This post was sponsored by Hood as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
You know that we’ve been on this entire health kick this year. It’s not as easy as we thought it would be. We learned very quickly that if you don’t plan properly you can easily fall off of the wagon. We’re slowly implementing changes one by one so that we don’t wear ourselves out. One of the things that has been helping us make these new lifestyle changes is creating a monthly family meal plan.
Monthly family meal plans were the best way to go for a few reasons. I dread grocery shopping because most of the time my family will pick up extra things that aren’t on the list causing us to go over our budget. They also love piling the junk food into our cart. By shopping monthly, we’ve been able to eliminate those dreaded trips and stay on budget.
Creating a monthly family meal plan is easier than it sounds. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
How to Create a Monthly Family Meal Plan
1. Choose easy meals for the busiest nights.
Our weeknights are filled with after school activities, some nights are jam packed more than others. On the nights when we have more than one after school activity, we choose simple meals that can be made in under 30 minutes with less than 5 ingredients. The last thing that I want to do when we get home is to stay in the kitchen all night preparing dinner. Some of our favorite simple meals include garlic bread pizza, soups, or salads.
2. Plan in advance.
Planning in advance is the best thing you can do when meal planning. Before we head to the grocery store, we do a quick pantry inventory to see what items we have stocked in our kitchen. After we’ve done our inventory, we come up with a menu using our stocked items as a base. Not only does this help us stay within our budget but it also ensures that we’re not buying things that we don’t have the space for.
3. Don’t forget the dairy
Dairy is so important when meal planning. Hood Calorie Countdown, that we found at Walmart (grab a coupon here), is a staple item on our grocery list every single time. It’s made with milk from farmers who don’t use artificial growth hormones. Calorie Countdown blends ultra-filtered milk with water, cream (and other ingredients) for a delicious and creamy taste. It has fewer calories, less sugar, and fewer carbohydrates than regular milk. Don’t forget to add a glass of Calorie Countdown to your meal plan.
4. Let your family help.
Getting your family involved is so important. My family is made up of some of the pickiest eaters. If I don’t involve them in meal planning, I’ll have to listen to complaints all month long. Ask your family what dishes they like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tatiana takes her lunch to school every day. When we’re meal planning, we make sure to account for the ingredients she’ll need for lunch.
5. Stay consistent with themed nights.
Themed nights are everyone’s favorite! Tacos anyone? Nothing goes over better than my family making their own choices for dinner. Themed nights spice things up and allow everyone to be happy in the decision they make for dinner. Once a week we have a themed night. Some nights it’s tacos, some nights it’s fried chicken. A fun theme and a glass of Calorie Countdown goes a long way. No matter what, everyone is happy and full on themed nights.
6. Choose fruits and veggies with less sugar
Fruits and veggies are an essential part of our daily routine too. Since we’re trying to make healthier choices, we always add fruits and vegetables that are lower in sugar to our meal plan. We typically like to have 3-4 servings of each throughout the day so we make sure to include enough to get our entire family through the week. We each make a list of our favorites and add them to our grocery list.
7. Have a list of go-to meals that your family loves.
Sometimes I’m just way too tired to even wrap my head around thinking about dinner. Creating a monthly meal plan takes all of that stress away but sometimes I get stuck doing that. Over time my family has come up with a list of meals that have been hits for dinner time. We keep the list of our favorite meals on our refrigerator so that it’s easier to just add them to our menu every month. Some of our go-to meals are spaghetti, barbecue meatballs, and baked chicken.
Have you ever created a monthly family meal plan?