Having a planned menu for your week’s meals helps avoid last minute runs to the store (of which most purchases are full priced) and helps alleviate the ominous “What’s for dinner?” question.
Base meals around what will be on sale. If your local store has pasta sauce and fresh French bread on sale this week, plan a spaghetti dinner (with one those boxes of pasta you got for free last month!)
If you know you’ll be busy on a day next week, make a double batch of tonight’s meal and freeze half. This way you’ll only have to thaw and reheat!
Favorites include casseroles, stews/ soups, pizza dough, rotisserie chicken (if you never eat a whole one, de-bone the leftovers and put them in a freezer bag– perfect for adding to soups & casseroles later!), lasagna, and many others.
Pair items in your stockpile with fresh ingredients that are on sale and in season.
Keep your stockpile stocked! For guidelines of how much of a category to stockpile, check out this post. Having a good selection in your stockpile enables you to make a wider variety of foods.
Try theme nights– taco Tuesdays, homemade pizza Fridays, salad Saturdays, meatless Mondays, etc. Then switch up ingredients and try new recipes! Remember that children are more likely to eat meals & veggies if they help pick & prepare the food.
If you do different cuisines on different days of the week, this can be a great learning opportunity. Find out a few facts about the country of origin and teach them to your family. If they eat sitting on cushions or on the ground, why not try it out? Eat with chopsticks for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean meals, or eat with your hands if you’re eating Indian or Filipino!
Here are a few meal ideas to get you started:
Nachos and a fresh fruit tray for family movie or game night
Pitch a tent in the backyard and eat Dutch Oven then s’mores or cobbler for dessert
Picnic at a nearby park with sub sandwiches, juice & fresh cut veggies
Try breakfast for dinner! Make pancakes with fresh fruit on top, eggs, toast, orange juice, and turkey bacon. You can even eat in your PJs