Meal Planning for Family

5 Simple Tips for Stress-Free Meal Planning for Your Family

Meal planning for the family is a great way to save time and money when preparing meals at home. It takes the guesswork out of what to make for dinner every single day! 

Meal planning also helps you stay on budget while ensuring that you provide your family with nutritious, well-balanced food.

Additionally, when you prepare meals for the family in advance, your kids are more likely to grow up choosing healthier food options.

With some simple tips and tricks, you can create a meal plan that works for your family. 

Although it can be a chore to keep a regular schedule to sit down and plan all your meals ahead, a family meal plan can undoubtedly save you time and sanity during the week when everything gets hectic.

What is Meal Planning?

It all comes down to planning your family’s meals in advance, usually for the upcoming week, though other families might choose to plan two weeks or even monthly. 

In my household, planning for a week works best!

Additionally, you should do all of your grocery shopping in advance for those meals to ensure you have all your ingredients on hand during the week. 

This helps you stick to your planned meal and saves you time from last-minute grocery trips.

5 Tips for Meal Planning for the Family

  1. Determine the Number of Meals

First, consider how many meals you will need for the week. 

Depending on how many people you’re cooking for and how often you eat out, your meal plan may need to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day. You may even want to include snacks.

  1. Consider your Family’s Dietary Needs

Take into account your family’s dietary needs, preferences, and budget. 

If you have picky eaters, it’s a good idea to have a few staple meals that everyone likes. I have two kids who love fried chicken breast fillet so this is a regular in my weekly meal plan. 

If you’re on a budget, plan meals that use inexpensive ingredients and consider produce that are in season. 

If you’re trying to eat healthier, choose recipes that are low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Stay away from highly processed foods that may contain too much of these.

When planning our weekly menu, I also consider the meat I would cook and the method of cooking. I try to limit our consumption of pork and beef to no more than three times per week or consecutive meals. Even though fish is actually my kids’ least favorite meal, I like to prepare more chicken and fish dishes.

As for the method of cooking, I try to balance out the simmering, baking, steaming, and grilling, while limiting the frying. Of course, the method of cooking all depends on our family’s schedule for the day. I typically choose meals that don’t need much preparation.

  1. Plot the Family Meal Plan in a Planner

I’m a fan of meal planners. Together with my kids, I type our menu plan for the week, print, and post it in our kitchen for everyone to see. This is really a life saver!

On very busy weeks, my handy note pad on my iPhone does the trick! I just write it like this …….

  1. Plan the grocery list

To ensure that you can stick with your plan, you have to make sure you have all the ingredients you need for your planned meals. 

First, check your refrigerator and pantry for the available ingredients then write down everything else that you need to buy. 

Printable Grocery Checklist is really handy for me. If I don’t have it printed and I’m in a hurry, I just use my iPhone notepad to create a checklist. 

Knowing what ingredients you need in advance helps you stay focused while grocery shopping and prevents you from buying unnecessary items. 

  1. Plan the cooking

Finally, make sure you have time to cook. Meal planning helps you save time, but of course, it still requires effort. If you’re short on time, plan meals that can be prepped ahead of time or that can be cooked quickly. You can also consider making double portions so you have leftovers for another meal. 


Meal planning can be a great way to make sure your family is eating healthy meals while staying on budget. With a little planning and preparation, you can create delicious and nutritious meals for the whole family without getting stressed and bugged with the dreadful question “What’s for dinner?!”

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