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:
Breakfast – Oatmeal with raisins
Snack – Carrots and boiled eggs
Lunch – Tuna Charley and fruit
Breakfast – Smoothies and muffins
Snack – Celery and boiled eggs
Lunch – Baked potatoes with chili, cheese and green salad
Breakfast – Dutch puff and fruit
Snack – Bananas and milk
Lunch – Black bean and corn burritos or Cheese quesadillas
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: