Many assert that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for little ones. But while a hearty breakfast may provide our children with enough energy to last throughout a day filled with fun activities, an evening dinner with the family is just as significant, if not more so. To be sure, a healthy dinner helps revitalize our children after a day at school or elsewhere, and helps prepare them for extra homework or nighttime activities, or even a restful sleep to get them ready for the next day.
Of course, while dinner may be an important meal, it is often difficult to cook a healthy meal ahead of time, certainly when all members of the family have busy schedules of their own. But just because you have jam-packed itineraries throughout the week doesn’t meal you can’t follow a few simple steps to plan ahead beforehand. In fact, with these easy family menu ideas, you can ensure you have everything you need each day of the week to create a delicious dinner for the whole family.
When In Doubt, Plan Five Easy Meals
Perhaps the easiest way to begin the process of planning for a week of family menu ideas is by picking five meals to eat every day of the week. And while it may sound enticing to crack open a gourmet cookbook and select five exotic selections, this may only prove more difficult altogether. Instead, on the weekend before, pick five trusted menu items that the entire family loves to eat, and that don’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare. This way everyone can know what’s being served on a given day of the week, and you won’t have to work hard to create the food for the family.
Get Everything on Sunday – and Make Sure You Plan for that as Well
Once you have your five daily meals planned for the upcoming week, begin to put your plan in motion by heading to the grocery store to get everything that you need. It may be smart to grab a few extra ingredients for more of a given meal in case you have a friend over for dinner, or in case someone happens to be extra hungry.
And instead of heading to the grocery store with a simple list, make a plan for how you will tackle the task at hand. Split the list into sections for each family member; for example, you can have separate lists for produce, meat/fish/chicken/eggs, pantry items, and miscellaneous. Shopping this way allows everyone in the family to participate in the process and will help ensure that you are finished in a shorter amount of time.
Stick to the Plan – But Don’t Be Afraid to Deviate if You Have To
Now that you have your five daily meals planned ahead, and your kitchen is fully stocked with everything that you could possibly need to create delicious meals, you are ready to go. However, one of the most difficult things to accomplish is the ultimate decision to stick to the plan that you made for you and your family. To be sure, there may be some days when you simply don’t want to cook, even if it will only take less than 30 minutes; or you may find that one of your children is complaining about a certain meal, even if you gave them plenty of advance warning earlier in the week. In these circumstances, it is best if you stick to your guns and follow the meal plan that you set; this will help you get in the routine of cooking.
There may be certain situations, however, in which it’s almost necessary to change the plan; for example, if some of your ingredients are rotten, or if you get stuck at work late and you don’t have any time to cook. Here, don’t hesitate to go out or order in to ensure the family still gets to eat together.
Plan for Two Weeks – if You Dare!
In the beginning, family dinner planning for a full week can seem like an extremely daunting task. But once you get the hang of it, continue on by attempting to plan family menu ideas for two, three, or even four weeks at a time. By planning ahead like this you are utilizing your time efficiently, and ensuring that your little ones and the entire family will have delicious and healthy meals to eat throughout the entirety of the coming weeks.
How to Create a Family Menu Planner – Simple Steps to Get Started
Dinner is absolutely one of the most important meals of the day, and creating a family dinner planner can help ensure you have everything you need for healthy meals throughout the week. So don’t wait to get started; try these simple steps to get ready for the week and cook delicious meals every night.