When it comes to taking care of my family, I thought creating large family meal plans would take forever.
One of the most challenging jobs I have is trying to find a creative solution for dinner each night that I can actually cook.
Then, once I’ve finally come up with a solution, finding the time to cook is a whole other issue.
Our lives are super busy, and we have a lot going on these days, however, getting dinner on the table is still a priority in our household. We know that eating at home is one of our best ways to save money.
It is so expensive eating out even at a fast food restaurant these days with our large family. Even fast food can cost us over $50 for a family of 6!
Not only is eating a healthy meal a priority, but family time is a must in our house! And we cherish our time since we all seem to be going in different directions lately.
That’s when I needed to come up with some large family meal planning ideas that would actually work for me and my large family.
If you are in need of some large family meal plans, then keep reading! You might just find the secret sauce to making meal planning work for your large family with these large family meal planning tips!
Make A Plan Of Attack – Don’t Just Jump In
If you’ve tried to make large family meal plans before, this might be the reason why you didn’t stick with it.
You can’t just jump headfirst into the meal planning process and expect to succeed.
You need to make a plan of attack for your meal planning process and how to make it work for you and your large family.
- When will you shop for groceries?
- Where will you shop for groceries?
- What will you make on busy nights?
- Are there any nights when you need to make multiple meals for your busy schedule?
- When are the best nights to utilize your crockpot or Instapot?
- Do you have a backup plan meal idea?
Keep these questions in mind when creating your meal plan.
Are you most productive during the middle of the week? Do you have more time on Saturday mornings or nights? If so, this might be when you want to make your most difficult meals or even multiple meals for your busy week.
Your calendar might just be your most important resource about what type of meals you are going to make and how you are going to make them in order for these large family meal planning ideas to work.
Consult your calendar for the week and get busy making your large family meal plans.
Pick A Set A Time To Meal Plan
Large family meal plans can be a challenging task, especially if you have kids running around the house, a husband, and a cat at your feet begging to play.
Having a system in place to get things done saves me so much time!
I look for a small window of opportunity during the week when I know I can meal plan. This usually happens when my kids are reading or taking their Sunday nap, my husband is watching a sporting event and the kitties are sleeping too.
I sit down with my large family meal planning ideas and quickly jot down my meals for the week.
Since I can never seem to remember what dinners we usually like, there are several things that I have on hand to help me get the job done faster.
Here are the things I often use to create my large family meal plans:
- Quite spot in a room
- Meal planning templates
- Old meal plans
- Computer with my Pinterest file open
- Weekly grocery store ads to help with finding deals to incorporate into my meal plan
- Master list of ingredients that I usually buy printed & ready
After you have set out a time to meal plan, make a recurring weekly reminder on your phone. Make it chime at the same day and same time each week so you’ll be more apt to meal plan. And if you’ve forgotten or have been busy doing something else, it will be a great reminder to get busy making your large family meal plans!
Add “meal planning” to your chore chart or planner/calendar for a day you’re not so busy. If you aren’t using a planner/calendar, this might be a great reason to start one if you are a visual type of person and need help remembering to meal plan.
With these large family meal planning tips, you’ll be more apt to get busy making those meal plans that work for your large family.
Pick A Planning Buddy
When it’s time to meal plan, you need to get your family involved in the process. The best large family meal planning ideas for our weekly meals usually come from my family.
Usually after church, I ask my husband and kids what they would like to eat each week. It’s a great idea to get their input so they will actually look forward to the meals each week.
Not only is this an easy way to fill your meal plan with meals you know your family will eat, but this can help you determine what you need to make each week as well.
Then, pick meal plan buddy for the month. Pick a child to help you meal plan each week or this can even be a part of their chore chart. This will help them feel important about helping the family and you’ll hopefully have a buddy to keep you stay on task and to remember to do it as well.
Start your large family meal plans with the ingredients you already have on hand to save money!
Your planning budding can look up the recipe ingredients you need from a cookbook. They can also check the pantry, fridge or freezer for ingredients you might already have on hand, and even check the amount of spices you have or need.
It’s a great way for them to get involved with the meal planning process, but also introduces them to what it takes to put a meal on the table.
Don’t Make It Too Difficult
Meal planning is supposed to be a tool to make your life easier, not harder.
If you are struggling with your large family meal plans, it might be that you are making it too hard on yourself. These large family meal planning ideas are supposed to help you, not make you more stressed about the process of meal planning.
One of my best large family meal planning tips is to keep a list of all your family’s favorite recipes to reference when you’re low on ideas.
More large family meal planning tips:
- Reuse old meal plans.
- Making a crock pot meal? If you have extra room in your crock pot, double the recipe and save half for another week.
- Got two crock pots? Get both going to make your large family meal plans easier.
- Make a double batch of rice and freeze it!
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel each week. Stick with recipes you know you can handle if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Another one of my best large family meal planning ideas is to create a master list of ingredients!
Always buy milk, bread, oatmeal and chicken each week? Then type up a word document of all the stuff you buy each week. Then you can write how many you need and any other ingredients you need to buy. It makes my shopping list go a lot faster for my large family meal plans.
Plan For Each Meal
If you have a large family, you most likely eat at home for every meal. So it’s important to add enough meals to your large family meal plans for each meal of the day, every day of the week.
With a large family it can be difficult to combine the two: eating and saving.
But not really! With a little bit of imagination, patience and planning, you can easily find options for every day to eat that won’t cost you a lot of money.
Since I have 4 kids, 3 of which are growing boys, and a hard-working hubby, I never plan meals as leftovers unless I double my recipe and actually plan the other half for another meal. Why? We rarely have any leftovers! Keep that in mind as you are creating your meal plan too.
Here are a couple of frugal meal options we choose each week:
Frugal Breakfast Ideas:
- Eggs & Toast
- Homemade Muffins
Oatmeal made my cheapest breakfast foods list so don’t pass that up!
- Chicken & Rice
- Bean Burritos
Frugal Snack Options:
- Homemade Popcorn
- Fruit & vegetables
- Sloppy Joes
- Baked Chicken Thighs
Make sure you are adding the cheapest cuts of meat to your large family meal plans to save more money on your shopping trip!
Don’t forget to add the drinks!
We drink lots of water instead of juices and soda. If we get bored of water, we drink homemade lemonade. Just add a True Lemon packet and some stevia to your glass and mix well. It’s way healthier than soda and it saves us so much money!
Find The Best Store To Shop
I’m a busy mom, wife, and businesswoman and right now I only have time to shop at one store. For me, that’s Aldi right now.
I usually can find everything I need for my large family meal plans at one store, and it saves me time knowing that I only have to make one trip for all the meals that I need each week.
It also saves money for my large family. Aldi is a great store to shop at since the prices are so low.
Don’t miss out on these Aldi best buys!
One of the best large family meal planning tips is to find the best store for you to shop at. It might be Walmart because their prices are low or another store because it’s closest to you.
If you are trying to save money, figure out which store is best for you and what you need. It might be two stores, and that’s fine too if you can squeeze them both in each week.
If you are going to two stores, make sure you are comparing the food prices for your large family meal plans and getting the best deals on what you need. It’s the best way to save money on your groceries.
But do what’s best for you and your time.
Bulk Up Your Meals
As a momma trying to stretch her budget, bulking up your meals can sure add a lot more servings to a meal. More servings = fuller tummies!
Plus, we are always having the kid’s friends stop by and they need to be fed too! Boy can that mess up your large family meal plans in an instant.
One of my favorite large family meal planning tips is to bulk up your meals with beans, rice and frozen veggies. They are a cost-effective way to add more substance to a meal and more nutrition!
Add beans into your taco meat, ground oatmeal in your meatloaves and frozen veggies to any meal you think it would fit.
Beans and rice also made my healthy food swaps list!
Have A Backup Plan To Your Meal Plan
Babies are born, people go to the hospital, and you don’t feel like cooking or using your large family meal plans.
Or the oven breaks, catches on fire or you’ve burned dinner because you got caught up in the news.
All of these things are inevitable parts of everyday life, and bumps along the road are going to happen.
One of the best large family meal planning tips is to keep freezer meals or super simple meals that can be made with little to no effort such as frozen pizza or frozen entrees on hand. I keep several pizzas and skillet frozen pasta and protein type meals in my freezer for just this purpose.
This will help keep you from eating out and make dinner easier on these crazy nights.
Do you have a backup to your backup plan? While that may seem crazy, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan for your large family meal plans.
Got caught in traffic and it’s super late? What are you going to feed your family?
Or if you know your freezer is empty of easy meals, find a recipe or idea that you can make easily with one stop to the store.
Another easy large family meal planning tips is that I often use rotisserie chickens as my backup plan idea. Most stores offer rotisserie chickens for around $5. I pick up 2 chickens and some salad and that’s dinner. So for under $15 we have dinner which is way less than any fast food restaurant for our large family.
Create your backup plans for your large family meal plans that is easy but is also cheaper and healthier than the drive thru. I know it can be done!
Don’t Lose Your Momentum
Whenever you introduce something new into your routine like your large family meal plans, it can be challenging to stick with it.
Just like dieting or any other new habit, it takes some time to make it a habit.
By the end of the second week, you might be less up to meal planning than you were on day one.
For days like this, you need to be prepared and find ways to keep the momentum going to create your large family meal plans.
Reuse meal plans if you need to or find ways to make it easier is one of the best large family meal planning tips. You might need to just create a list of 30 recipes. And just pick from those recipes each week.
Or, create a master list of recipes for the month. Week 1-4 with recipes to coincide and a shopping list for each week. With a little planning on your end, at the end of your first month of meal planning, you can have a simple monthly plan.
The most important thing is that you continue to stick with it because meal planning can make your mealtime so much easier. Large family meal plans can also save you lots of money by not going through the drive-thru each week and saving your budget!
For days like this, you need to be prepared and find ways to keep the momentum going.
Reuse meal plans if you need to, or find ways to make it easier if you need to.
The most important thing is that you continue to stick with it.
So you see, large family meal plans don’t have to be difficult!
Follow these tips, and you’ll be putting great dinners on the table easily for years to come for your large family!
If you are looking for a way to make sure your family eats in each night and to save money, then you need these large family meal planning tips!
These large family meal planning ideas are a great way to save money and stay connected around the dinner table each night.