Family menu planning – how to menu plan for a month in 35 minutes!

how to menu plan for a month in 35 minutes!

Menu planning for the family is one of those tasks, where the idea of it is actually worse than doing it. It is also a task that is most efficient when you do it for a longer period of time.

I have found a sweet spot of menu planning for four weeks at a time. Over the years I have developed this process not to be one that is solely my responsibility. The whole family makes contributions, so the amount of time it takes me is much less.

The beauty of having the kids input to the menu plan is that it means there are far less complaints about what we have to eat for dinner each night.

The table below shows the steps I take to plan our meals and how long it takes.

If you haven’t menu planned before, I can highly recommend giving it a go. Take the time to note how much time you spend on thinking about meals, constant trips to the shops and procrastinating over what to cook one week. After you have done that, you will see just how much time you can save my menu planning!

TimeTask
10 minsGain the family's input. Each child and dad can choose up to 4 meals they would like to see included in the monthly plan. Meals can only be repeated twice in the month and they can only choose one homestyle fast food, like pizza or hamburgers.

To assist the selection process I have created a template for the kids to fill in and collated a list of all the meals that I have in the menu planner app. You can find them here - Free monthly menu planning template and meal list.
5 minsMy choice! I add my choices, taking into account what everyone else has chosen to ensure there is some balance across the month.
2 minsCreate matrix of activity and meal requirements. The matrix takes into account activities that will impact dinner prep. For example, some days will have meals that I can prepare in advance if we will be out late for after school activities.
8 minsAllocate the meals listed across the days of the month, according to the matrix. At this point I tweak and adjust the meals as needed so each week has a good mix of proteins and veggies.
10 minsUse 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!
Total - 35 minsCompleted Monthly Menu Plan For The Family!

Comments

  1. Mr Infrastructure says

    i will generally eat anything as wel!!!!!

    Also, as can happen with any plan, event execution can be different to expectation. For us, that happens when the kids love the meal so much that they eat my portion (often I get home from work after mealtime). When this occurs i have a stack of pies in the freezer in waiting.

  2. PlanningQueen says

    Thanks Alison – That’s what it was like for me too. It is amazing how quickly you can run through it when you allocate some time – when no kids are starving!

    Mr I – Definitely! As the older boys are getting bigger, very soon I am going to have to increase the volume of what I am cooking.

  3. says

    I love my menu plan which is a little different from your but similar – what i also love is my coles online shopping – with my menu plan and shopping list it is a breeze

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