We’ve all heard of Meal Plan Monday and if that is your day, keep doing what you’re doing but for me, Monday is a little late in the week to plan things out and Mondays are hard enough already, right? If I want my week to go smoothy, I need to jump into planning on the weekend. So even if you stick with Monday, or whatever day of the week works best for you, for this month, you’ll find recipes and meal planning ideas right here every SATURDAY.
I’ve tried all kinds of meal planning: weekly, monthly, grabbing what is in the fridge and making it work, eating peanut butter when nothing works… and I still would not say that I’ve perfected my method but I have learned that being proactive saves me time, money, energy and makes me enjoy the process of cooking dinner even more.
Here’s what I do…
- Look at the week ahead: I lay out the days on a fresh sheet of paper and compare to the calendar and factor in any days that might complicate dinner.
- Start the Grocery List: I like to lay my list out by store department. I’ve used this printable below for years and years but sometimes a blank sheet of paper with some headings works just fine. Whatever you use, have something ready because you’re about to fill it in rather quickly.
- Review the Sales: Take a look at what your store(s) have on sale for the week and put anything on the list that you might need to stock up on or that you find inspiring. Then fill in the things you’re low on. I try to keep a list on my phone when I notice something is running low, this is when I consult that and pop it in the master list.) If you coupon, consult those here too!
- Review your list with your week: What looks like something that would make a good meal? If chicken is on sale, add a couple days of chicken to your meal plan and save freezer space and defrost time.
- Fill in the week: This is where you can be as simple or as creative as you want to be. There are weeks where I pick a cookbook and search for new recipes to try and others when I say Monday: Chicken, Tuesday: Tacos, etc and take care of it in under 2 minutes. Don’t forget leftover nights too! I like to allow a night between leftovers but that’s just me.
- Finish your Grocery List: Go back through that list one more time and add anything you may need for the meals you picked out and you’re done
- Make it happen, but stay flexible: Evaluate what and when you can prep and save time and be open to a shift when needed. Do what works best for you throughout the week. Don’t use something you had planned, shift it to next week and you’re already ahead of the game!
Meal planning is just one of those things that makes the week (and the budget) go a bit more in our favor, so whatever day you choose, spend a few moments to think things out for the week and you’ll thank yourself (and me) later!