When you have a busy family of five (with two working parents) – family meal planning for the week is a necessity. After I went back to work full time, Jeff and I found navigating meal time to be a total nightmare. With three crazy kids running around – we don’t have time to think about what we are going to make. We just need to get it cooked and on the table before the little people revolt!
I created this helpful template that I fill out every Saturday night and put on our fridge. We rely heavily upon pre-prepared options from “Trader Joe’s” and our favorite meat market, “Ream’s” in Elburn, Illinois. We like to hit up the local farmer’s market for fresh produce (“French Market” in Geneva, Illinois). These are not gourmet meals. These are meals that can be thrown in the oven and ready to go in under 30 minutes.
Here is what we are eating for the week of November 5th:
|Sunday||English Muffin, Bacon, Yogurt Smoothie||Free Choice||Left Overs|
|Monday||Ham Egg & Cheddar Sandwich, Cantalope, OJ||Packed||Dixie Chicks with Butternut Squash Zig Zags, Fresh Arugala and Goat Cheese|
|Tuesday||Quiche Lorraine, Hashbrown, Yogurt Smoothie||Packed||Organic Ground Beef Patties with Cheese on English Muffin with Broccoli & Cauliflour|
|Wednesday||Starbucks (I drop the baby off early and take the girls to breakfast at our favorite place – “Starbs.”)||Hot Lunch||Wild Rice Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Green Beans sauted in Bacon|
|Thursday||Chocolate Croissants, Cantalope, OJ||Packed||Popeye Beef Flanks stuffed with Spinach served with Sweet Potatoes|
|Friday||Banana Pancake Puffs, Chicken Sausage, Yogurt Smoothie||Packed||Carne Asada Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo and Guacamole|
|Saturday||Dad’s Choice||Free Choice||Dad’s Choice|
Everything on the dinner menu this week comes from “Ream’s” and French Market. Breakfast and lunch are from “Trader Joe’s.”
On Sunday, I create an assembly line for lunch prep so that everyone’s lunch (kids, husband, me) is pre-packed and ready to go in the a.m. Note: I hate making lunch in the morning (Too tired! Too crazy!) and hate making lunch at night (Too tired! Just want to drink wine!). It only takes me about an hour to make everyone’s lunches on Sunday. I pop my head phones in – jam out to the “Counting Crows” playlist on iHeart Radio – and slap some food together. Lunches are organized into freezer bags labeled “Monday” through “Friday” and each person has their own “bin” in the fridge for the pre-packed lunches. In the morning, I grab a lunch out of the person’s respective bin – throw it into their lunch bag – and send them out the door with a kissy.
Wednesday is my “cheat” day. I drop the baby off early at daycare and take the girls out for breakfast at Starbucks. It is our time to be together and have “big kid” time. The phone is turned off and I focus 100% of my attention on them. I also let the girls get “hot lunch” at school – which is a treat for them and one less meal for me to make.
This works for us. Got a different method you want to share? Connect with me and let me know about it. Or feel free to leave a comment below. Want a copy of my meal planning template? Just fill out the contact form below and I’ll send it right over.
Please send me the Meal Planning Template!