Meal Planning for Family with Several Children

Meal Planning for Family with Several Children

Plan your meals for minimum waste

large family eating dinnerThe words ‘meal planning might conjure up the image of a boring chore that nobody ever sticks to; but if you want your family to eat well, avoid waste, and save money, then planning your meals for the week is the way to go. Organizing the meals for your family means that you have everything to hand when you’re ready to cook dinner, and you don’t need to resort to unhealthy and expensive takeaways.  And if all that isn’t enough, some meals planned carefully can stretch to the following day’s packed lunches which means even more savings on your weekly food bill. 

Get your kids involved

It’s often a challenge for parents of more than 2 children to overcome the strain of catering to a number of different tastes, whilst trying to stick to a budget.  How do you get several children to eat the same meal, whilst knowing you’re feeding them healthily, and not over-spending?  Making the process fun could keep those tea-time tantrums to a minimum; and by making the kids feel involved in the meal planning, they’re more likely to feel that their choices matter.  Sit down together and play a ‘shopping list game’ with pictures of cheap and nourishing foods; the kids will love putting a list together this way, and they won’t have a clue that they’re saving you money, as well as choosing healthy food!

Preparation is everything

Most kids think that food comes from supermarkets – preparing meals together can teach your kids  about where their food comes from, and how to make the right food choices.  Introducing healthy foods when they’re young will develop their taste buds in favor of those foods, keeping food related tantrums to a minimum as they get older, and banishing those expensive picky-eating years.  Furthermore, teaching kids that not every meal has to include meat can play a huge role in keeping your food costs low –  for example, substitute beef burgers for bean burgers, and make your own fish fingers at home with cheap and plentiful white fish, and using leftover bread to make breadcrumbs. 

Tips for your list

If you’re going to make a success of planning your meals, you need a list that you’re going to stick to.  Rushing through a list 5 minutes before you leave for the store is not a good idea, but if you are stuck for time, generally, the following pointers could help you to keep to your goal of shopping inexpensively:

Check on things like condiments and spices before you go to the store – forgetting items means more tempting shopping trips.
With so much controversy surrounding two-for-one offers, and items on promotion, don’t be afraid to take up these offers – use them with caution, and only buy items you know you can really make a saving on.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry – you’ll end up buying things you really don’t want, or need!


  1. The cost of food seems to be soaring. I would never give my family TV dinners. TV dinners are expensive and loaded with salt. I can make meals way cheaper, with less salt and I have left overs! I try to stay with tried and true recipes with my family, and we buy food items when they are on sale! Of course I am a coupon fanatic!

  2. These are great ideas for family reunions too. I love getting the little ones involved somehow in preparing the food or just setting the table.

  3. Great ideas for the kids to be involved. Thanks for sharing.

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