Meal Planning : Part Three, Creating a Rotating Calendar

July 20, 2015

This post is part of a meal planning series. If you missed Meal Planning : Part One, or Meal Planning: Part Two, be sure to check them out!

My last two meal planning posts were about selecting recipes and entering them into a program called Pepperplate. Those two steps on their own can be very time consuming! Congratulations if you're still with me or interested in my meal-planning process.

Before I begin to explain my rotating calendar, let me start by addressing some comments I've received about my meal planning posts. I've had several people say, "Tate, you have too much time on your hands," or "Why in the world are you doing this?"

Allow me to say this: YES, I agree. This has taken a lot of time and planning. However, I will not have the time to do this during medical school. I simply will not have the time (or patience) to sit down and try to decide what I want to eat each week. Since I'm not a fantastic cook, it was important to me to know that I had a list of go-to-recipes that I would always be excited about eating. And even more important than that, I wanted to cut down on the amount of time planning, shopping, and prepping my meals.

Not everyone has the time or desire to do this, but I am certain that this meal planning process is going to help me during medical school when my time is extremely limited. So, take it or leave it, but I am hoping that someone else may benefit from my crazy ways :)

Moving on.

Now that I have a group of recipes I love, I've decided to make a rotating calendar so I won't get bored eating the same things. I created seven categories of meals, with four recipes in each category. I made hard copy recipe cards to use in the kitchen, but you could also read the recipes just as easily from Pepperplate (I don't tend to trust myself with my phone/laptop near food, pots of boiling water, etc.) :)

Examples of four chicken recipes
Four recipes for each category
After I had enough recipes in each category, I scattered them up! I took one recipe from each category to make a weekly menu. By doing this, I know that I will have a variety of food throughout any given week and I won't get sick of eating the same thing all the time. 

Dividing recipes into weekly menus
After making weekly menus, I did the same thing on Pepperplate. Pepperplate allows you to make menus and add recipes to it, so I made four weekly menus. You can see in the screenshot below that you can just start typing in the box and recipes you saved will pop up to select.

In the process of making a weekly meal plan

Example of what a weekly meal plan might look like 
At this point, it's possible to add single recipes or entire weekly menus to the planner on Pepperplate. VARIETY FOR THE WIN. 

I'll have one last meal planning post to tie everything together... coming soon! 

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