How Meal Planning Works For My Family

When it was just my husband and I (ya know, before kids), we had a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach to meals. When we went to the grocery store 1-2 times a week we stocked up on basics and anything that sounded good. We had no real plan, just get food — meat, fruit, dairy, pasta, etc. Throughout the week, we put together our usual meals from what we had with no real plan. I am sad to admit that resulted in wasted food and a pantry full of junk. We didn’t understand the importance of meal planning.

Meal Planning
Since having kids we’ve come around to meal planning. Not only does it help eliminate the daily stress of “What’s for dinner,” but it also means a lot less wasted food. Every Sunday involves a trip to the grocery store with a plan for the week and a list of what we need. Ingredients are purchased to be used in multiple meals, especially fresh ingredients that used to go bad when only half used. 

We are still forgetful, and forget to buy/put things on our list. And, of course, life happens and plans have to be adjusted. But for the most part, meal planning saves us from wondering what to make for dinner at the end of each day. By Sunday evening, I can tell you what’s for dinner at my house for the week.

This is what meal planning in my family look. Six meals, two days, 17 ingredients. (Well, 18 ingredients — I forgot to include the chicken seasoning in the photo.)

Meal Planning Breakfast
Breakfast day one – Cheese toast and fruit

  • English Muffins
  • Horizon Cheese Slices
  • Banana

Meal Planning Rollups
Lunch day one – Turkey and cheese rollups, fruit and peanut butter crackers

  • Horizon Peanut Butter Crackers *
  • Deli Meat
  • Horizon Cheese Slices (leftover from breakfast)
  • Raspberries

*Have you tried Horizon Peanut Butter Crackers, they are my favorite. 

Meal Planning Taco Night
Dinner day one – Chicken tacos

  • Chicken
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Taco Seasoning

Meal Planning Horizon
Breakfast day two – Cereal and fruit

  • Cereal
  • Horizon Milk
  • Banana

Meal Planning Quesadilla
Lunch day two – Quesadillas and peanut butter crackers

  • Tortillas (leftover from dinner)
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese (leftover from dinner)
  • Tomatoes (leftover from dinner)
  • Horizon Peanut Butter Crackers (leftover from the day before)

Meal Planning Dinner
Dinner day two – Mac and cheese with chicken and veggie

  • Pasta 
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese (and remaining)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Milk (leftover from dinner)
  • Frozen Peas
  • Chicken
  • Chicken seasoning (not pictured)

This two-day plan is a great representation of how meal planning works in our house, compressed into two days. And the ingredient sharing continues – the peas will be eaten as leftovers with lunch the next day and later in the week we plan to make burgers with the remaining cheese slices. And there is never leftover Horizon milk, since my kids go through 2-3 gallons a week! 

With a little prep dinnertime is less stressful and we save money by wasting less food. That’s how meal planning works for us.

Find more meal ideas from Horizon on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.