i have to say, this is probably one of the most challenging things to figure out as a household- at least it was for me and a handful of others i’ve chatted with. my husband and i have more recently found a routine that works for us. it’s not perfect by any means, but we’re less stressed and saving money because of it, so i thought i’d share.

1 have grace with yourself. know that the first week (or many weeks) of meal planning won’t be perfect and it probably won’t be easy. there are weeks where too many meals are planned for and food goes bad before you eat it and weeks where not enough meals are planned for, leading to a spontaneous trip to the store in order for dinner to be a success.

2 write down your meals. part of our sunday afternoon planning for the week is meal planning. we sit down together and go through each day at a time, and part of that contains, writing down each lunch/dinner for the week. we use pinterest when we need some inspiration.

3 make enough food to have leftovers for the following day’s lunch. you’ll save time and it’ll be much more convenient for you. we typically only plan for dinners, hoping dinner will have leftovers that we can eat the next day for lunch and maybe even dinner too.

4 order groceries online. some people love walking down the aisles of their grocery store to get their groceries, but what i’ve found is that i spend more unnecessary money on snacks and special drinks when browsing all the aisles nonchalantly. meal planning takes intention. so, i order all our groceries through target’s app and i do the, drive up pick up. this way, i can see all deals available and see my total before i check out. then, i can add or delete items depending on that total.

5 always have some easy/simple meals available just in case. for us, this is rice, beans, broccoli, and chicken. we always have these things on hand for a quick lunch if we didn’t have enough leftovers or a simple dinner in case we didn’t plan accordingly.

6 stick to it. you may get to monday night, look at your meal, and see that you planned for tacos, and of course, you are not in the mood for tacos. in this scenario, we switch tacos with another night of something we had planned for a different day, but we try to not go out and completely scratch the plan- just revise it a little.

7 look at the ingredients you already have and take that into mind while meal planning for the following week. for example, we had a lot of leftover soft taco shells in our fridge. we know these will go bad soon, so we planned to have a meal this week that would use those up so we don’t waste them.

8 when we plan meals, we first plan our weeks. you have to know what your specific week looks like for you and your spouse/household before you can effectively plan the meals needed. each week’s amount of meals will vary since each week’s plans may differ. for example, if you’re going to a friend’s house for a pizza night, you may only need to bring a side dish instead of planning an entire meal for that night.

each family might have their own tips and tricks that work for them, but this is what works for my family. don’t make meal planning seem daunting. it can be as stress free as you want it to be.

One response to “how i meal plan”

  1. Judith Avatar

    Meal planning is one of the highlights of my week! I love figuring out our menu, printing it out, and posting it in our kitchen. I do start my looking ahead at our schedule. Any doctor’s appointments for my husband? Any club meetings for me to attend? Any special events? I can then start filling in our “main course” for each day, allowing for left-overs where appropriate. My approach is to always include one beef meal, one poultry meal, one pork meal, one seafood meal, and one meatless meal. I can then add in our salads and vegetables to come up with a nutritious menu for each day of the week. I always add a disclaimer: all meals are subject to change. Things do happen, and if our schedule changes I can “substitute” one meal for another. It might turn out that cooking Tuesday’s roast in the crockpot would work better on Friday, so I’ll switch things around. To me, managing my kitchen and our mealtimes is one of the joys of my life. My advice is always have a plan, but be flexible, and yes, indeed, I always have “something simple” for those times when things happen to throw us off. Hamburger patties in the freezer will always make my husband happy. Canned green beans are great to have around. Plus I always, always, always have ingredients for chili — so I can cook up a delicious pot of spicy chili in a matter of minutes.

    I was delighted to see your post. Most of my friends think I’m “really weird” to plan out meals and post a menu, so I’m happy when I see other cooks doing it, too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: