Creating a Meal Plan for Your Family

Keeping a family on a budget has become a rather trendy topic given all the uncertainty we are experiencing right now.

How much thought have you given to what your entire family eats? As we’ve learned, diet plays a crucial role in our overall health and wellbeing. Making a weekly meal plan is an invaluable skill that will last a lifetime. A meal plan reduces food waste, saves money, encourages healthy eating, and reduces stress.


Pull out the calendar and take a look at the family needs. Some days will be busier than others. Do you go to the grandparents house for a meal once a week? Mark that day off. Tuesday Taco Night? You already know what you need on Tuesdays then. Busy a couple of times a week with sports or other extracurricular activities, make note that those nights are for eating out or prepping a meal in the morning. Crockpot meals are great for busy days/nights. Mark out all the meals where you will not be eating at home to avoid planning a meal you won’t need.


Okay, once you have a handle on your monthly schedule – let’s start with meals. How many dinners? Do you eat breakfast at home? Where is lunch happening?

Say you need 23 dinners this month. It’s often easier to start with the proteins and then add sides. Each week could be a combination of a pasta dish, chicken dish, pork dish, ground beef dish, casserole, crockpot meal, and a household favorite or leftover night. That’s seven dinners right there! Once you’ve nailed down the main dish, then you can pick the complimentary sides. Don’t forget to add produce to each meal! A bagged salad is a great go-to in a pinch.

What’s Missing?

Once you have sorted out your dinners, lunches, and breakfast meals, what’s missing? Healthy snacks? Drinks? Go-to options? Missing any tools or resources you’ll need to prep meals in advance like ziploc bags or aluminum foil? Need protein bars for sports practice? Or car trip snacks? Volunteer to bring something to a potluck or school?

Grocery List Time

Now all that’s left is to compile your grocery list! Go meal by meal and jot down what you’ll need to get through the week. Don’t forget to add household supplies and toiletries at the end and then you are all ready to go. Consider having your groceries delivered as paying the shipping fee may be worth it if it keeps you from impulse buying while at the store.

Even though this all sounds overwhelming, once you begin, you’ll know what to do! Remember, there is no one size fits all meal plan. You and your family can customize meal planning as you go.


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