Your Easy Guide to Creating a Family Meal Plan

Posted January 2, 2018 by Julie in Food, Organize, Tips and Resources, TopPosts / 2 Comments

We all need to eat, but why is meal time always such a stressful time? You know if you just had a plan you could follow, evenings would flow more smoothly. But do you know how to create a monthly meal plan for your family?

How to Create a Family Meal Plan

Creating a family meal plan is exactly that, making a plan. A plan can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, so let’s dive in.


Your Easy Guide to Creating a Family Meal Plan

What is the first step in creating a family meal plan?

I love simplicity and thrive on routines, so the only meal plans that work for me are that – simple, routine, quick, and easy. My husband recently returned from being away for a year and a half, and we just moved. To say that we have our life on track and all our plans planned out would be a lie. But I’m working on it. I’m working on slowly developing plans and routines for our new life, and I prefer to do so with as little stress as possible.

The first step in creating a family meal plan is to think about the meals your family already loves. What are your go-to meals? These are the meals that you can throw together on a regular basis and probably already have ingredients for in the fridge and pantry. For me? That’s usually some form of stir-fry, tacos, and a casserole.

Start small! Meal planning can be as complicated or as simple as you make it, so if you’re starting from no plan at all (*cough*) just start with one or two weeks at a time.

Can you come up with 10 meal ideas that your love to make and your family loves to eat? If so, great, your meal plan will be perfect! Grab a calendar (or download my freebie!) and put one meal in each day Monday through Friday. Weekends are fair game for leftovers, eating out, or more elaborate family meals. Or, you can plan those out too. Our biggest struggles are weeknight dinners, so I focus there.

You can even do themed nights, which are a fun way to add variety and routine to your meals at the same time. For example:

Monday: chicken

Tuesday: tacos

Wednesday: slow cooker meal

Thursday: stir-fry

Friday: fish

Saturday: casserole

Sunday: red meat

Then, pick a different recipe for these themes. If you can come up with four different recipes for each theme then you just planned a meal plan for an entire month! Way to go!



Organize your meal plan and shopping list

Think about how you like to be organized. Do you like lists or calendars? If so, you should totally grab the meal planner freebie I have for you!

Do you prefer to journal and draw out your calendars and plans visually? Or you do love printables and want to create a kitchen binder? If so, you might love this Well-ordered kitchen printable binder.

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Are you more about the digital and like to have everything on your phone? You can even add your meal plans to your Google calendar.

Pick a method, pick a time that works for you to sit down and do the meal plan, and try it out for a while.

Write out your meal ideas, quick recipe steps, and ingredients on a shopping list. If I have time, I organize my grocery list by type of food, so I don’t walk back and forth around the store picking up things I find later on my list. Or, let’s be honest, I pretty much let Shipt do my shopping.

Grab your Meal Planner Now!

Join the email tribe and we will send you this Meal Planner right away!

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Once you have a meal plan, you can make a go-to grocery shopping list. If you plan to rotate specific meals for the next few weeks, then you know exactly what ingredients you will need and can buy in bulk to last the month.

The goal for me is to have one month planned out, rotating variations so we’re not eating the same thing every week. Then, just repeat that monthly meal plan unless I feel like making changes. I like to plan hard once and continue using that plan as long as it works – that saves from having to plan over and over.

Where to get recipe ideas?

While you might initially start with tried and true family go-to recipes, you might then wish to expand your list to something new. There are so many great recipe ideas out there, but some are quite elaborate and honestly take too much time in my opinion. That’s why I started a Pinterest board called: Under 30-minute family dinners. I have collected (and others have shared) easy and quick meals that are great for coming home from work and putting together before everyone starves to death.

There are tons of great recipe books you can pick up as well. For example, try From Freezer to Table: 75+ Simple, Whole Foods Recipes for Gathering, Cooking, and Sharing by bloggers Rachel and Polly of Thriving Home.

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You can also find slow cooker recipes, which are great to prep the night before and set out before you leave for work. Coming home to a meal that has finished cooking, warm and ready for you to eat, and a house that smells delicious is quite amazing.



Or you can let someone else meal plan for you!

I have a fun roundup of meal delivery and meal planning services that make this task a bit easier on our lives.

Many fabulous bloggers out there share recipes and ideas that you can apply to your own meal plans and recipe lists.

Healthy meals don’t just happen. (Wouldn’t that be nice!) You have to decide what you’re eating, make your list, buy the ingredients, and then prepare everything.

And the domino that starts it all is knowing what you’re going to eat. In other words, the path to health begins with a plan.

For a limited time, you can get your hands on ready-made meal plans for just the way you eat – complete with shopping lists and fresh recipes – for a ridiculously low price.

It’s called the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle and here’s how it works: Each bundle contains digital cookbooks, fresh meal ideas, and ready-made plans (and even grocery lists!).

>> Make those dominos fall and start your New Year right by picking up your copy of the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle (or any of the mini-bundles) right here!




Your Easy Guide to Creating a Family Meal Plan - Grab This Meal Planning Freebie

Grab your Meal Planner Now!

Join the email tribe and we will send you this Meal Planner right away!

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Over to you – what’s on your family meal plan?


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Join the Working Mom Tribe

Join the Working Mom Tribe and get support and tools to help you thrive! Tribe members get access to my library of resources and printables.

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2 responses to “Your Easy Guide to Creating a Family Meal Plan

  1. Great tips! This is something I really want to tackle this year! Our little nest is emptying and my husband and I find ourselves eating our more than we are in. For our health, we really need to make this happen. Thank You!

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