It’s July again, and time to make plans for the next school year. One way I minimize my decisions is through an annual meal plan.
You can learn more about the why behind this method by reading this post.
The family and I just redid the meal plan for the next year, and I wanted to share. Sometimes I think it’s just me who wants to redo the plan. The kids were perfectly happy eating what we ate last year, and some even purposefully picked the same things this time around. Kids don’t need fancy meals or a ton of variety to be happy!
Reassigning of Days
Each of my kids has a day. On their day, they pick the breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner theme. They also have some other privileges and responsibilities.
Before we could redo our meal plan, we had to reassign days. So here’s the lineup for the next year:
- Sunday: Owen’s Day
- Monday: Ellie’s Day
- Tuesday: Jayme & Bryson’s Day
- Wednesday: Simon’s Day
- Thursday: Jeffrey’s Day
- Friday: Sydney’s Day
- Saturday: Brynna’s Day
Note: I have eight kids and there are only seven days of the week. As you’ll notice, Bryson is sharing with Jayme. That’s because by the time he gets old enough to care, Jayme will be an adult (that is really hard to admit!) So at that point, he’ll take over her day.
A Few Points to Notice
While making this plan, I really wanted to cut back on the amount of cooking on Sundays. Trying to get both breakfast and lunch taken care of before we leave for church doesn’t always work out. And it stresses me out!
So I chose easy meals, that can be prepped on Saturday and then cooked while we’re at church, or cooked quickly.
Also, yogurt doesn’t work well anymore for breakfast. The kids were always hungry again mid-morning on our yogurt days, so I cut that as an option. You’ll notice more eggs, which have long-lasting protein to keep the kids going.
Now that we have that figured out, it’s time to dive into the meal plan!
Here’s a look at the meals we’ll be enjoying each morning. We repeat breakfasts each week, so we’ll always eat the same thing each Monday, Tuesday, etc.
Sunday: Cereal & toast
Monday: Ellie’s Special Eggs & Applesauce
Tuesday: Hashbrowns & Sausage (or bacon)
Wednesday: Muffins & Fruit
Thursday: Scrambled eggs & toast
I love that I can prep the muffins and pancakes just a couple of times a month and freeze them. That means really fast meals on some of those days.
Also, the muffins on Simon’s day. I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said, “cupcakes!” I decided muffins would be a good compromise. 😀
Since we’re home all day, it’s important to plan lunch. Otherwise I forget to put items on the shopping list, and we’re scrambling to get food on the table.
Sunday: Casserole (I can make these on Saturday, and then bake on delay while we’re gone!)
Monday: Stir fry
Tuesday: Egg fried rice
Friday: Make Your Own (my favorite day! The kids all make whatever they want, well within reason)
Saturday: Hot or Cold Sandwiches
We eat one snack each day, between lunch and dinner. By planning it in advance, I know we’ll always have what we need on hand.
Monday: Jell-O with fruit
Wednesday: Cupcakes (Simon gets his cupcakes!)
Thursday: Granola & milk
Friday: Applesauce & muffins (using up muffins from Wednesday’s breakfast)
Saturday: Veggies in Ranch
Our dinner plans are a bit different. Instead of eating the exact same thing each week, we pick a theme for each night. Then, I rotate 4-5 meals within each theme.
It adds a bit more variety, which I appreciate. Sundays are a bit different, as lunch is our main meal. The casseroles (above) are themed, and dinner is just something quick.
This year, our themes are:
Sunday: Mac & Cheese
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (Thank you Lego Movie!)
Wednesday: Baked potato bar
Thursday: Noodle night
Many of our themes are repeats from last year, but I got rid of soup night. Do you know how hard it is to feed soup to Owen? I struggled every single Monday last year, and didn’t want to repeat that.
Here’s a look at my meal planner with what we’ll be enjoying for each theme. I haven’t yet added all of the links to recipes (our internet is really slow today for some reason…).
These weren’t all our first choice meals, but I had to make a couple of replacements as I was doing our master shopping list. I was a couple hundred over budget on our first attempt. So we made some tweaks, and figured out some lower priced meals. Now we’re on budget, which is great! I’m all ready for our monthly shopping trips.
What the Annual Meal Plan Looks Like
Since I’m a visual learner, I put all of this information in my meal planner. Here’s what it looks like:
How do you meal plan?
Do you make an annual meal plan too, or do you do it more frequently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Annual meal planning works great for us, and has freed up so much time.