Cooking Facts & Tips

Family Meal Planning Made Easy
Family Meal Planning Made Easy
by Mila Sidman


As parents, we have hectic lives. Whether we work out of the home, in the home or look after the kids full time, we definitely have our jobs cut out for us. We clean, chauffeur the kids, mend scraped knees, help with homework, and on top of all that we STILL have to figure out what we're going to make for dinner each night.

Here are a few tips to take the pain out of family meal planning:

First, choose a quiet time once a week when you have enough time to sit down and prepare your menu for the week ahead. Look through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make a mental note of all the food you already have.  Start with the food you'll need for dinner. Plan your next weeks dinner menu around the food you already have. So for example, if you have pasta, simply add pasta sauce and ground beef to your list.

Plan as many dinner meals as you can around what you have in your kitchen already. Once you "run out" of meals then start planning new meals from scratch. Once you have all your dinner meals then move on to breakfast. In my house this is fairly easy as my kids like to have cereal and fruit or toast and fruit (they're not very adventurous at breakfast time!)

Once breakfast is sorted, then move on to lunch. If you have older kids who have school lunches you don't really have much to worry about. If you have toddlers or younger children, they can actually have leftovers from the night before.

Lastly, add snacks, fruit, juice, milk and all those little extras we always seem to need. Keep your weekly food shopping at that, once a week. Plan your weekly meals and do one shopping trip. If you have to keep going back and forth to the supermarket a few times a week, you can end up spending more money.

Stick your weekly menu on your fridge so all you have to do is glance at it in the mornings and take out whatever meat needs thawing and you can also make a mental note of how much time you'll need to prepare dinner that night.

I guarantee if you take the time to do this once a week, you'll actually save time and definitely save money. So it pays to plan ahead and be prepared. With a little thought and planning ahead you'll be on your way to hassle-free meal times?  Now if you could only get your kids to eat all their veggies!

Mila Sidman is a mom of three and the creator of http://www.easy-kid-recipes.com.

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