One of the biggest issues we have in our house when it comes to creating a meal plan is coming up with ideas that we all want to eat. There is something out the pressure of sitting down and thinking up so many meals that leaves us stumped. To break through this issue, I’ve created a super helpful (editable) document full of Breakfast Through Dinner Meal Ideas for Your Weekly Menu that I want to share with you!
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Rather than stick with just dinner ideas like most meal planners, I’ve decided to include every course of the day, even snacks. Let’s face it–when we go to the store, we will impulse buy (or require a lot of extra trips) if we are not fully-prepared for meals the entire day through.
I’m one of those people who will over-purchase or under-purchase when we are at the store. I am a big impulse spender when it comes to food. (It doesn’t help that I am always hungry, so I want all the food every time we shop.)
If I don’t plan ahead on what snack foods and lunch foods we need, I’ll either go hungry, we will have very odd lunches, or I’ll resort to eating any hidden candy I can find. I always make sure my kids still have some decent food to eat, but a lot of times that means I won’t have anything if I didn’t plan properly. And guys…it’s important for parents to eat!
Plan Your Weekly Meals — from Breakfast to Dinner and In Between — Like a Pro!
Breakfast Through Dinner Meal Ideas for Your Weekly Menu
To use this meal planning menu, you may need to edit it to fit your personal tastes and budget and dietary restrictions. The document was created with meal ideas that I have made for our family in the past, that we already enjoy regularly, and that we would be willing to make and eat, so use our ideas as a starting place. In your copy, I’ve even linked to some of the recipes of mind that I have shared with my readers in the past.
On the very last page of the menu, you will find a list of tips for use, but I will also share some of those here:
- Personalize your menu first and foremost.
- Meal plan as a family (this is a great life skill to teach your kids);
- Choose a specific day to meal plan each week (consider grocery store ad dates as you do this).
- Plan your shopping trip at the same time as your meal plan*.
- Consider items in your fridge or pantry that need to be used and can save you money at the store!
- Meal plan every meal (each week will get easier as you better understand your family’s actual eating habits and needs).
- Use “The Incredible Meal Planning Menu” online and link to your favorite recipes, or…
- Print and laminate back-to-back and spiral bind like I did for a tangible menu to reference!**
*You may find our starter meal prep and meal plan idea helpful. I’ve included the sheets in this post as a bonus to “The Incredible Meal Planning Menu” pack for your convenience. Print, laminate, and add magnets to the back of these sheets so to keep your meal plan and shopping list visible on the refrigerator.
**When I laminated my sheets, I used a Scotch Laminator at home with the 3.0 mil sheets that you place the papers between. I placed the pages back-to-back (in the correct order—two per laminating sheet) with a piece of construction paper between, trimmed to fit fully inside the laminator sheet, to give a nice border. I brought it to a local print shop for binding, but you can also bind at home if you purchase a spiral or comb binding machine.
Beyond this incredibly helpful document, I want to offer you some useful tips that help us with meal planning or with impromptu meal ideas for those nights that didn’t go quite as planned.
We are one of those families that seems to get stuck at the ER, urgent care, and doctor’s office very often. We also do a lot away from the house (homeschool classes, shopping, children’s museum visits) and end up out longer than expected.
On these days, stopping for fast food can be so tempting. The kids are grouchy and hungry, we are too tired to cook. But eating out so often does not fit in our budget (nor is it particularly healthy).
Using “The Incredible Meal Planning Menu,” you can create a list of meals that travel well to take along in a cooler just in case you’re out too long, or you can reference it for those easiest-of-all, already-have-the-ingredients meal ideas that you can enjoy the moment you get home. (I’ll be creating and sharing a pocket-sized grab-and-go menu, too.)
You can purchase “The Incredible Meal Planning Menu” in our Gumroad store!