. If money is REALLY an issue, they even have on their website a way to get by on $25 for a family of four for a week. (Well, I don’t know when the list was made… I went to the store this week and couldn’t believe that eggs, at the “cheap” store, were going for $1.77 a dozen!!! My 11 yo ds sweetly cooked too many fried eggs for dinner the other night - at that price, I’ve been eating leftover fried eggs for breakfast for the past few days!)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit