Meal-Planning Takes Community | our monthly meal plan

community meal-planning monthly menu

A couple months ago (in November, if you're wondering), I shared how I made our monthly meal plan. What I didn't share is our actual meal plan. Not because it's anything I want to hide. I just didn't even think of it at the time.

Since then, I've had some off days (or, eh hem, weeks). You know, when you suddenly realize your family is eating cereal for breakfast (and sometimes dinner), packaged mac n cheese, and frozen pizzas for more meals than you care to admit? Yeah, those days.

(True story: I didn't realize how often I was really making pizza, until my five-year-old complained, We're having pizza again? Oops.)

Those are the days when I long for community. I know, it seems like an unlikely leap--meal planning to community. But my mind wanders there every time I feel overwhelmed. Because I don't think our burdens were ever meant to carry alone. Of course, taking them to Jesus is the obvious. Also, carrying them with each other.

The old fashioned pass-around-hand-written-recipe-cards kind of thing. Or let the kids play while the women gather in the kitchen to team work on bread or pies. Or opening our homes more to just share a meal together, and in that effort not feel so alone in all the other burdens we're carrying.

Yep, that's what I've been thinking about since writing that meal-planning series in November. Community. And how to incorporate more of it into my online-consumed life. How to lend a welcoming hand of community through the computer to you, my readers and friends. Because I want your life to not feel so alone or overwhelming.

I'm still searching for solutions, but Veggie Meal-Maker held one possible solution all along for the meal-planning behemoth--the "friends" feature. I can't believe I didn't include it in my original series!

Basically, you can add me (or others) as your friend on Veggie Meal-Maker, and have access to my saved menus and my public recipes. And I am more than happy to share that with you!

Sure, it's not as great as someone creating a personalized meal plan just for you. But it's the next best thing--our family's month of menus (customize-able with automated shopping lists, yes please and thank you). Maybe just one small way to not feel so alone in your meal-time challenges.

These menus include the recipes we've tried and love (or are at least content with). It includes our areas of weakness ("whatever" is the basic theme for our second meals each day, only a few meals get sides, and we're still seeking a few new favorite recipes). And it includes those small details that save us money (oatmeal for half our breakfasts and every meal planned).

What these meal plans don't show is those times I get burned out on the food side of life. Especially if Daniel's gone and I'm making meals for a couple opinionated picky-eaters. It's like I take a quick snooze and wake up to us eating all packaged foods with smoothies as our only source of quality nutrition.

It's not pretty. But it happens. Know this...

1 | If you find yourself in a meal-time rut, you're not the only one. It happens. And it doesn't make you a bad person--it probably means you're stressed, tired, or preoccupied. Cut yourself some slack, and make one small change.

2 | These ruts always cost us in health and money. The sooner we get out of them, the sooner our family is back to better health (read: less irritable with more energy), and the sooner we're back to our $75/week or under grocery bill.

So, are you ready?

From our family to yours: Steps to access + personalize our family's monthly meal plan...

adding friend to share menu meal plan

1 | Log in to Veggie Meal-Maker. (Sign up for a 30-day free trial >> here if you haven't already done so.) Go to "Recipes" (right option at the top).

2 | Select "Friends."

3 | Select "Add Friends."

4 | Enter the e-mail address(es) of the friend(s) you'd like to share recipes and menus with. (To get our recipes and monthly meal plan, enter my e-mail address: trina cress {at} gmail .com.)

sharing menu meal plan

5 | Once your friend(s) have received your e-mail and followed the link to accept your request, you will be able to access their menus in your planner. Go to the "Menus" (the middle option in the left sidebar).

Go to the drop down menu under "Your Friend's Menus," and select which friend's menus you'd like to see.

Drag and drop the menu to where you want it to start. (Our's is a 28-day menu that starts on a Monday.)

You will be given the option to save it or to undo. Glance it over to make sure you added it on the right date or are interested in what you see. It can be a pain to undo it all once it's saved!

Then customize it however you wish. Move recipes around. Delete them. Add your own. But now you've got something to start with, from someone you know. Kind of ;)

Let's put the community back in meal-time!

See the i heart meal-planning series >> here.

disclosure: post contains affiliate links. if you buy anything through them, i get a small commission at no extra cost to you.