A family meal plan for a month

family-meal-plan-for-a-month

I’ve shared MEAL PLANS on here before, though not for a while. Meal planning has slipped these last few months, I’ve not had the brain power to think more than a few hours ahead, so it’s been a case of scramble whatever I can find for dinner each night. The past couple of weeks I’ve managed to put together a meal plan and remembered just how much easier it makes life! None of that panic come five o’clock of what I’m going to feed everybody, less food waste, lower grocery bills and a better variety of meals.

When the girls were little I used to meal plan for a month at a time, and I’ve finally gotten myself organised enough to start again. A months worth of meals all planned out means I can use that headspace for other things, making it a once a month job to sit down and come up with our meals for the month instead of a weekly task. I love having a plan to work to, knowing in a morning what we’re having for dinner that evening means I can get prep done ahead of time and makes for a smoother dinner time.

family-meal-planning

I love mapping out a month at a time, as I find that we eat a far better variety of meals than if I just plan for a week at once – it’s so easy to see what you’re eating and spread meals out so you don’t end up eating pasta three {or four} nights in a row. Of course, there needs to be a certain degree of flexibility as things will crop up through the month, but that’s ok.

My process for meal planning monthly is much the same as weekly. I like to curl up on the sofa, grab a few of my favourite cookbooks for a leaf through, jotting down any meal ideas as I go. I’ll add to my list any usual meals that we eat, and ask the kids for some suggestions too – getting everyone’s input means no one can complain they never get food they like! I’ll have a quick check through the freezer if there are any meals needing using up, or if I want to plan meals to double up and restock my supplies. I keep one freezer full of homemade ‘ready meals’ for emergencies, or if plans go askew or I just don’t feel like cooking one day!

meal-planning

Once I’ve a list of meal ideas, I’ll grab a blank monthly calendar {I’m using THESE ONES as they’re so darn pretty} and my diary and start filling in. First I’ll put in any regular meals – we always have a ‘picky dinner’ on a Sunday as it’s our weekly family TV/meeeting. It’s also the one day of the week we eat in the living room and not around the dining table. I vary what we have each week, depending on what we have – sometimes I’ll make a pizza, or nachos, sometimes it’ll be freshly baked bread, salad and cheeses – whatever we have, it’s always one of the kids favourite meals! We also always have a pizza night on Friday too – sometimes homemade dough, sometimes Naan Bread pizza or these delicious FLATBREAD PIZZAS and Tuesdays are usually Mexican themed – tacos, burritos, fajitas….

Next I’ll check through my list of meal ideas and pick some quick/easy meals or ones I can make ahead for nights I know we’ll be busy – Wednesdays are always one of those as the girls have gym/brownies/guides and I end up feeding everyone at different times! If I know we have days out planned, I can add on meals that I can make quickly – like naan pizza or pesto pasta, or leave in the slow cooker while we’re out. Finally, I’ll fill in all the remaining days from my ideas list – some things get repeated through the month, but not too many.

I’ll pin our month’s meal plan on the pantry pin board, transferring each weeks menu to the Meal Plan Chalkboard – as I do, it’s easy to switch a few meals around if plans have changed that week or I have some produce in need of using up.  Spending half ab hour once a month really makes such a HUGE difference to meal times/dinner prep. ANd i love feeling so organised at the start of the month!!

family-meal-plans-for-april

I think it’s great for the kids to see what we’ee going to be eating, and we chat whilst planning about the importance of eating a variety of foods, and how it’s fine to have pizza once a week but not every day! {They might not agree so much on that one}. I also usually grab at least one of the girls to help prepare dinner, as it’s such a good way for them to learn how to cook – Beastie is usually my salad man these days – he loves cutting cucumber most of all.

April’s meal plan looks like this:

* Fajitas
* Picky Dinner
* Toasted Sandwiches, Corn on the Cob, Sweet Potato Fries
* Burritos, Rice & Salad
* Veggie Sausage & Veg Pasta
* Coconut Rice Bowls
* Homemade pizza, salad, wedges
* Breakfast for dinner {hash browns, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, tempeh bacon YUM}
* Picky Dinner
* Tomato soup & cheesy baguettes
* Enchiladas, Wedges, Salad
* Veg Burgers, Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli
* Spaghetti & Garlic Bread
* Calzone & Mexican ‘Slaw
* Hassleback Potatoes, Roasted Mediterranean veg
* Picky Dinner
* Omelette, fresh bread rolls, herby peas
* Tacos, Rice, Guac
* Gnocchi, Pesto, Corn Cobs
* Falafel, pittas & vegetable couscous
* Homemade Pizza, Sweet Potato fries
* Veggie Sausage, Salad, Garlic Bread
* Picky Dinner
* Pesto Pasta
* Fajitas, Salad, Rice
* Baked Potatoes
* Ratatouille, Quinoa
* Naan Pizza, Indian Salad
* Tomato & Lentil Soup, Petit Pans
* Picky Dinner

A note on what we eat – I am vegan, two of my kids are vegetarian and two eat a little meat. We tend to eat mainly vegetarian at home {though I’ll occasionally buy Kiki and Beastie bacon as they LOVE it}, and I’ll adapt stuff to suit – so when they have an omelette I’ll have some ratatouille out of the freezer, and use vegan cheese instead of their dairy cheese, etc… it works pretty well for us nad never feels like I’m making different things for everyone!

 

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5 Comments

  1. April 5, 2017 / 12:18

    Love this post Polly – it’s so interesting to see what other people are eating! I do weekly meal plans but I find it hard thinking of new things to try. You’ve given me some ideas for next time – thankyou:)

  2. April 5, 2017 / 21:55

    I’d absolutely LOVE to do this, but I get so frustrated that my 14 year old will basically only eat TWO THINGS. What do I do?!? *sobs a bit into recipe books*

  3. April 6, 2017 / 00:53

    Such a handy post Polly. So funny as we have similar combination in our house. I’m vegan, one child vegan, one vegetarian and two omnis! All of these meals sound amazing! :-) xxx

  4. April 6, 2017 / 19:48

    What a brilliant idea. I’m so impressed by your organisation. I really need to get myself in gear and meal plan for longer than a week – it definitely saves money too!

  5. April 9, 2017 / 20:40

    I can’t tell you how useful I found this meal plan. I’m a veggie but the hubby and kid aren’t so I really struggle to make meal plans. Also if you search for meal plans for inspiration they are always either loaded with meaty meals or too faffy. I could literally pick this one up and use it for us. Thank you for inspiring me as I’ve felt stuck in a rut recently. I’m taking this though and running with it.

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