It can seem impossible to come up with a diverse meal plan for your family of four over and over again. Trying to be unique with each meal you plan for your family can be a tedious task.
The key? Not stressing over it!
Thanks to the internet, there are so many ways to look up family of four meal plans and find dozens of curated lists and example menus to help keep variety in your family’s menu.
Building a Family of Four Meal Plan
Before diving into the four amazing family of four meal plans that we’ve discovered, it’s important to cover a few basics.
Building a family of four meal plan involves just a little extra work; with so many additional mouths to feed, you need to make sure you are taking the time to think of everyone's needs and taste preferences.
So, when building your family of four meal plan, keep these tips in mind:
- Sit down and talk with your family—get to know what they like and what they don’t. More importantly, find out what they can regularly eat for meals such as breakfast, lunches, and snacks. Being able to repeat certain meals throughout the week will help you save both money and prep time.
- Always remember to shop your pantry and freezer first—this will help you save time and money because you’ll be less likely to purchase unnecessary items and/or items you already have.
- Keep your kitchen staples stocked—kitchen staples are things like spices and condiments, as well as nonperishable food items such as boxed pasta, rice, and canned veggies.
4 Family of Four Meal Plan Ideas to Help You Get Started
Coming up with whole new meal plans can take some time. So, why keep reinventing the wheel? Instead of constantly searching the internet for the best meal plan ideas to add to your routine, check out this curated list of meal plan samples for families of four.
1. Seven Days of Healthy Suppers - BBC
If you’re like most busy families, you’re likely only planning to meal prep for the biggest meal of the day: dinner.
Now, it’s not that the other meals of the day aren’t important. Dinner just happens to be the only meal that some families can sit down and enjoy together. That’s why the BBC decided to create a wonderful 7-day dinner meal plan that is sure to win over everyone in your family.
In this family of four meal plan, they feature the following dinners:
- Monday – Sweetcorn egg-fried rice with chicken
- Tuesday – Pink fishballs in spicy lentil gravy (think meatballs, but with fish!)
- Wednesday – Bolognese
- Thursday – Tomato and chickpea bake
- Friday – Crunchy fish fingers
- Saturday – Turkey burgers
- Sunday – One-pan roast chicken & potatoes
Not only does the BBC provide you with direct links to each recipe, but they also offer advice to readers on budgeting tips and how to make healthy swaps for each recipe.
2. 5-Day Cheap and Healthy Meal Plan for Four – EatingWell
In this example from EatingWell, they take their meal planning and make it as simple as possible. While they are planning for every meal of the day, they have decided to repeat several of their meals to help keep prep nice and easy. Here’s how they’ve laid out their Monday through Friday meal plan:
- Overnight oats/oatmeal with berries or sliced bananas
- Whole-wheat toast with nut butter and a banana
- Whole-wheat toast with avocado and a sliced hard-boiled egg
- Egg salad
- Rice bowls with black beans and vegetables
- Monday: Lentil sloppy joes on toast + cabbage slaw
- Tuesday: Slow-cooker hearty beef chili
- Wednesday: Microwaved sweet potatoes stuffed with leftover lentil sloppy joe mixture or chili
- Thursday: Eggs in tomato sauce with chickpeas & spinach + whole-wheat toast
- Friday: Black bean & salmon tostadas
The goal with this meal plan was to carefully plan out each dinner and then have a few interactive options for breakfasts and lunches—all of which are easy to make in advance or are quick solutions when on the go.
3. 7-Day Family of Four Meal Plan Under $100 – Food Network
If you’re looking for some ideas on meal plans for a full week, then the team at Food Network has an excellent sample menu worth checking out! What stood out the most in this particular meal plan was that they included plenty of options for the adults and the children in the family, from breakfast through dinner and the snacks in between.
- Toast and fruit with eggs
- Peanut butter banana smoothies
- Egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Cut up veggies or fruit
- Cheese snacks
- Salads for the adults
- Sunday: Roasted chicken and broccoli with rice
- Monday: Cauliflower fried rice
- Tuesday: Pasta with ground turkey
- Wednesday: Grainy salad
- Thursday: Chicken noodle soup
- Friday: Homemade pizza night
- Saturday: Leftovers
- Peanut butter
- Veggie dip
With such a wide variety of foods available in this plan, it was rather refreshing to see that a “leftovers” day was included! This helps ensure that no food goes to waste. Even better, leftovers don’t always have to mean eating the same thing you did earlier in the week—in fact, you can likely deconstruct some of your leftovers and craft them into something completely new!
4. A 1-Week Meal Plan and Shopping List for Your Family of 4 – Healthline
While the last two meal plans focused on a variety of options for dinner with some repeated items for breakfasts and lunches, this 7-day family of four meal plan from Healthline gives your family something unique almost every meal throughout the week. It even includes your ingredients and cooking directions, too.
- Brunch: French toast and fruit
- Snack: Cheese, crackers, and grapes
- Dinner: Quesadillas
- Breakfast: Egg sandwiches with sliced oranges
- Lunch: Lettuce wraps with milk
- Snack: Sliced apples and peanut butter
- Dinner: Rotisserie chicken with roasted veggies
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit
- Lunch: Chicken sandwiches with tomato soup
- Snack: Hummus and sliced veggies
- Dinner: Veggie tacos
- Breakfast: Cheerios with fruit
- Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches with grapes
- Snack: Air-popped popcorn drizzled with dark chocolate
- Dinner: Pasta with a tomato sauce, ground turkey, and veggies
- Breakfast: Whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana
- Lunch: Pasta salad
- Snack: Boiled eggs and celery sticks
- Dinner: Homemade burgers and french fries
- Breakfast: Cottage cheese with fruit
- Lunch: Mini pizzas on English muffins
- Snack: Fruit smoothie
- Dinner: Tofu stir-fry
- Breakfast: Baked frittata
- Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of strawberries
- Snack: Turkey rollups
- Dinner: Homemade chili
With such an extensive meal plan, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed with all the different options. However, if you take the time to go through each recipe, you’ll quickly see that many of these recipes include a lot of the same base ingredients! This allows you to focus on buying only a few ingredients and gives you the freedom to make more than one dish out of them.
Family of Four Meal Planning Made Simple
Planning for a family of four or more can be a tricky process. Each member of your family has their own preferences, so what works for some may not work for others.
The key to keeping everyone happy is considering everyone’s tastes and implementing them evenly throughout your week. That way, nobody feels left out! Even better, you can get your family involved in the meal planning and prepping process to ensure that each person has a fair say in what’s made for the week.
Creating family of four meal plans doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. If you keep things simple, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it can be!