Menu Planning- at it’s best

So I am feeding a family of 6.  Kyle doesn’t really eat, but his formula still requires some ingredients.  All of my meals are plotted out for a minimum of 3 adults, 3 kids (whether Grandma eats with us, or Stephen or I eat it for lunch the next day is the extra adult)

Some meals wind up being able to feed 4 adults. Some are cook to order (ie-only the people you need to feed)

My monthly budget for food is approximately 100$ per person (600$)

100$ of that goes to our weekly milk delivery which consists of the following

Delivery fee: $3.00

Whole Milk: $6.00

Chocolate Milk: $3.50

1 dozen eggs: $4.00

Ground Beef: $7.50

for a weekly total of: $24.00

We wax and wane on our milk consumption, so this gets us through without wasting or throwing out any, and keeps us supporting our local dairy farm.

I round up to 100$/month.  This is more when we have seasonal items like egg nog 🙂

I have 500$ left in my budget for food for the month.  This does not include 50$/week to spend eating out.

So here’s how I plan.


I plan Monday to Friday.  Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks stay the same for one entire month.  That means every Thursday for 1 month, my kids will have Oatmeal for breakfast.  It changes the next month, so it’s only 4 times in a row that they are eating the same thing.

**side note**

any lunch item may be swapped with leftovers from the fridge.

The kids have three easy to grab/make snack options available to them every day.  They can choose to have all three or just one, but they can’t have the same one three times.  (kind of like a strike out system) This gets them responsible for their own bodies, there are options, if they are hungry, they may choose one.

We only snack between 9:30 and 10 am and then between 2 and 2:30 pm.  Any later than those times and we interfere with lunch and dinner cooperation.

We aim for 5 meals a day of smaller portions in order to stay healthy.

I plan a different meal every day of the week and we consume leftovers on Saturday and Sunday or we use our weekly eating out budget for that.

So here’s my list of things not in my cabinet that I will need for next month.


Wegman’s has an amazing iPhone app that totals up my shopping trip, and there are very few taxable items on my list.

yes, 10 jars of pasta sauce seems excessive for pizza, meatball subs, and lasagna.  They are on sale through April the 14th, so I am stocking up, but it still counts into my monthly total.

I will continue juicing a minimum of once per day, and some nights I will not eat the same thing as the rest of my family and opt for a salad instead.  My budget accounts for that as well.

Trader Joe’s, MOM’s, and my “other” category (costco/BJ’s) are my best estimates based on the prices last time I shopped there. I try to over estimate my spending rather than underestimating.

This plan leaves me with $100.00 of “wiggle room”, feeding a family of 6 for $125/week.

I am not skimping on anything, and I’m not reducing the amount of meat my family eats.  They are pretty big meat-eaters.

We do not use meats that contain any nitrates/nitrites.  We buy from our local farm when possible, but they are out of the items we need this month.

With my “wiggle room”, I can indulge in extra junk food, crackers, snacks, sodas, items I find on sale that I need to stock up on, impulse purchases etc.

More often than not, this is typical of our spending habits and budgeting for a month’s worth of home-cooked meals for everyone.

I menu plan a minimum of 10 days in advance to reduce stress, add in forgotten items, and to solidify my plan of action.  This menu plan will most likely begin April the 1st, though it could begin as early as March 27th.  I do not have to have it start on a monday since it is a rotating schedule, it will just run out whenever it runs out.  Monday’s are typically my shopping days since we already schedule less school work then and have dance right near my closest Wegman’s.

If we decide to go out during the week, the meal that was planned is “saved” for the weekend, or cooked the next night if it is something uber-perishable.



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