Meal Planning for a Large Family

I have tried many things over the years to make meal time easier. I have planned a day at a time, a week at a time, a month at a time, and even several months at a time. I have tried plan charts, colored charts, and charts with bells and whistles, but what I have found works best for us is a simple large desk calendar.

I have tried to find out what other people do and it seems most families only eat once a day, supper. haha  What about us families how eat three meals and a snack every. single. day? I tried many different calendars and planners but nothing was ever big enough to fit all I needed to write and also be legible.

One day I was looking for a large calendar that would work for our day-to-day life and I came across a desk calendar. It was love at first sight! really! With so many of us and all the different stuff going on I needed a large enough calendar which gave me plenty of space on EACH day of the week to write everything down. Then it dawned on me, this would also be perfect for meal planning. I will never go back to those small calendars and hand planners. It may seem a bit much for some families but for us it’s perfect. Lots of space, nothing fancy, and all I need is a pencil and my cookbooks.

Once I get the new calendar that comes out in October I am able to start writing out the next years meals. I pretty much know now what we like to eat at certain times of the year so it’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks one month at a time. I’ve also written about how I decided to plan meals for a year at a time here and the best way to get started here. It does take some time to write it all down but I try to only take a month so it’s just done and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I also take into account days for trying new meals, holidays, soccer season, and other family gatherings.

This last year I got about half way done when I took a break from planning and never finished. I’ve been writing in each only as it comes but am hoping to get the rest of the year done so I just dont’ have to think about it anymore.

Our kids have really loved this as they always know what’s coming and even like to look at the coming months to see if their favorite meals will be coming up. A couple of days again, Kurtis looked at next month and asked Dean if we were going to starve in October. Turns out I hadn’t filled in that month yet and he seriously thought we weren’t going to be eating. Poor guy! I got next months meals planned out and let him know we will be eating every day next month. Here is a pic of next months meals.

What ways do you plan your meals?

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3 thoughts on “Meal Planning for a Large Family

  1. I never thought to plan my meals a year in advance! The way I plan my meals is first I only plan dinner meals. we eat breakfast and lunch also but breakfast is always a rotation of eggs, cereal (mostly Sunday mornings), waffles, toast or cooked cereal. Lunch is a rotation of left overs, mac and cheese, sandwiches, soup. For dinners though I plan them 2 weeks in advance, I just list 14 meals on the top of a piece of paper, I try to include 2 big meals complete with desserts, some easy meals and a few crock pot meals. At the bottom of the paper I make my shopping list. I like this because after I do my grocery shopping I hang my list on the refrigerator. I know that I have all the ingredients on hand, which helps so I don’t have to run to the store for ingredients. After I prepare a meal I mark it off the list. It works really well for me because I can look at my list and decide if I feel like a quick meal or a more complicated meal.

    • I never thought I’d plan that far out either. It really just started of one week at a time and then a month and so one. I found so much freedom in not having to plan meals that I just kept going with it. I do peek ahead at the end of each month and make any changes before the kids see. Once it’s up for everyone to see they lock me in to most meals. lol They also love that they can see what the meals are for the month and it’s fun to hear them talk about how they can’t wait for such and such day so they can have their favorite meals. Plus, it takes the nagging questions from the kids about what we are having for whatever meal. If they do ask I can simply tell them to go look 🙂 It’s a great system for us anyway.

  2. Pingback: Pregnancy: Week 33 and other things… | My Favorite Things

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