Meal Planning for your family can be a daunting task. Sometimes it seems easier to pay someone to do the work for you. Or to just hide your head in the sand and make dinners on the fly based on what is in the house. Both are viable options for busy moms; but I’m hoping to give you the tools necessary to create weekly meal plans tailored for your family and to help you save money in the long run.
If you are just joining in, please read my story.
The first step I took in creating weekly meal plans for my family was to write down everything that my family ate – and I mean everything. Meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, apples, grapes, crackers, tacos, pizza, chicken strips with marinara sauce, chicken and mushrooms. Ok, who am I kidding, what kid actually eats mushrooms?
Every time something was put into someone’s mouth, I wrote it down. I had a pad of paper and pen sitting at my place at the table and that helped me remember to write things down.
Once I got everything actually written down, planning became much easier. I started separating the food into lists based on types of meats, side dishes, vegetables, snacks, breakfast, soup, salad. The reason I did that was so that I had a master list of what my family ate on a regular basis. When it came time to go grocery shopping I didn’t have to try and think of what my family might eat because I had a tangible list of what they actually did eat. Writing a grocery list became much easier because I could quickly see what I could make from each list. And since I knew what I wanted to make, I could check the pantry before leaving for the store to avoid multiple trips out – which is difficult enough with little ones, but it’s made even harder when your closest store is 20 miles away.
Once you know what your family eats, the next step is creating a weekly (or monthly) menu.