MAD Oilers Money Tips… Meal Planning for Kids

MAD Oilers Money Tips
MAD Oilers Money Tips

Accustomed to the busy lifestyle of raising seven children, nurturing a business, and consistently being on the go. I am often asked, ” How to do manage kids, business and life.” My answer always is… “In the kitchen.” So today is Thursday Tip off here at MAD Oilers an will start off with meal planning and some of the great resources our family uses. Many of the resources herein this blog post are credited to some amazing bloggers I follow and encourage you to do so as well. Each site is highlighted for you to explore their greatness of tips and tricks an multitudes of savings. Enjoy!menu-worksheet-final

 

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Rather, I hate grocery shopping, knowing that I need to stick to a budget, because grocery prices are OUT OF CONTROL! Shopping is now an exercise in discipline, which seems like an inherent oxymoron, if you ask me!

It’s time to be strategic, fellow parents! And yes, that still goes for those of us that start to hyperventilate when we think about sticking to a schedule. (Funny thing is though, I LOVE schedules, I just love being able to deviate from them if I need to!)

Menu planning saves SO much money – it’s basically a budget for your FOOD. Therefore, you know that for this meal, I need X-amount of such and such. I can look at the 7 basic dinner meals that I have laid out for one week, and then budget my INGREDIENTS accordingly, so that when I get to the store and I know that I need rice this week, I know how much rice I need, and so I don’t buy to much or too little. Too much, and I have to cut corners somewhere else. Too little, and I am running to the grocery store 17 times a week to get that “one last thing I forgot.” Both issues can break the bank, and I don’t have a lot of extra wiggle room these days!

So, for those of you who have never once considered menu planning, I have some tips to get you headed in the right direction – because we can’t afford to splurge anymore!

Don’t worry about introducing new exotic dishes. When you’re first starting out and getting into the habit of menu planning, stick to the recipes you’re familiar with and you know the family loves. This makes it easier and at the end of the week.

I found this source to be ideal when beginning my families meal planning. I have adopted and attached just some of the many great starters to help you get on your way to meal planning.

*Note in our family we are gluten free so here are some meal planning & make a head frozen meals for those Gluten Free Folks

http://www.5dollardinners.com/gluten-free-meal-plan-and-shopping-list-free-printables/

http://www.imaceliac.com/2012/03/gluten-free-freezer-meals.html

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Use pinterest.com or create an online recipe book through such sites as food.com and allrecipes.com to get a running list of your families favorites. Believe it or not, you can also use pen and paper! Simply make a list of foods by main ingredients: chicken, beef, seafood, vegetarian, etc and start listing all of your families favorites. This will give you a starting point when you sit down to make your menu for the week, as well as your corresponding grocery list.

Don’t wait until the night before! I typically go grocery shopping on Saturday. So, without fail, I find myself making out my menu for the following week on Friday night. Give yourself TWO days. I know this sounds like a huge commitment, but hear me out. If you shop on Saturday, start planning on Thursday. This gives you TIME – plain and simple. If I wait until the night before, I ALWAYS forget things on my list. You’re simply giving your brain time to process, because let’s face it, if you wait until the night before to check out pinterest for recipes, after 3 hours, you will have completely re-designed your home, your future child’s nursery, and you’ll have made a “sewing board” – and you don’t sew. And you will have very few recipes to show for it.

Look at your schedule for the week. Don’t plan elaborate meals that take hours of prep work if Kamren has soccer every night this week and little Kaddie has dance rehearsal Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Remember, this is all about being strategic, so budget your TIME as well as your money. Have a crazy week? Then plug in that crockpot and check out recipes that can be made ahead. (see above for freezer meals this is the idea..

Pick your Plan, Simple Solutions and Create your Family time. Yes, this is time consuming. In the beginning of any NEW routine its tough. Yet, after 21 days anything becomes HABIT. No, it’s not glamorous. But in a weird way, it is kinda fun Meal planning is like an enormous jig saw puzzle, and it’s all about making the right ingredients fit on the right evenings, within a really tiny conservative budget. Whether it’s up to mom or dad to plan the meals and do the grocery shopping, it’s time to buckle down and find what works!

 

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