How to Create a Monthly Family Meal Plan

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.

How to Create a Healthy Monthly Family Meal Plan - Bianca Dottin

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.

How to Create a Healthy Monthly Family Meal Plan - Bianca DottinHow to Create a Healthy Monthly Family Meal Plan - Bianca Dottin

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.

How to Create a Healthy Monthly Family Meal Plan - Bianca DottinHow to Create a Healthy Monthly Family Meal Plan - Bianca Dottin

Have you ever created a monthly family meal plan?

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  • Reply
    03.06.18 at 7:23 pm

    What great ideas, I especially like the ideas around having the family involved in choosing meals to prep, although my littles might just choose pizza every night of the week! 🙂 I also love theme nights, we have never implemented that but something i would like to do as the kiddos get a little older! 🙂

  • Reply
    03.06.18 at 7:53 pm

    I’m going to have to look for this Hood Calorie Countdown the next time I go shopping, it sounds fantastic! It’s so easy to just speed through my shopping list and pick up our go-to’s that sometimes I miss great new products on the shelf. Thanks for sharing! Also, I love meal planning, it has saved our budget!

  • Reply
    03.07.18 at 4:02 am

    In my family things change a lot so we can’t so a monthly mean plan. We normally do at two weeks in advance for a dinners.

  • Reply
    Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated
    03.07.18 at 7:35 am

    I love all these tips and use them a lot myself! It’s so helpful to plan quick, easy meals for the nights when you know you’re going to be busy.

  • Reply
    Czjai Reyes-Ocampo
    03.07.18 at 1:40 pm

    I usually plan our meals on a weekly basis, two weeks at the most. One thing is consistent around here, though – pancakes on Sunday mornings and fish on Friday nights. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Edgar
    03.07.18 at 2:10 pm

    This is a great idea and would be so helpful. I will this information on to my sister as I think her family would benefit from meal planning, and you provide great tips.

  • Reply
    03.07.18 at 4:49 pm

    We love meal prep and planning in advance. It’s so important when trying to eat healthy.

  • Reply
    Jen ~ The Tipsy Mama
    03.07.18 at 5:11 pm

    I’m a daycare provider so meal planning is a must and a huge time saver every month! Great tips!

  • Reply
    Alicia Taylor
    03.07.18 at 5:35 pm

    I miss our themed dinner nights – and this is a great suggestion. When I was homeschooling my kids, we studied a different country every month. One night a week, each child was responsible for planning a meal from that country. Also, my slowcooker is my best friend on busy nights.

    • Reply
      Bianca Dottin
      03.08.18 at 12:07 am

      Meals from a different country sound like so much fun!

  • Reply
    Ann F. Snook-Moreau
    03.07.18 at 6:51 pm

    Having a few old standby’s is so helpful when I meal plan. It’s fun to change it up but sometimes I find myself racking my brain for hours and end up doing a favorite dinner anyway.

  • Reply
    Esme Sy
    03.08.18 at 12:42 pm

    The first tip is tried, tested and proven to be the most important of all. There will always be busy days and nights and the only way to ruin it completely is to go unplanned for food. Getting the whole family to help with just the choices can also help tremendously for efficiency.

  • Reply
    Mardene Carr
    03.08.18 at 1:13 pm

    Meal planning is essential for every family who wants to stay on track with what they are eating and budget wise. Wise mama!

  • Reply
    Heather McMechan
    03.08.18 at 2:34 pm

    Easy go-to meals are key with little ones. Our girls can be quite picky. Planning meals in advance can help minimize your spending as well.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Prince
    03.08.18 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you for making this easy! I really need to get on board and plan out my meals in a better way. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nancy Johnson Horn
    03.09.18 at 4:38 pm

    We don’t meal plan enough, I think it’s really time for me to do that. Also — we LOVE the Hood Calorie Countdown Chocolate milk. It has 5 carbs per serving, which means my 12-year-old son with Type 1 Diabetes can have it any time he wants (we count carbs and he doesn’t need insulin for anything 5 carbs and under per serving).

  • Reply
    Lisa Rios
    03.10.18 at 6:13 am

    Meal plans are always so tricky for us because sometimes we get spontaneous when we have certain ingredients LOL but I’ll keep these helpful tips in mind

  • Reply
    03.11.18 at 1:43 am

    I like the idea of batching all the planning work up front each month. I can see how this would simplify meal planning – and you really only have to do it 12 times per year! I’m sure the list of family favorites on the refrigerator also helps each family member feel like they are a special part of the decision making process. Nothing says love like your favorite dinner.

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