A Family Menu Planning Process

A Family Menu Planning Process

One of my key tasks for January was to complete the family menu plans for the next couple of months. The obvious reason for this is the impending arrival of our fifth child. (As this post is being written in advance, by the time it is published I will be officially over my due date or baby will be born!)

I find that once I sit down to do our family menu planning it is very easy to get into the swing of things and work through a number of weeks. I have a little process that I follow when I am doing a bulk monthly menu planning session.

My Menu Plan Planning Process for a Month.

1. Criteria for the month.

This month I had the following criteria:

  • Healthy but simple food, that means I don’t have to spend too much time in a hot kitchen.
  • Easy meals, that others can cook!
  • Plan one meal a weekend where someone else in the family will cook.
  • One night where I don’t have to cook (left overs) – this doesn’t really happen anymore for us though, as the older kids will eat the food through out the week!

2. Decide on a daily theme.

To create the daily theme I use the below template.

PWK Monthly Menu Plan Template 2015 Matrix 640

I write across the top row what activities we have on that will impact be getting a meal ready, for example this term:

  • Mon we have swimming
  • Tue there is soccer training
  • Thu I need to pick our daughter up from a late sports session

Knowing what activities are on each day is crucial to a successful meal plan – there is no point planning a roast Tues night when I am in and out a number of times and not home until 6.45pm. On Tuesdays I want to have a meal that I can cook in the morning and will be ready to serve or heat and when I get home.

When the kids where younger I also used to have one day a week unallocated, this was generally a Friday and we would just eat left overs from the fridge so (a) we wouldn’t waste food and (b) I would get a night off cooking!

Now with three teenagers in the house, by the time it comes to the end of the week, there is no chance of left overs!

3. Children’s and Husband’s Input

My children are very used to me menu planning, so when I do a bulk session like this I will ask them to give me at least four meals that they would like. I then slot in them into the relevant days theme and I have less to think about! Meals can only be repeated twice in the month and they can only choose one homestyle fast food, like pizza or hamburgers.

I have a template the where the kids can write their preferences down and they pass it around to each other until everyone has had a turn. My husband and I will also add our meals.

PWK Monthly Menu Plan Template 2015 Family Input 640You can download the templates here:

4. Use the Planning With Kids Menu Planner App!

I use the Planning With Kids Menu Planner App to collate menu plans and shopping lists. I email the lists to myself and print them out. I have four ready to go for the big shop each week. A key bonus to having the lists prepared is you can then delegate this task to someone else to do!

I have downloaded a list of all the recipes in the PWK menu planner app, which can act as a list of ideas for you family if they are new to the process and do not know what to choose.

PWK menu planner app meal list 640

Note it includes all types of meals, so you may need to point out they cannot choose sweet treat recipes for dinner!

What does your menu planning process look like?

Comments

  1. says

    I love your menu planning tool, I would love to have a chance to add some of the recipes I use to the data base. How do I go about that?

    Thanks!

    Jen

  2. PlanningQueen says

    Thanks for the interest in the menu planner Jen. I aim to add a couple of new recipes a week. If you would like to send me two recipes this week (or links to them on your blog) then I will add them in for you. Once I have done this I will email you to let you know and then announce their addition to the menu planner (with link to your blog) on my next Menu Plan Monday post.

  3. says

    Your menu this weeks sounds really good. I like how you have assigned each day a theme for your meal. I think that that would work perfectly for my family and would make my menu planning so much easier. I am definitely going to try and implement that “theme a day” into my menu plan for the rest of the month and see how that works for me. Thank you so much for the idea.

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