August meal planner 4 – The balanced plate

family meal plan

family meal planThe new school year is just around the corner and it goes without saying that we all want our children to do the best they can whilst they are there. Children thrive on routine and on good food, this is no different to 50 years ago.

However the nutritional guidelines to meal balance has changed. Children in the 1960s, and 70s would have been given a balanced main meal consisting of ¼ protein, ¼ vegetables and ½ carbohydrates. It is very important to remember that because today’s children are more sedentary and unfortunately consume more snacks, the balanced plate has changed.

Today a main meal should consist of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrate and ½ vegetables (and fruit). A glass of milk or a milky dessert is also recommended at meal times.

By serving and encouraging children to eat the right balance of vegetables/fruit to protein and carbohydrates at each meal you are optimizing your family’s health. (The size of the plate will be different depending on the age of the child.)

About our family meal planner
This week’s family meal planner
Shopping list

Did you know – Potatoes are not included as a vegetable when calculating nutritional value. The humble potato is classified as a carbohydrate. Only ¼ of a plate of carbohydrate is recommended per meal.

Remember – Many of the recipes have vegetables in them already so you only need to top up with some side vegetables. I have included kale or broccolli in the shopping list.

About our family meal planner

These meal planners cater for families, and are made up of recipes that are child friendly, forming part of a daily diet that is balanced for the whole week. It will give you plenty of nutrients from each of the food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals), says Sian.

The meal plans for the week are inclusive of animal and plant protein such as white meat, fish, red meat and eggs.  You’ll find nuts, chickpeas, cheese and seeds on the meatless day. Sian says the secret to affordable, healthy meals is to plan ahead to make sure you are stress-free, and have the right ingredients in the correct amounts in your kitchen ready to cook.

Each week, Sian provides you with five simple recipes to plan for the week. You can decide when to make them, on whichever day suits you best. There is also a shopping list (below) that can be printed ready to take with you to the supermarket.

This week’s meal planner

Shopping list

Red wine or lamb stock – 500mls
Sparkling water – 200mls

Cereals grains and pasta

Cornflour – 4 tablespoons
Plain flour – 400grms
Self raising flour – 150grms
Tortilla wraps – 4
Rice – 200grms
Pasta – 100grms

Dairy  and egg

Brie cheese – 100grms
Cheddar cheese – 150grms
Butter or Flora margerine – 300grms
Milk – 800mls
Eggs – 4

Fats and oils

Olive oil – 4tblsp


Blackberries (forage if possible) cooking apples an option – 100grms

Meat Poultry  Fish

White fish e.g. haddock, whiting – 500grms
Lamb shank – 4
Chicken fillet – 4
Chicken fillet (optional for Brie wraps) – 2
Chickpeas – 400grms (1 can)
Bacon (optional for brie wraps) – 4slices

Herbs & spices

Turmeric powder – 0.5tsp
Chili powder – 1tsp
Mint (dried is fine) – 4 sprigs
Rosemary (dried is fine) – 4 sprigs
Ginger (fresh or half the amount if dried) – 2 tablespoons
Tyme (fresh or half the amount id dried) – 2 sprigs
Nutmeg – 1 pinch

Store cupboard

Pesto – 1 tblsp
Tomato puree – 2 tblsp
Lamb stock cubes – 1
Chicken stock pots – 3
Balsamic vinegar – 100mls
Curry paste – 2tblsp
Tin tomatoes – 4


Red onions – 2   
Onions – 3
Carrots – 3
Parsnips – 3
Cauliflower – 1 large
New potatoes – 1kg
Potatoes – 6
Mixed lettuce leaves – 1 bunch
Cherry tomatoes – 20
Cucumber – 1
Spring onions – 1 bunch
Rocket leaves – 1 bunch
Peas (frozen, fresh or  marrowfat peas – 1pk
Vegetables of your choice (eg broccolli or kale) – 2
Sundried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes – 12

Sugar products

Caster sugar – 50grms

Sian is a home economist with over 25 years experience as a secondary school teacher and now running her own private cookery school with a focus on meal planning. After years of seeing people struggling to provide healthy meals everyday for their families, she created her own meal planning system at