When you have a large family it’s not always as easy as whipping up a quick meal. That’s where meal planning comes in handy. By taking the time each week for meal planning, you can insure that your family eats delicious and healthy meals that everyone is sure to love. The following are just seven simple meal planning tips for large families.
Stick to a Schedule
Just like you wash laundry every Tuesday, you need to work on your weekly menu planner the same day every week. This insures that you don’t get behind and that you always have time set aside for this task. The weekly task will include choosing recipes, talking to the family about what they’d like to eat, checking the sales papers, etc. It shouldn’t take longer than 1 to 2 hours each week.
Create a Recipe Storage System
As you collect new recipes, you want to make sure they are easy to find. You also want to be able to easily find your go-to recipes. If your recipes are on the computer, create an easy to use filing system that makes sense for you. For example, categories might include chicken, beef, pork, etc.
Get the Family Involved
If you want the meals to be a big hit, you need to get advice from the family. Each week, allow each person to choose a meal for each night of the week. For example, your son might get to choose what’s for dinner on Monday and your daughter choose Tuesday.
Make It Fun With Theme Nights
Theme nights can help take the monotony out of family dinners. Use a calendar to pick a few nights each month for special theme nights. For example, on the second Saturday of the month you might choose to have a family movie marathon and would choose recipes that match the movies.
Consider the Weather
The weather can play a big role in what your family wants to eat. When making your weekly plans, check the weather forecast. If it’s going to rain on Tuesday, plan to have soup and grilled cheese. If the weather is going to be warm and sunny on Saturday, plan to cook out.
Start a Meal Journal
A meal journal is one of the best things you can have when doing weekly meal plans. Each evening, write down what was for dinner and whether or not the family liked it. If the family liked it, and it was a new recipe, write the recipe down as well. A year down the road, you can look back in the journal and remember meals you used to fix and start making them again.
Make Twofer Meals
When you have a large family, being able to cook once and feed them twice is wonderful. For example, you might make a huge beef roast for dinner and the next day slice the leftover beef and heat in mushroom gravy for quick sandwiches.
Meal planning for a large family isn’t complicated. In fact, it can actually make your life easier. Just follow the tips listed above to see how easy it can be.