"It is convenient to follow patterns in meal planning. These are general outlines which give a working plan for each meal and save much time in menu making. Such type or pattern meals need not be monotonous. Indeed, with their use, a very satisfying variety in meals is possible."
--The Family's Food, 1931

As I read this, and the continuing section about breakfast patterns, I realized that I have been using meal patterns, especially for breakfast, ever since I started cooking regular meals. It just makes sense: take something from each food group that you need, and make a meal from it.

For breakfast, I try to have a protein, a whole grain, and a fruit. That could mean
  • Yogurt, oatmeal, and orange juice
  • Poached eggs on whole wheat toast with fruit
  • A smoothie with a whole wheat English muffin sandwich with ham and eggs
I've been pretty bad at making breakfast for all of us lately, but I'm trying to get back into my routine. I find that having a pattern to follow for each day helps, but having a weekly pattern helps too, especially as I'm not a morning person and I find it hard to think coherently right after I get up.

Here's my weekly pattern, subject to change. I'm not listing fruits because I'll just be using whatever I get from the grocery store. If we're out of fresh fruit, I'll go for frozen, canned, or juice.
  • Monday: Oatmeal, yogurt
  • Tuesday: Waffles, scrambled eggs
  • Wednesday: Poached eggs on toast
  • Thursday: Porridge (cream of wheat, multi-grain, etc.), yogurt or boiled eggs
  • Friday: English muffin sandwiches with eggs and ham
  • Saturday: Granola or cereal
  • Sunday: Whatever I feel like making
Do you use patterns in your meal planning?


11 Comments

  1. Hi Mrs. M. Thanks for the patterns. I have a hard time getting thrilled with eating breakfast. Mind you, it’s my favorite one to eat or cook, just maybe...at brunch time? But as the guys at my home like to eat, I cook. The patterns will be a help to make their breakfast, and, OK, mine, more organized and nutritious! Thanks for the post today;) ♥ Lewaina

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  2. Great post. I just love the info in those older books. And I like your examples too.

    Maybe it would help if you were to make the different sections of your pattern in a sort of grabngo way? Like, whole grain muffins, yogurt and fruit salad already divided into cups?

    I bought a bunch of little half cup containers at the dollar store (6 for a dollar) and I use them to section things and stack all the like things together. For example, when I open a quart of applesauce, I put it all into eight little cups, then put them all in a row together in the fridge. Same for yogurt or fruit salad or cooked squash. That way, I can grab one thing from each row and just put them into Ben's lunch bag. Or out on the counter for myself. I do the same thing with leftover portions, so making lunch the rest of the week will be easy. (It seems a bit more sanitary to me as well, than continuing to dip into the same container of soup a bunch of times too.)

    So maybe some make-ahead breakfast things once in a while would help when you're feeling extra tired in the morning?

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  3. I wish I could've been like that. I was a terrible cook and worse planner. Now living alone, I don't care if something gets cooked or now. There are perks.

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  4. Those are great ideas, Bethany! I have a ton of tiny containers like yours, and I like using them for small portions, too. They're also great in lunches, like you said.

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  5. I guess I have patterns too, I never really thought about it that way. There are about 4 breakfasts that we rotate through, sometimes I will so something diffrent for a little variety, but usually not ;-)

    I like your ideas, I think I am going to use some as a part of our breakfast pattern.

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  6. I wish I did that! I'm single, so I am not terribly concerned with pleasing any palate but my own :). My meals are pretty much a combination of egg whites, yogurt, greens, cheese, avocados, frozen berries, and whole grain bread. Breakfast is usually a protein shake with greens powder, drunk on the way to work. I reason that I'd rather drink my 2-minute prep time breakfast than shorten my morning prayer time...I just don't have the energy to make a tasty or attractive morning meal!

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  7. I've found it really useful to make a double batch of waffles on the weekend and freeze half. On weekdays I simply pop the frozen waffles in the toaster to warm and crisp them. It adds variety to our breakfasts and isn't any extra work at all.

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  8. I tend to lean toward what Bethany suggested. I pre-pack my breakfast often, as I am usually rushing through my morning routine in order to make it to work on time. I often hard boil eggs to keep in the fridge and really like making a low-sugar fruit bread recipe over the weekend that I can grab a slice or two of quickly. I also make an old family standby: breakfast burritos. Eggs sausage, cheese, peppers, all wrapped up in a tortilla and frozen for my breakfast-shunning husband to warm up at 10 or so, when his appetite finally wakes up.

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  9. I never really thought about this before!

    Great post. Thanks. This will definitely help with menu planning and grocery shopping.

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  10. Hi!
    I never really thought of this before, but I guess I have been doing patterns for years. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!!

    Sherrie

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  11. Breakfast is the only reason I get out of bed in the mornings, sometimes. :) I Love Breakfast. I do follow a pattern just like yours. I follow "patterns" for lunch and dinner, too.

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