I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  Meal Planning.  Implementing meal planning was the number one thing that I did to save me time and stress while running my home.  Here’s why:

  • It ensured that I had every ingredient on hand before preparing meals
  • It reminded me what needed to be defrosted ahead of time saving my sanity when we had nothing defrosted an hour before dinner
  • It allowed me to prepare food shopping lists that included all the meals in the coming week
  • It stopped my family from constantly asking “what’s for dinner”
  • It helped me be strategic when deciding what to cook when
  • It assisted me in ensuring that we ate a variety of meals and proteins
  • It saved us from the cost of eating out more than we budgeted for

 

why i meal plan - pin

 

Are you ready to save time, money and stress by meal planning?

I’m sharing the basics with you and even sharing a simple meal plan chart for you to get started right away.

I like to meal plan on Mondays and will have at least ten days to two weeks planned out ahead.  You might want to start with one week and tweak as you get more comfortable with it.

Ready?

Don't Miss Another Free Printable

Subscribe to our newsletter and have them delivered right to your inbox!

meal planning clock

Print out the Meal Plan Chart and grab a pencil.  (I use a pencil because life happens.  There may be an occasion where you need to move a meal due to an emergency or unexpected night out).

Weekly Meal Plan

(For a neat new printable with instructions, click HERE)

Write out the days of the week.  Start with focusing on dinner as that is the most time consuming meal of the day.  You can find tons of great weeknight meals on Food.com, Allrecipes and even Pinterest.

Mark off nights that you won’t be home to cook.  (For example, on Wednesdays, we eat my mother-in-laws house, so I mark off Wednesdays). If you know that a night of the week is busy, write in a simple meal that night (tacos, spaghetti and meat sauce, steak sandwiches, etc.)

For the remaining nights, write in your family’s favorite meals or recipes you want to try.  I try not to repeat a meal until the next month.  (Each Monday, on our Facebook page, I share a great weeknight meal from my family’s recipe rotation).

What’s Next?

If a recipe includes an item that needs to be defrosted, write an F in the square to the right of the Meal Planning Chart (F=freezer).  This way, you will know if you need to take something out of the freezer the night before.  If it is a crockpot recipe, write a C in note column (C=crockpot).  This will let you know that this is an item you can prepare in the crockpot the night before or the morning of.

As you plan your meals, keep a shopping list and recipes handy and write on your shopping list anything you’ll need to pick up at the store.  (My shopping list is arranged according to my local store’s layout).  Before your weekly shopping trip, all you’ll need to do is a quick review of the fridge and pantry (as well as paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc.) to see what else you need to add to the list.

Food Shopping

I use an app on my phone called any.do and add items to a list titled “Store” as I think of them or realize we need to buy them.  When I’m finishing my shopping list, I just need to refer to the app to add those items to my already set up and mostly finished list.

Do you meal plan?  If so, what benefits has it shown you? If not, what’s holding you back?  I’d love to hear from you.

Don't Miss Another Free Printable

Subscribe to our newsletter and have them delivered right to your inbox!

For a HUGE collection of food storage charts, tips and meal planning resources, check out our Fabulously Festive Meal Planning Pack.

In Him,

Sue

Did you enjoy this? Please share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUpon