With big families planning helps you stay within your budget and keeps your day flowing well. Having meals planned gives me peace of mind when the kids start to get crazy or hectic! It’s so nice having our weekly meals listed on a whiteboard.
Planning for the holidays is similar to your normal weekly meal planning, but make sure you add in those special dishes you will be making. I follow these simple steps to meal plan each week. It really helps me save because I am using what I have. I get the kids to help pick meals with the ingredients we already have.
1st : Food already in your house
Examine the fridge, pantry & freezers – look for meals to make with what you already have. Also, look for items you already have for your holiday meals/recipes. Here is a list of Holiday Recipes you can make with items you may already have around the house:
- Cheese Ball; cream cheese, shredded cheese, liquid smoke flavoring & chopped nuts
- Cookies; add some holiday flare with some frosting & colored sprinkles.
- Treat – Pretzel Kisses; Add a holiday Hershey kiss on top of a pretzel & let bake for a few minutes to melt a bit & boom…a simple favorite treat!
- Veggie Platter; Use cucumbers, broccoli & tomatoes for a festive Red & Green Look!
Pro Tip: use allrecipes.com for a simple ingredient search – type in potatoes, ground beef, etc. This website will create a list of meal ideas & recipes with your ingredients
2nd : Meal plan with your kids!
Sit down with your children and create a list of meals for the week. When the kids help meal plan, they are more excited to cook. During the Holidays it’s especially nice to have little helpers in the kitchen so you are not doing all the cooking.
Our favorite holiday family recipes
3rd : Grocery shopping
When shopping I also include snacks for the week – we love the following healthy, easy go-to snacks:
- fruits – bananas, apples, oranges, grapes
- Nuts – almonds, pistachios, mixed nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds
- veggie sticks – carrots, cucumbers,
- chips & healthy dips – guacamole, hummus, salsa
Make sure to include the snacks you want during the holidays. ie: peppermint pretzel crisps, cheese ball, crackers, caramel popcorn, charcuterie board. you can also get your kids involved by having them pick yummy Holiday treats they can make.
4th : Stock Up on SALE & food storage items
**This is the time of year where baking items are a good price – so stock up on the items you use most often!** Along with baking supplies I look for canned goods we go through quickly. ie: cream of cans, canned beans, canned tomatoes, easy dinner items: spaghetti sauce, curry, pesto & don’t forget condiments.
I go to the store a week early (earlier for items with a longer shelf life) for the food I need.