Creating A Weekly Successful Family Meal Plan
I began meal planning about 7 years ago when my kids started school and then became AAA hockey players. We were now out of the house 4-5 nights per week and sometimes all weekend. I needed to be better organized and this is an amazing tool. It has saved me time and money by being organized. It’s nothing fancy, just a piece of paper but if you want to go fancy, by all means do so!!
Step 1: Write down all the activities that the children and adults have for the week.
Step 2: I ask my husband, Glen, and each of the kids to pick a meal that they would like to eat during the week. That way I satisfy everybody’s taste buds and it minimizes the complaining about “certain” meals because they know they have had some input. It’s also 3 less meals that I need to come up with. I have found that by asking the members of my family what they would like for a meal has minimized complaining at meal time. They eat meals that may not be their favorite, knowing that their voice has been heard and that their choice is coming soon.
Step 3: Then I plug the meals in accordingly. If it’s a night that we have to be out of the house by 5pm and I don’t get home until 4pm, it needs to be a crock pot meal or something speedy like scrambled eggs and steamed broccoli. If it’s a Roast Beef or Roast Chicken dinner, then Sundays are a great day as I have more time to prepare the meal (also makes for great leftovers for lunches). I look at our events for the week and pick the dinners that correspond to the time that I have to make them.
Step 4: I do my meal plans on Saturday or Sunday every week, listing all the ingredients that I need so that I can shop for them or take them out of the freezer. Huge time saver and it saves time not scrambling at the last minute trying to find an ingredient or figuring out what to feed my family.
Step 5: I post what time we will be eating. Sometimes they want to eat as soon as they get home from school but see that we are eating dinner in 45 minutes so they can better plan their snack choice or wait. I post whether the meal will be at the table, or if it’s on the go in a cooler.
I designate one child for each setting the table and the other for cleaning up on a monthly basis. This reduces my need to manage who’s doing what.
Step 6: I post the meal plan on the fridge where everybody can see it. Everyone knows what we are eating and at what time for the entire week. It’s not fancy I just write it on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge.
Note: I also let them know that I will do my best to stick to this menu for the week but in the case that event might happen and something needs to be changed to please honor and respect my decision.
If your children are older:
Since my kids were about the age of 10 I have encouraged them to cook one meal a week on their own. We created a recipe book with all of their favourites and if they are needing inspiration they will choose a meal from it. Mind you there are times that I need to steam broccoli to go with their scrambled eggs and bacon but it’s all a learning process.
In the summer I encourage them to make 2-3 dinners per week or at least help me with making a meal. I’m teaching them to listen to what foods they want to eat and teaching them how to make nutritious balanced whole foods meal from scratch. They love the freedom & independence of being in charge of some of their meals.
Here are some of my kid’s favourite recipes:
Also, I retired from making school lunches…Packing their own school lunches.
I’d love to hear any tips about how you meal plan and if anything in this blog resonated with you.
Tanya Morrison has been in the Health/Wellness and Fitness Field for over two decades. She has coached and trained many clients over the decades. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, Pilates/Aerobics/Yoga Instructor and more. She is the creator of the Busy Mama Reboot 3 week program and the Busy Mama Detox which is a 12 week program that runs in January, April and September of each year. To find out more about these life changing programs check out the testimonials and information at www.busymamadetox.com. Tanya also teaches many different classes at Move Your Body Studio in Bobcaygeon, www.moveyourbody.ca and has written Healthy Snacks for Kids, Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans & Living Vibrantly with Raw Goodness – Your Guide to Juicing & Blending. Your lifestyle is an accumulation of choices which become habits. With Tanya’s guidance and education you will naturally start to make healthier choices with simple shifts. It is when you start to focus on your health that your weight will naturally come off of your health will improve. You must take pleasure in the journey, not be racing to the finish line.