September meal planner 3 – Family cooking

family cooking meal planner

family cooking meal plannerA week in France recently reaffirmed the importance of sharing meals together as a family. In fact I noticed that every member of a French family is encouraged to take their part in the meal making process.

In the long term this is not only the ideal way to ensure that basic cooking skills and food traditions are passed to the generations but for economic and health reasons. Good home made meals are cheaper and provide the best source of nutrients to the family.

With a little planning you can encouraging children from the age of five years of age when then are full of enthusiasm to absorb new skills and knowledge is good practice. I always recommend using lettuce knives for children to cut cabbage, carrots, cheese, apples etc.

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

Did you know? French food is moving away from the rich butter and cream sauce based dishes called Haute Cuisine, to a more health conscious light diet called Novelle Cuisine. The dishes that I have chosen are cuisine bourgeoise or home cooking or regional dishes. In other words, good regional ingredients cooked simply.

About our family meal planner

These family meal planners are made up of dinners that are kid friendly, forming part of a weekly balanced diet. It will give you plenty of nutrients from each of the food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals), says Sian.

The weekly meal plans are inclusive of animal and plant protein such as fish, white meat, 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.

Every week, Sian provides you with five simple recipes to plan. 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

Fresh (to be purchased ingredients)

Meat and fish

8 chicken pieces (eg. Legs, thighs)
6 bacon slices
150 g streaky bacon
8 pork sausages

Dairy and eggs

16 – 18 eggs
100 ml milk
300 g hard cheese (eg cheddar)
300 ml double cream

Fruit and veg

1 lettuce
1 cucumber
1 spring onions
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes
2 little gem lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes
12 celery sticks
2 large carrots
2 large dessert apples

Bottles and tins

16 pitted olives
400 ml cider or apple juice


200g shortcut pastry

Store cupboard

200g tuna (1 tin) or 300g of fresh cooked tuna
3 white onion
1 small red onion
4 small potatoes
4 gloves garlic
Bouquet garnet (optional)
1 bay leaf

Bottles and tins

100 g French beans (cooked)
400g harricot or white beans
100 ml olive oil
3 tbsp vinegar (wine vinegar preferably)
1 tbsp French mustard
½ tsp vanilla essence


125 g caster sugar
4 pinches of baking powder
50 g plain flour

Tip: Children that attend my cookery school use lettuce knives (which are plastic and not sharp) to cut up vegetables and fruit etc. At only £1.99 approx each they are a great purchase as children love to chop and slice but need to be safe doing so.

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