This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do you ever feel like dinner just kind of sneaks up on you? The kids start saying “I’m so hungry.” and you look at the clock only to discover that it’s dinnertime… that’s me, anyway.
When you have nothing planned for dinner, you realize that you either have to try to quickly throw something together, praying that you have the right ingredients, or you have to run out and pick up something. Neither of those options is good for me because I am wasting money by going out, or I am stressed trying to pair foods to make a meal.
Until about a year ago, I used to have this scenario occur in our house often, because I wasn’t planning out my meals. It stopped our family from eating out (it is a waste of money when you have four kids and they eat $2 worth of their $5 kids meal) and it’s just not healthy to eat out every day when you are ordering burgers and pizza. I can’t let our kids eat that way too often. Plus, when we ate at home without a plan, I found that we were wasting a lot of time and food because I’m just not good at “throwing things together” to make a meal. I need recipes. 🙂
I had to come up with a solution that worked, and I finally found one. It was a way to plan healthy meals without stressing out at 5:00 at night. 🙂
We go through a lot of food (Thank goodness we have a Food Lion close by, because I feel like I run there for produce every few days!)
In two days, my family of six ate:
5 cartons of strawberries
2 cartons of blueberries
2 cartons of blackberries
That does not include what they ate for MEALS! (My kids are still very young, so can you imagine when we have three teenage boys and a teenage girl?) We also go through about gallon of milk a day, a carton of eggs and a loaf of bread every day or two.
That’s why I wanted to write this post today on how to plan meals for a family with young kids (without spending a ton of money).
Here are my tips.
1. PIN YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES.
Every Friday, I’ll go through my favorite websites, check the Fresh Ideas Blog and look on Pinterest and Pin my favorite meals. I look for ones that look good and I pin them to a board called “Meals for the Week”. Then I change the description of the pins to say “Monday”, or “Tuesday”, etc…
2. MAKE A LIST
I will go through the recipes and make a list of the ingredients that I don’t have at home. I know that I can pick up the things that I don’t have at Food Lion over the weekend or while I’m out running errands.
3. GO TO THE APP
I open the Food Lion’s Shop & Earn app. I activate the new personalized offers and savings, plus I check to see if I’ve earned any rewards (they come off automatically, but I like to check). I’ll also add my Food Lion MVP Digital Coupons.
4. GO TO THE STORE.
Since I know that I can Shop and Earn, I’ll take a few hours on Saturday or Sunday and go to Food Lion and pick up what I need for the meals that I just planned for the week. It’s about five minutes from the house, so it is really quick.
Plus, shopping at Food Lion makes meal planning easier for me. I know where everything is, I know that it will be a good price and I know that I already have my MVP coupons and app savings ready to go. Plus, I check the weekly specials so I can save even more money.
Tip: I usually take at least one of our four kids with us to the store- it may just be grocery shopping, but it is extra one-on-one time, plus they love to help (especially when it’s just one of them).
5. MAKE AHEAD.
I try to make anything that I can ahead of time. I’ll prep the fruit and veggies so we can keep them in the fridge, ready to be eaten at any time (I can grab them when the kids get hungry). If I am making a crock-pot meal, I’ll put everything for that meal into a big airtight bag and put it into the refrigerator until that morning. Then, when it’s time to make that meal, I’ll just dump the contents out of the bag and into the crock-pot. Easy.
Here’s one of my favorite Summer Recipes:
Southern Potato Salad
It’s different because it has a bit of a mustard taste, but not too much and helps to offset the mayo.
8 large potatoes peeled and chopped and boiled
4 large eggs hard boiled then chopped
3 ribs of celery chopped thin
3 Tablespoons relish (sweet)
1 small diced onion (sweet)
Peel the potatoes.
Boil the potatoes on medium high for about 20 minutes or so in slightly salted water then allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
Cook the eggs in a separate pot, but at the same time as the potatoes. I just boil my eggs by bringing water to a boil for a few minutes, then turning off the heat and covering the pot. I let it sit in the hot water for 20 minutes before removing them from hot water.
While potatoes and eggs are cooling, chop the onions and celery.
Combine everything in a large bowl.
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste (Use more pepper than salt)
Add a few dashes of paprika
Mix the dressing in a bowl. Add to your larger bowl of salad. Combine well.
Chill for four hours or more before serving.
Southern Potato Salad
- 8 large potatoes peeled and chopped and boiled
- 4 large eggs hard boiled then chopped
- 3 ribs of celery chopped thin
- 3 Tablespoons relish sweet
- 1 small diced onion sweet
- 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- Salt and pepper to taste Use more pepper than salt
- Add a few dashes of paprika
Boil the potatoes on medium high for about 20 minutes or so in slightly salted water
- then allow them to cool for 10 minutes.
- Cook the eggs in a separate pot, but at same time as the potatoes.
- just boil my eggs by bringing water to a boil for a few minutes, then turning off the heat and covering the pot
- I let it sit in the hot water for 20 minutes before removing them from hot water.
- While potatoes and eggs are cooling, chop the onions and celery.
- Combine everything in a large bowl.
Mix the dressing in a bowl.
- Add to your larger bowl of salad.
- Combine well.
- Chill for four hours or more before serving.