Ever have that panic that hits around 5 o’clock when you realize it is almost dinner time and you have no idea what to make? You browse through your pantry and fridge to see what ingredients you have and whip something up just in the nick of time…or you give up and head to the nearest drive thru? What about when you plan an elaborate meal and the kids won’t touch it?
If you have ever been in this kind of a situation then you’ll understand the need for family meal planning and today I’ve got several tips to help make meal planning more successful.
Tip 1: Include your kids– Involving children in meal planning can be the most effective tool for success. Factor in their preferences and work around it to make the meal balanced and wholesome. Kids love getting involved and having their voice heard. A family favorite that always makes the menu in our house is Kraft Mac & Cheese. Not only do the kids love it, but my husband and I have enjoyed it the last 30 years too. I was excited when Kraft announced last year that they were removing artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes and I was surprised to find out that for the past three months, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has been conducting the world’s largest…and quietest…“blind taste test.” They’ve been selling their new recipe, and my family didn’t even notice and we usually eat it at least once a week. So not only does the kids #1 food suggestion for our menu taste delicious, but it feels good knowing we are making better choices. This is a perfect example of how getting the kids involved can lead to a successfully prepared meal. With Kraft Mac & Cheese, we love to pair it with grilled chicken and a delicious salad. A perfect balanced meal that everyone enjoys and the kids are excited that they’ve made a contribution. No more arguments at meal time when everyone has worked together to plan delicious meals.
Tip 2: Find a planning strategy that works for your family. In our home, we gather around as a family on Saturday mornings with our schedule and offer ideas for what we’d like to eat during the week. Usually we pick a protein as our main source and see how we can work that into the menu with various sides to balance it out. Everyone gets a chance to voice their opinions and when the schedule is finalized we start on the shopping list before heading out to the store later that day.
Tip 3: Write a shopping list. Keep a running list of perpetual items that you buy each week, and add extra items for those special meals as it changes from week to week. You can create your list on a phone app, computer, or good old fashioned paper and pencil such as our printable shopping list found below. After creating our meal plan, we put it on the refrigerator so that everyone knows what the “plan” is for the week.
Hopefully following these tips will help make dinnertime an enjoyable moment for the entire family. We’ve learned that a little planning can go a long way! You can download your free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet and Shopping List below and I’ve also got some good news, Kraft is going to be surprising thousands of consumers with thank you gifts. I know we aren’t the only ones who totally didn’t notice the change! Share your #didntnotice story on Twitter with the hashtag #didntnotice or on the Kraft Mac & Cheese Facebook page for a chance to win.
Click here to download the Weekly Meal Planning Sheet and Shopping List.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.