Home Management – The Menu Plan

Feeding our family is an area where I struggle. I do not enjoy cooking. Well the truth is, I love to cook, but I don’t like to cook on a budget. I do know, however, that God has given me the ability to accomplish what He has called me to do.

One of the things that has made it easier for me to feed 11-12 people, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week is working out a menu plan for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks (and bulk, freezer cooking for dinners, but that is a different post.) There is freedom in not having to make food related decisions in the midst of teaching school or cleaning house, in not needing to make up a new grocery list every couple of weeks, and in not feeling guilty because the children are eating the same thing day after day.

Initially, I did not like the idea of a menu plan for breakfast and lunch, it was too much work, seemed overwhelming, and was too restrictive. However, life is more simple and we eat healthier, when I actively follow our plan.

This is how I created our breakfast, lunch, and snack menu plan:

  • I picked out with several different breakfast ideas, considering cost, prep time, variety, and nutrition. I have to be willing to buy, prepare and eat this every week. I do the same with lunch and snacks.
  • Then I put a day together. I put a hearty lunch with a lighter breakfast or vice versa, making sure we are not repeating foods during a given day, and that we are getting a variety of veggies and fruit. I also try to make sure that the preparation is spread out evenly between the days.
  • Then I think about which day will work best with which menu. For example, a quick easy lunch for the day you run errands.

After you have the menu put together, make a master shopping list. The beauty of this is that you need only to add your dinner ingredients each week. Nothing else changes. This makes budgeting easier and it saves me time when I am putting together my grocery list. I also know how much to buy and that we won’t run out before the next shopping trip.

I set aside one day during the week to do basic preparation. On that day I boil eggs, prep the veggies, make yogurt, etc. This doesn’t take very long, but ends up saving me a lot of time.

Here is our current menu:

Monday:
Breakfast – Baked French toast and applesauce
Snack- Homemade Granola Bars
Lunch – Bean burritos and raw veggies

Tuesday:
Breakfast – Oatmeal with raisins
Snack – Carrots and boiled eggs
Lunch – Tuna Charley and fruit

Wednesday:
Breakfast – Smoothies and muffins
Snack – Celery and boiled eggs
Lunch – Baked potatoes with chili, cheese and green salad

Thursday:
Breakfast – Dutch puff and fruit
Snack – Bananas and milk
Lunch – Black bean and corn burritos or Cheese quesadillas

Friday:
Breakfast – Eggs, sausage and toast
Snack – Yogurt and fruit
Lunch – Homemade Tomato soup and bread

We make nearly everything on the list from scratch including the soup, yogurt, and breads. The french toast is prepared the night before and then baked in the morning, so it ends up being a quick breakfast.

Change these ideas to better fit your lifestyle.

  • You could plan 5 different breakfasts, lunches and snacks and then fix whatever you feel like on a particular day.
  • You could plan several different weeks and then rotate them for more variety.
  • You could include dinner in your plans for even more ease.

More breakfast recipes:

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12 Responses to Home Management – The Menu Plan
  1. Anita
    March 5, 2009 | 1:56 pm

    Love your plans… I too have a large family (only 7 children, though, 6 at home now) and plan out our menu by the week. I bulk purchase and bulk cook. I love having only to pull out our main dish and occasionally a side or two from the freezer in the mornings. Makes everything so much easier. I am working on freezer foods for lunches. Have been slack in that area and we usually just eat leftovers. Breakfasts we have down pretty well and keep a good bit on hand in the freezer for that as well.

    Snacks are another area. I LOVE sweets and have a daughter who loves to bake them, so we have cookies, cake or pie at least once a week. At least they are homemade, right?

    Your family is beautiful! Curious as to the music aspect in your home. We have some pianists/violinists…dh plays trumpet in the local symphony and both of us have master’s degrees in music. My emphasis now is on lullabies and basic concept songs instead of clarinet.

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  2. Raising Olives
    March 5, 2009 | 5:43 pm

    Hi Anita,

    I certainly think that 7 children classifies as a large family, no need to say “only”.

    You sound like you probably do a better job with feeding a crowd than I. I am learning, but it is one of my weaknesses.

    Music. Well, we love music, but I wouldn’t say that we are particularly talented. We definitely don’t have the background that your family has. My husband and I enjoy good music. Mark can “play” the saxaphone and I had piano lessons as a child.

    We do love to sing together as a family and do so during family worship each evening. We also want music to be part of our children’s education and have 2 violinists and 3 pianists, thus far. The children enjoy playing duets and trios together.

    Thanks for reading. If you have any suggestions for the blog please feel free to email

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  3. Jama
    March 5, 2009 | 11:46 pm

    My dear friend, thanks for using your gift for teaching in such a public space. I pray many will be blessed by your wisdom. I have learned so much from you over the years and look forward to being able to continue doing so even though we are now separated by many miles. The lesson I am taking away from today’s reading of your last several posts is to stop being such a “drill sargent mommy” and to just love,laugh and enjoy my children more.

    Much love my friend,
    Jama

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  4. Raising Olives
    March 6, 2009 | 12:36 am

    Jama,

    You and your help are the reason that I could write this post. I remember sitting in your living room and looking through your card files and menu plans and thinking that there is no way that I could be that organized. Thank you!

    We miss you and your family so very much!!!

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  5. Seth
    March 6, 2009 | 2:09 am

    That is way too confusing for me. I had no idea eating was that complicated.

    [Reply]

  6. Jodi
    March 15, 2010 | 9:19 pm

    I am thoroughly enjoying reading all the wonderful information you have posted on your blog!! You have such fantastic ideas on how to raise your children and manage your home! I want to ask you how and when you get your shopping done. I am beginning to homeschool, and I am struggling with when to do this, since one has to dodge naptimes and such. Do you go on the weekend? I absolutely love all the little treasures I’ve found on your blog!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Just after our 4th child was born my husband started grocery shopping for us. That continued until about 4 years ago, when I began shopping after violin lessons. We simply did a half day of school on that day and it allowed us to get music lessons and shopping done.

    Another way we fit it in is shopping on Saturday. Not a good time to avoid the crowds, but it works.

    Another thing to remember is that since we bulk, freezer cook for all of our evening meals our grocery shopping is VERY fast and we try to only go twice month.

    [Reply]

  7. Holly
    April 11, 2010 | 12:00 pm

    This is really interesting to me. First off, are you saying that every Monday you eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch? Or do you do this like your dinner menu? Where you have all the ingredients for these b’fasts and lunches on hand, but may switch up the days. I know I could do it however I wanted, I was just curious πŸ˜‰ My hubby is always on me about giving the kids too many choices and making my life harder than necessary! He would LOVE this idea. I have been menu planning for a year or so and can never go back!! I live by that thing πŸ™‚ My other question is this, I have 6 of us to feed every day for b’fast and lunch. We are getting to the point where a pack of hot dogs is too little so I am doubling everything. This last year I have been trying to do more “hearty” lunches and filling us up without feeding the kids junk and without feeling like I am chained to the stove 3 meals a day. So, that said, on baked potato and chili day are you making chili? Or is that something you freeze ahead? The thought of browning meat and making chili just for lunch is a little overwhelming. Right now what I do is, when I have chili in the menu for dinner one night, I pick up extra potatoes so that the next day we can eat the leftover chili on baked potatoes for lunch. I am definitely not yet up to freezing meals. No space combined with food allergies means that I do a lot of cooking fresh every day and separating out of our foods (this one can’t have mayo, so I have to pull his chicken out before I add the mayo for chicken salad, etc., etc.). I can’t tell you how encouraged I’ve been since I have found your blog. I appreciate so much your candidness and helpful hints πŸ™‚

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  8. 4 Moms: Breakfast Recipes | Raising Olives
    October 14, 2010 | 7:02 am

    […] You may be interested in seeing one of our past breakfast menu plans. […]

  9. Trisha
    June 19, 2012 | 11:33 am

    Brilliant! Couple of questions – 1) How do you handle picky eaters? 2) Why the hot breakfast? I’m feeling guilty about the bowls of cold cereal I feed my children after reading this post. πŸ™‚ 3) Do you think it is less or more expensive to cook “real” foods rather than cooking “normally?”
    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your blog! I have five children, and in my world that is a HUGE family. You make me feel normal! Thank you, thank you!

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  10. Nikki
    May 24, 2014 | 6:16 pm

    I just thought I’d let you know, I pinned this post because I am certain there are many more families that can benefit from it. But there were no pictures that seemed to go with the title/content. It pulled pictures from the sidebar– which were primarily ads. So I used your picture.

    I also want to let you know that I am so grateful that you pass on your experience with us. I am truly thankful.

    [Reply]

  11. Nikki
    May 24, 2014 | 6:16 pm

    I meant, I pinned it for me AND because other families will benefit too. πŸ˜‰

    [Reply]

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