Even though I meal plan every week (for many reasons – here are 11 reasons why I do it), I don’t meal plan for a month at a time – I’m only sharing it once-a-month here. With a busy family schedule and teenagers who are always springing a “Oh, didn’t I tell you???” on their parents, I can only think about meals in weekly chunks of time. Even with a plan, I flip-flop dinners and proclaim, “You can eat that for breakfast after all!” My meal plans give us a framework, guidance, and are reminders to take stuff out of the freezer when necessary.
While our family of 4 eats at home or packs lunches for practically every meal, the only meal we all sit down and eat together is at dinner. My husband and I have made nightly family dinners a priority so we’re able to connect and talk with our teenagers uninterrupted and face-to-face.
I wish I could tell you that dinners last more than 8 minutes 42 seconds but on most nights, they don’t. We’re like every other family – trying to get our kids to talk about their day and share more than 1-syllable answers about school or other activities.
Dinner also gives us a moment each day to give thanks and pray for others.
Monthly Meal Plan
I meal plan at the beginning of each week, before heading to the grocery store. Weekly meal planning saves money, reduces food waste, and keeps me from saying, “Let’s go out to eat!” If you need more reasons to meal plan every week, check HERE. Both of my kids cook dinner once-a-week and do the clean-up after the meal. If you want to learn how to pull that off at your house, check HERE. If you’re looking for more meal planning ideas, check HERE.
This meal plan is from Monday, March 11, 2013 to Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Monday: pinto beans and Mexican pulled pork (from freezer) over brown rice with fresh tomato salsa
Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade tomato soup
Wednesday: ground pork and sautéed cabbage
Thursday: scrambled eggs with veggies
Friday: shrimp and clam sauce over whole wheat pasta with green salad
Saturday: stir fry spicy chicken with green beans and orange sauce (my son made dinner this night)
Sunday: green onion pancakes with green peas (my daughter made dinner this night)
This meal plan is from Monday, March 18, 2013 Sunday, March 24, 2013.
Monday: pinto beans (from freezer) and cheese burritos with fresh tomato salsa
Tuesday: spicy hummus, carrot sticks and toast
Wednesday: oven roasted whole chicken, roasted carrots and onions and brown rice
Thursday: curry chicken salad sandwiches
Friday: fish, brown rice, green salad
Saturday: pulled pork and cole slaw sliders (my son made dinner this night)
Sunday: whole wheat pasta with pan seared scallops and green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
This meal plan is from Monday, March 25, 2013 to Sunday, March 31, 2013.
We were in Victoria, British Columbia during this week. I brought whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and frozen pizza dough with us and we shopped at the local market for other items. (Yes, there is a vacation meal planner HERE.)
Monday: pork chops on grill, quinoa and Asian spiced cole slaw
Tuesday: grilled teriyaki chicken, brown rice and grilled bok choy
Wednesday: whole wheat pasta with garlic/olive oil and green salad (my son made dinner this night)
Thursday: oven roasted potatoes and oven roasted cauliflower
Friday: homemade pizza with mushrooms and onions – leftover smoked salmon spread was the “sauce” used on the pizza! (my daughter made dinner this night)
Saturday: pinto beans (from freezer) and cheese burritos and green salad
Sunday: Asian carrot salad
This meal plan is from Monday, April 1, 2013 to Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Monday: fish, brown rice and green salad
Tuesday: Asian shrimp noodle salad
Wednesday: Asian shrimp noodle salad (leftovers)
Thursday: split pea soup with shredded carrots and homemade broth (made with ham bone)
Friday: split pea soup with shredded carrots and homemade broth (made with ham bone) leftovers
Saturday: olives, tomatoes and ground pork over whole wheat pasta (my daughter made dinner this night)
Sunday: pan seared and breaded chicken breasts, oven roasted potatoes and green salad (my son made dinner this night)
This meal plan is from Monday, April 8, 2013 to Sunday, April 14, 2013.
Monday: fish, brown rice and oven roasted broccoli
Tuesday: Mediterranean quinoa salad
Wednesday: Mediterranean quinoa salad (leftovers) and green salad
Thursday: pinto bean (from freezer) and cheese burritos with fresh tomato salsa
Friday: “surf and turf” lobster, steak and green salad (no, this wasn’t a family meal but a romantic meal for my husband and me! We skipped the expensive restaurant and cooked at home.)
Saturday: whole wheat pasta with garlic/olive oil and carrots (my daughter made dinner this night)
Sunday: pork steaks, brown rice and oven roasted broccoli (my son made dinner this night)
This meal plan is from Monday, April 15, 2013 to Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Monday: whole wheat pasta with 3 types of mushrooms and green salad
Tuesday: pan seared fish, red quinoa and green salad
Wednesday: pinto beans (from freezer), red quinoa (leftovers) and fresh tomato salsa
Thursday: oven roasted whole chicken, green salad and garlic bread (my daughter made dinner this night)
Friday: chicken curry salad (made with leftovers) and homemade chicken broth was made the next day!
Saturday: Asian shrimp noodle salad
Sunday: Asian shrimp noodle salad (leftovers) in rice paper wraps (my son made dinner this night)
This meal plan is from Monday, April 22, 2013 to Sunday, April 28, 2013.
Monday: homemade pizza with spinach, onions and mushrooms
Tuesday: asparagus, mushrooms, carrots and beef stir fry served over quinoa
Wednesday: fish, quinoa, and edamame beans (my son made dinner this night)
Thursday: scrambled eggs, pinto beans, corn tortillas and fresh tomato salsa
Friday: Mexican pulled pork, pinto beans, corn tortillas and fresh tomato salsa
Saturday: Mexican pulled pork, pinto beans, corn tortillas and fresh tomato salsa (leftovers)
Sunday: Creamy shrimp over whole wheat pasta with green salad (my daughter made dinner this night)
Do you meal plan for a month or for a week? What’s your routine for planning meals? What do you think of me posting meal plans once-a-month only?
Go Gingham related links:
New to cooking at home? Fear not!
How we keep food waste to a minimum
Confessions of a leftover food lover – that would be me!
Take the night off and let your kids cook dinner every week
How our freezer gets used – ways to organize and optimize
More related links:
Need more reasons to cook at home? Watch this excellent interview with Michael Pollan. Home cooks, unite!
12 thoughts on “Monthly Meal Plan”
When I saw the post title, I thought I was going to have to grant you some sort of meal planning superhero status–a whole month in advance! Glad to know you are human after all. 🙂
Oh too funny, Rita! No I don’t plan a month in advance but it does come in handy every week. Just last night, I called my daughter from a tennis match and said, “Can you make dinner?” A bit of grumbling (teenagers!) later, she had dinner on the table when we walked through the door at 8pm! It helps me so much and helps us eat at home – saving money and waistlines. 🙂
Larger meal is at lunch, and is healthy snacks at what would be dinner time. Sleep better that way, too, with less food in stomach to be digested overnight.
Karen, I like your style. Whenever there has been a large meal eaten before bed, it always comes back to bite me!
Do you meal plan for your lunch meals? What about your healthy snacks at dinner time?
I actually do plan monthly menus. Each time I come up with one we use it for 3 consecutive months. Then I come up with a new one. There’s enough variety on the menu that we don’t tire of the foods—though after 3 months we feel it’s time for a change, hence the new menu at that point.
This simplifies my grocery list. I type up a list on the computer that includes staples and the items needed for the menu and just print it off before heading to the grocery store. I leave room to write in by hand items that we end up needing that don’t pertain to the menu.
Different things work for different families. For us, this had been one of the most effective strategies to stay organized.
Shannon, very impressive! This is absolutely true – “Different things work for different families” and when you find what works, go with it! I think keeping the goal in mind – staying organized – is helpful to.
I try to meal plan, but with just the two of us anymore, it no longer seems to work. I used to meal plan when our son was younger and it worked well. I would also love to do more vegetarian meals but I’m married to a serious meat eater, who thinks that seafood is something you eat with steak. I just keep trying. I have finally convinced him that seafood is a meat and doesn’t need steak with it. 🙂
Oh, Diana, keep trying with your meat-loving man! I know what you mean because my husband would love meat every night, too.
It will be interesting to see what happens when our teenagers leave for college (we have a few years until they’re both gone -) and if we still meal plan or not. We’re in such a habit of it now!
Thanks, Diana 🙂
Thanks for sharing your meal plan, Sara. It’s so easy to add variety and fresh ingredients when you’re organized and as you say it really doesn’t take much effort just a plan. I do mine on http://www.Siansplan.com simply because it generates an automatic shopping list.
You’re welcome, Sian. I love that your plan automatically generates a list! That’s a real convenience when you’re short on time.
Thanks for stopping by, Sian!
There are only two of us yet making a meal plan makes a huge difference in our life! It keeps us from eating out and it keeps me from having to think too much about food during the week. I also like to make most of our lunches on Sunday for the week.
Melissa, you sound like my kinda gal! “I also like to make most of our lunches on Sunday for the week,” is something I’d be doing, too.
I also don’t like to run to the grocery store every day. That keeps me planning – and calling my neighbors when I do forget something!
Thanks, Melissa. 🙂
Comments are closed.