Weekly Meal Planning Made Simple :: Free Meal Plan
Weekly Meal Planning
Weekly meal planning, when done right, will save you so much time and money. Use these tips and you won’t be asking yourself “what’s for dinner?” at 5 o’clock. You’ll know exactly what to buy at the grocery store. Plus, you’ll get out of the store in record time.
Not only am I sharing all my meal planning tips, but I’m also giving you a free meal plan plus a grocery list! The meal plan is for 8 days. Make sure you grab it below.
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Weekly Meal Planning Benefits
Meal planning can save you a lot of time throughout the week. You won’t be stressing all day about what you are going to cook for dinner. The plan is already set. The groceries are already bought.
Weekly meal planning will save you money. With my meal planning strategies, you will learn how to use up the food you have and to shop on a budget. Having a plan and sticking to it means more money in your pocket. Keep in mind it’s important to shop from your grocery list and not stray from the list.
Weekly meal planning will help you eat healthier. When you have everything planned out you are more encouraged to eat what you have in your home. Having a plan means less spontaneous trips to the neighborhood fast-food chain.
The Basic Steps
I have a weekly cleaning routine that includes everything I need to do to meal plan for the week. You can download the routine in my free printables library. Here is my meal planning routine:
- Saturday – clean out the refrigerator and pantry
- Sunday – write down the meals for each day of the upcoming week and make a grocery list
- Monday – grocery shop
Saturday – Food Clear Out
You can use Saturday to get rid of any expired food in your pantry or refrigerator. This will open up space for the new groceries that you will buy this week. While you are clearing things out, take note of the food you still have that you can use up in the following week.
Sunday – Meal Plan and Grocery List
On Sunday, sit down and write down what you are going to eat for dinner each night of the week. Write this down where you are going to see it through the week. This could be a chalkboard or calendar that you keep on your kitchen wall. You can write this in your planner, on your phone, or use my meal planning printables. Just make sure it’s something that is convenient for you.
- Plan meals based on food still in your refrigerator/pantry
- Write down days you know you will be eating somewhere else
- Use your favorite recipes to fill in the rest of the days (or look up new ones)
First, plan meals based on the food you still have in your kitchen. Get creative if you have to. Some of my best meals happen when I throw leftovers in the skillet.
Next, fill in any days that you know you will be going out or visiting someone. If you have plans to eat with your parents on Friday, then write that down and don’t buy groceries for that day.
Lastly, you need to come up with meals to fill in the rest of the week. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose from the meals you are comfortable making, your family favorites, or look up new meals on Pinterest.
Make weekly meal planning easier by having simple systems for breakfast and lunch.
I personally don’t plan for breakfast. We typical stick to the same things. Eggs, oatmeal, toast, avocados, orange juice, milk, and supplies for biscuits and gravy on the weekend.
Make it easy on yourself and come up with simple ideas for breakfast that you can rotate through. Then buy the same food items for breakfast each week. You can spice things up by using leftover veggies from dinner in your omelets and leftover fruit in your oatmeal or a smoothie.
Keep it simple for lunch as well. After dinner each night, you can pack up the leftovers for lunch the next day. Then have a few staples on hand like bread and turkey, for when you don’t have leftovers. I also buy the same things each week to have on hand for my toddler and her lunch/snacks.
- Keep it in a convenient place
- Write down the items you always get
- Write down what you need for each meal
- Keep your list in categories to make for faster shopping
Write your grocery list in a convenient place for you. This could be your phone or a physical list that you will carry around the store. I like to use my own printables or a list pad that sticks to my refrigerator with a magnet. Go through each day of the week and write down everything you will need to make those dinners. Then everything you need for breakfast and lunch. Lastly, write down any extras that you need for the week.
I find that you save a lot of time in the grocery store if you write your list in categories. Write all of your frozen foods together, produce together, pantry items together etc. Read more about saving time in the grocery store here.
Monday – Grocery Shop
I know it may seem crazy to grocery shop on a Monday. Why would we want to add even more to our Monday to-do-list?!
As a stay at home mom, Monday works great. As a working mom, it works great as well… let me convince you.
When I was working outside the home, I was a cross country coach. This meant that for 4 months out of the year I had a cross country meet every Saturday, and when we didn’t have a meet, we had practice.I also could not grocery shop on Sunday’s because of the amount of time spent at church.
This forced me to shop during the week. Once cross-country season was over I still chose to shop during the week for the other 8 months in the year. Here are some reasons to consider shopping during the week:
- Avoid crowded stores
- Save all your weekend time for friends, family, and Jesus
- Put all of the crazy in one day
My philosophy is why not put all the stressful things in one day so that other days can be stress-free. Get it all done on Monday and then relax the rest of the week. Use your weekends to relax and enjoy your family.
Save Time With Grocery Shopping On Monday
Grocery shopping on Monday doesn’t even need to be that bad. There are 3 things that you can do to make it easier on yourself.
Having that grocery list will save you a lot of time. Take your list and go straight from work to the grocery store. I shop at Aldi and this saves me a lot of time as well. The store is smaller making it easier to get in and out.
Grocery Pick Up
Stores like Walmart and Hyvee have grocery pick up. Order groceries online sometime Sunday or Monday and schedule to pick them up. After you have done it once you can save your grocery list online and use it again. This will save you a ton of time.
It’s the 21st century and cool things happen like grocery delivery. This will depend on where you live, but a lot of companies are coming out with this service. Companies such as Walmart, Target, Hyvee, Amazon, and Instafresh. Check out this list to see who delivers in your area.
Alright, that’s how you meal plan. Weekly meal planning really will save you time, money, and the headaches caused by the question, “what are we having for dinner?”
I’ll leave you with a free printable Meal Plan. This includes 8 dinner ideas with links to the recipe and a grocery list. All of the meals will be quick and easy to make. I’m all about those 30-minute meals. (Anyone else watch Rachel Ray?)
I hope this helps you save some time this week!
P.S. When I don’t want to spend any time planning for dinner I use Hello Fresh. Use this referral link to get $40 off your first purchase.
Grab Your Meal Plan and Grocery List
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