Thursday 17 November 2011

Spending time with older children-menu planning

This activity is popular here and is ideal for children aged 8-13.

Middle son especially enjoys this. He gets to write the main meal menu for a week. Once the menu is planned, he can go to an online supermarket and fill up my basket. Once he has done this, I check over everything, discuss changes and pay.

We usually shop with an online supermarket and chose the same type of time delivery slot as usual.

The rules are
  • has to be in budget
  • has to be sufficient fruit and vegetables so that everyone can have 5-a-Day
  • Has to involve usual staples-eggs, milk, butter, margarine etc
Usually the menu has to be rewritten to keep in budget. The children do this before they show me the finished result. 

I may have to point out that it is difficult to feed eight people on one pizza even if it comes from a special company or that buying three bananas for the week is on the inadequate side.

What transpires is a compromise. I allow less made from scratch, low in saturated fat food and Middle Son gets more of his delights.

 It is wise to write this several days before shopping day in order to make sure that in the excitement no one has forgotten to order washing up liquid or some other vital that is about to run out. 

The benefits of this are that
  • Someone else plans the meals for a week
  • Middle Son gets a realistic idea about shopping for a family and budgetary constraints
  • I save time in planning and ordering and have a more discussion based role
  • The children are extra keen to cook during their menu week.
  • An opportunity to talk about what might make up a healthy diet even if one week's diet is different from usual.


  1. Good idea,

    I may have to try this. Our budget is pretty tight, but I really like the compromising idea and the fact that they can learn about what it takes to feed a family.

  2. The good thing about this is that if they can't make it work then I can take over but they have always managed.
    Am I right that you don't have on line supermarkets? They could still do this on paper. It might be a bit dangerous in store especially if the menu needed changing!

  3. We don't have online supermarkets, or at least I don't use them. I pretty much know just about how much things cost, though, and have my grocery list well planned before hitting the stores:)