How to Plan Family Meals to Save Time and Money

Do you think maintaining healthy food habits is difficult? For many moms, promoting a balanced diet and maintaining family mealtime can be challenging. Here are some ideas for planning meals for the whole family, and for saving time and money.

Make a varied menu that includes all the food groups.

Before buying groceries, plan the menu for the whole week. Include breakfasts, school snacks, lunches, afternoon snacks, dinners and also special weekend snacks.
Do not forget that every meal should have a carbohydrate (think of carbohydrates with valuable nutritional contributions, and avoid preparing too many fried foods), low-fat proteins and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, each meal should include these food groups. And when it comes to snacks, the options can be a bit more relaxed: cookies, cakes, bread with jelly, fruit, ice cream and yogurt are some appealing options for children.
Remember the importance of eating a balanced diet. Eat anything you want, within reason, but nothing excessively.


Good Idea: Consider including the children in the menu-planning process. By helping them feel involved, they will be motivated to eat better.

You may also be interested in: How to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables.  Click here.


Assign a budget based on your menu and try to stick to it.

The hardest part is usually adhering to your budget. But when you plan the menu and the shopping list based on your budget, you have already done most of the work. Do not be too rigid, of course! You can make some exceptions and give in to your cravings from time to time, as long as they do not keep you from buying the important things on your list. In addition, if you involve the little ones in the purchases and stick to your budget, you will set a great financial example.
Buying food on your list based on an exact menu is also an effective way to eat consciously. Avoid buying food that no one will eat, or items that will get lost in the cupboard, so as not to waste money.

Good Idea: try to come up with a budget for children’s snacks and invite them to select what they want as long as they stay within this budget. This will teach them to make smart decisions where money is concerned.

You may also be interested in: 5 Great, Delicious and Healthy Lunch-Box Ideas. Click here.

Cook some of your food in advance

Take some time during the week to prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them, or just have them ready in the fridge. This will save you a lot of time. You can also save your food based on the portions your little ones will eat, and not only manage your time in the kitchen better, but also ensure that no food is wasted.

Good Idea: always have snacks on hand for those surprise visits and hunger pangs.


Plan a day for the leftovers 

Even when you do all this, you can still have leftovers from every meal. And, let’s face it &mdash who likes to cook on Sundays? Since Sunday is probably an international day of leftovers, just think about all the great dishes you can prepare with leftover food:

  • Bake lasagna with meat and sauces from other days of the week.
  • Prepare homemade pizzas with leftover vegetables and other foods.
  • Make a rich minestrone soup with leftover beans, vegetables and some pasta

Use your imagination. Anything is possible!


Good Idea: consider asking your kids to make a recipe of their own with the leftovers.

You may also be interested in: 5 Steps to Start Building Healthy Habits in Toddlers. Click here.

Share your experience with family meals in the comments.