I've been trying to teach my daughters (ages 13 and 15) how to plan dinner menus.
First, I gave them a blank Weekly Menu Worksheet, and they divided the days of the week between each other so they each created three. (Dad does Saturday dinner). I told them I wanted them to create menus using items in stock at home. Knowing it would be easier to ask me, I soon heard: "Mom, do we have spaghetti sauce?" or "Mom, do we have things to make chicken pot pie?" I was fine telling them if I had the items or not, but next time they are going to have to search for them. One step at a time.
Next, I gave them a blank Grocery List to write down the missing items for me to purchase at the store. The grocery list was actually very small, so I think they did very well using ingredients from home.
This is a beginning, and there will be more steps as I teach them how to plan meals as economically as possible.
Here are the menus:
Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, grapes
Tuesday: Spaghetti, bread, salad
Wednesday: Chili, cornbread, peas
Thursday: Hamburgers, chips & salsa, lemonade
Friday: Chicken pot pie, fruit salad, bread & butter
Saturday: Juan Pollo type tacos, cake, lemonade
Sunday: Lasagna, bread, salad