Thursday, April 28, 2011

7-Day Meal Plan

Meal planning seems to be a big issue with some of my blog readers.  I've spoken with quite a few people about planning, budgeting and feeding foods my family and child care kids will actually eat.  (Note: I do not participate in the food program, but you will see that my weekday snacks and lunches do fit the criteria.  The kids have milk with meals and snacks and have water bottles for the day to drink as they want.  Juice is limited to those times when we are out and about and grab a juice box.)  Breakfast is not listed here, but my family normally eats oatmeal, cereal, toast, waffles, muffins, etc. with fresh fruit and a milk (cow's or vegan).  I do not have any child care kids that regularly eat breakfast at my house.
In the course of a day, I hope to give all the people I feed a good balance of fruits, veggies and healthy grains.  You might notice the words "cheese" and "yogurt" on the menu in a few places.  That is actual cheese and yogurt, not some soy or vegan substitute.  I still feed some dairy, eggs and even meat to my family and child care kids, but I do not eat it.  I would classify my family members more as vegetarian than vegan, and I'm okay with that since I can control the amount of fatty foods and animal-based foods they eat.

I created this meal plan early this morning.  I only had a few of the necessary ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry--I had what I needed for chili, some crackers, and I have the basic flours, cornmeal, and spices.  So I packed up five kids and headed to the store. (And you thought I was crazy for going vegan!)  You will see that I intend to stop at the grocery store mid-week for fresh fruits and veggies which will cost a little.  But so far for the 7-day plan, I spent $95.52 at my local, small-town grocery store.  I bought six "green" bags full of groceries, plus the milks. These are ingredients that you can find most anywhere--no specialty shops or stopping at different stores.

I think the planning and notes section of the chart is very important.  If I am disciplined enough to follow my plan, I save money and everyone eats healthier.  It's when I get lazy and don't follow it that we end up with fast food or something quick from the freezer.  Yes, I keep quick stuff in the freezer.  I do that so I have an out just for those days that life doesn't go exactly as planned.  I'm sure you never have those days, but we have them here fairly often.  The bottom (empty) row is left for notes throughout the week.  I print this plan off and keep it on the refrigerator, and then write on it as we run out of an ingredient like lemons or basil.  I also keep track there of the days that my son takes lunch to school so we don't forget.  Sometimes we'll have an idea during the week of something that sounds good to add to a meal plan in the future, so I keep notes and file them away.

A number of the suppers are or can be made gluten-free as well. 

This isn't every week, just the next seven days.  But it gives you an idea of how I feed my kids and family.  If you have any questions about the plan or want a particular recipe, just let me know. 

Morning Snack
Afternoon Snack

Thurs.,  Apr. 28

Wheat crackers with cheese
PB & J on cracked wheat
Strawberries, peaches &
Oyster Cracker Snackers
Shepherd’s Pie
Cantaloupe and Grapes in a fruit cup with spiced pecans

Fri.,  Apr. 29

Yogurt and Blueberries
Veggie Stew
Mashed tators
Fruit Cup
Kettle Corn
Dad and Kids: Pizza and veggie dippers

Mom: out

Sat., Apr. 30

(Brunch) Orange Pancakes
Italian pasta salad
Cheese bread
Strawberries and Bananas
Chips with pico, salsa, or guacamole
Stuffed sweet potatoes
Steamed broccoli
Pasta salad
Purchase: olive oil, miso, lettuce, cabbage, bagels, mangoes, tomatoes, bananas, avocados

Sun., May 1

Donuts at church
Miso soup
Salad rolls
Veggie dippers
Fresh fruit

Mon., May 2

Nilla Wafers
Tomato cabbage soup
Biscuits (kids make)
Mixed veggies
Bananas w/P.B.
Guacamole salad
Soak beans

Tues., May 3

Bagels with jam
Corn bread muffins
Rice pudding
Mango slices
Baked potato bar
Bean soup

Wed., May 4

Dried fruit/granola mix
Bean soup
Grilled cheese sandwich
Use up any leftover crackers, fruit, etc.
Fried zucchini and mushrooms

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