How To Plan Meals For A Large Family On A Budget

Are you struggling to figure out how to plan meals for your large family without breaking the bank? Check out these tips!

Ideas to Plan Meals For A Large Family On A Budget

For families everywhere, and in every size, planning meals on a budget is a challenge. For large families, this is compounded exponentially.

-Decide that you are absolutely not a short order cook. This will mean that you will face the fact that you will probably, at least eight times out of ten times, not please everybody. You will wind up driving yourself crazy, using up half a meal here, half there, and ruining the budget.

-Tell everybody that it is a new day and that what is for supper is what is for supper and if anyone doesn't like it, there is plenty of peanut butter and jelly. If your family is like ours, you may have one or two picky eaters, one who will eat virtually anything, and the others who will whine and eat eventually. But, for the sake of sanity and money, stick to your guns.

-Make a menu for the week. Or two weeks if you can do it. We always try to get input from everybody and incorporate suggestions into the bi-weekly menu. Making a menu, then listing the ingredients needed as we go to the store for what we call "the big haul" helps keep the number of runs to the supermarket to a minimum.

-As you make your menu, check the specials. Go online, see what's on sale and work it into your list of ideal, almost-everybody-will-eat-them meals. It will take a bit of research, but you'll get better at it as you go along. Print out the coupons that the store offers.

-Armed with your menu, list, and coupons, go to the store with as little distraction as possible.  If you can leave the kids at home, do it. If you have to take a child or two, let them pick one item each-say, cereal-and then stick to the master list. Don't shop hungry. Don't shop if the kids are hungry. Don't let them hornswaggle you into all the swanky, sweet-tooth foods. Don't try to second guess yourself in the store. You made this list for a reason.

-When all the ingredients are bought, post the menu on the fridge. If you don't, you'll forget why you bought those three cans of diced tomatoes and go off budget trying to piece something together off the cuff. The kids will appreciate knowing what's for supper when they are heading out the house for school in the morning. Try to stick to the menu. Remember, you put a lot of thought into this.

-Make two good, solid meals with meat, veggie, and potatoes or pasta, then incorporate the leftovers elsewhere. If you make mushroom chicken, rice and broccoli on Monday, spaghetti on Tuesday, you can have chicken soup on Wednesday, and spaghetti casserole with cheese topping for Thursday. 

-Avoid prepackage quick meals. This should be obvious, but boxed meals are usually for four small helpings at most. They're just not economical. Get the ground beef, the macaroni noodles, the cheese and whip up a big casserole. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it almost as fast.

-Make a big stew or chili for at least two suppers a week. This will get rid of a lot of leftovers, and will get the veggies into the family at the same time. Homemade soup never gets old, because it never tastes quite the same each time. With biscuits or cornbread, it goes a long way and will stretch for those friends that the kids bring over at the last minute.

-Lastly, get the kids involved. When you are making good, plain meals, there is not much that they can do to mess them up and it's good practice. 

And, if you’re lucky, one day you might just be able to put your feet up and let them do the cooking!