It’s that time of year again! The time when we redo many of our plans for the upcoming school year. Including our annual meal plan.
This is our seventh year with an annual meal plan. It has completely streamlined the shopping and cooking process. It’s also practically eliminated all questions regarding food from my kids. They know what they’re going to eat, so they don’t stop to ask about it. That was such a great benefit!
Why Do I Create an Annual Meal Plan?
I hate meal planning.
In fact, I hate it so much that I never used to do it. The thought of dragging out the ads from the newspapers to see what was on sale… or flipping through cookbooks or Pinterest boards searching for recipes just was overwhelming.
So I just sort of winged it in the meal department.
Every day my kids would ask – what is for breakfast? What is for lunch? Do you know what we’re going to have for dinner? Can I eat this for snack?
There were so many questions about food. And it drove me crazy!
But, I didn’t want to meal plan every week. In fact, I didn’t even want to meal plan once a month. It just took so much time.
After brainstorming for a bit, I decided to have my kids help me. We created a rotating meal plan that works for the entire year. It was simple. And everyone knew what to expect.
I knew what I needed to buy each month at the stores. The kids knew what they were eating.
And it just worked. It worked so well that this is our seventh year meal planning this way and I can’t see myself going to any other format.
More Information on the Annual Meal Plan
For more posts on the concept of an annual meal plan, here are posts that can help:
The 2019-2020 Annual Meal Plan
Below is what we will be eating this next year. It took a little bit of extra planning, as my husband and I are going to attempt to eat better (we will be following the Trim Healthy Mamas plan for the majority of our meals.) This means we’re throwing low carb options into the mix, eating more protein, and the two of us won’t always be eating what the kids are eating.
But hopefully we will lose some weight and gain some energy!
I also had to work out some details to balance the meal plan to the budget. That’s always important! And saving money is a huge benefit of meal planning for an entire year. I can really work to get the meal options frugal and ensure I’m not buying special ingredients for a one-time meal.
Note: You’ll notice that I assign days to kids. That’s on purpose! It also helps streamline my life as they get certain privileges and responsibilities on their day. They help pick the meals on their days! This post explains what else happens on their days.
Sunday: Owen & Bryson’s Day
Since I have more than seven kids, I matched up my older ones with my younger ones.
Breakfast: Cold cereal (to make getting to church on time easier)
Lunch: Crockpot rotation
Snack: N/A since we eat lunch after church and feed the kids dinner before heading in
Dinner: Nachos for the kids, veggie and egg scramble for my husband and I after we get the kids to bed
Monday: Jayme & Tyler’s Day
Lunch: Stir fry (with left over veggies and meats from other meals)
Snack: Cookies & Milk
Dinner: Asian rotation
Tuesday: Jeff’s Day
Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese (sometimes store bought, sometimes homemade)
Lunch: Homemade soft pretzels and cheese sauce (or other dip like ranch or pizza sauce)
Dinner: Taco Tuesday rotation
Wednesday: Sydney’s Day
Snack: Fruit salad
Dinner: American rotation
Thursday: Simon’s Day
Breakfast: Breakfast pizza
Lunch: Leftovers/Make Your Own
Dinner: Italian rotation
Friday: Ellie’s Day
Breakfast: Pancakes (Smoothies for Bryan & me)
Dinner: Around the World rotation
Saturday: Brynna’s Day
Breakfast: French toast (or French toast casserole)
Lunch: Make Your Own
Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner rotation
It’s so nice to have everything mapped out for the year! In a later post, I’ll share the actual meals we’re using for the rotation options. A lot of them come from my newest cookbook, Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table.
Others come from Dining on a Dime.
I’ve been using cookbooks more and the internet less to source recipes. I’ve discovered I get so overwhelmed with all the choices online that I’m constantly jumping from recipe to recipe. It’s much easier just to pull out a cookbook and go from there.
I have a couple of favorites from websites, but I have those recipes either printed out, or saved in the bookmarks. That way I don’t waste anytime looking for them.
How Do You Meal Plan?
I’d love to hear what method of meal planning works for your family! Please share in the comments below. Do you have any questions about the annual meal plan?