Some families thrive with meal planning and others do not. Our family is in between the two extremes on the meal planning spectrum…we do very well with planning dinners, but no other meals. This is because I purposely make large batches of food at every dinner so that leftovers can serve as breakfast or lunch in the following days. It saves a lot of time in the kitchen and significantly reduces food waste.
We didn’t start getting into meal planning until I had 1 or 2 children, simply because it wasn’t a concept I was familiar with, and also it doesn’t take much food to feed a family of 4, in which two of the children are very young. One of them was primarily breastfeeding, anyway! But now, I’ve got my husband and my pregnant self and three food-loving kids to feed. My husband likes intermittent fasting, so he usually only eats once per day and is ready for a hearty dinner after work. These days, I can’t get away without meal planning!
To be of help to anyone looking for meal-planning examples for a growing family, here is what a typical week looks like for us:
Breakfast: Kefir smoothie with berries or a banana, raw egg yolks, and collagen. Sardines, a slice of sourdough with butter, or leftovers if still hungry.
Lunch: Grapes, cheese slices, and a glass of raw milk or kombucha.
Dinner: Large sourdough pizza with ground beef, cheese, veggies, cilantro. Served with a glass of milk.
Breakfast: Yogurt with soaked oatmeal or granola or fruit. Kombucha to drink.
Lunch: Large salmon salad with a glass of milk or kombucha.
Dinner: Leftover pizza with a glass of milk.
Breakfast: Salmon salad and a glass of milk.
Lunch: Kefir or yogurt smoothie with egg yolks, collagen and berries or banana.
Dinner: Nourishing Traditions Spicy Meatloaf (one of my favorites!) with a glass of chocolate milk.
Breakfast: Fried eggs and yogurt/kefir smoothie.
Lunch: Lentil dahl over rice and a glass of milk or kombucha.
Dinner: Swiss and mushroom hamburgers on sourdough english muffins and sauerkraut on the side. A glass of milk to drink.
Breakfast: Leftover lentil dahl over rice and a kefir, yogurt, or kombucha smoothie for “dessert.”
Lunch: Cheese slices, a banana or other fruit, carrot slices, and a glass of milk.
Dinner: Sauteed shrimp in butter and topped with lemon, any leftover sourdough english muffins, and peas or green beans on the side.
Breakfast: Kefir smoothie with egg yolks, collagen, and fruit. Applesauce or any leftovers if still hungry.
Lunch: Leftover burgers and meatloaf. Served with a glass of milk or kombucha.
Dinner: BBQ chicken meat (from a whole chicken in the instant pot), served with buttered peas and rice. A glass of milk to drink.
Breakfast: Apples with almond butter and a glass of milk.
Lunch: Leftover BBQ chicken and kombucha to drink.
Dinner: Beef vegetable soup made with bone broth from the whole chicken I made the day before. Served with a slice of buttered sourdough bread and a glass of milk.
I should note that we do not eat snacks. This helps my children focus during mealtimes, keeps me out of the kitchen more often, and teaches us that food is functional rather than used as an emotional crutch (munching all day long isn’t really necessary, I promise). We eat to live, not live to eat…though we love our hearty food! 🙂 So, I usually plan for our meals and go grocery shopping on Friday for the whole next week. I never assign meals to a specific day in order to provide myself with some flexibility. Sometimes, I make “extras,” like soaked and roasted nuts, cookies, or a loaf of sourdough bread.
Occasionally, I will make soft chocolate chip cookies, homemade ice cream, or some other type of dessert, but not usually. We don’t eat much added sugar and we prefer savory foods.
I hope this helps! Everybody has their preferences when it comes to planning and organization. As I said, some people do better with no planning, a lot of planning, or somewhere in between. We all learn as we go and especially if our family sizes are changing, it is good to remain flexible. Cheers to good food!