If you’re tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed when it comes to meal planning, I have the perfect solution for you. My free meal planning template and grocery list can help simplify your life and make mealtime planning a breeze.
A printable weekly meal planner is a simple tool that can make meal planning even easier.
With a weekly meal planner template, you can map out your meals for the week, keep track of what you need to buy at the grocery store, and ensure that you’re getting a good variety of healthy foods in your diet.
It’s like having a personal assistant for your meal planning!
Plus, when you have your meals written down in front of you, it’s easier to stick to your plan and avoid the temptation to order takeout or grab fast food.
I’ve learned that with a little bit of prep work, you can easily plan out all your meals for the week. This will save time and money, and ensure that you and your family are eating healthily.
No more last-minute scrambling to figure out what to make for dinner.
I created these FREE templates that will help you plan out your meals for the week with ease.
With these handy templates, you can have a delicious and nutritious meal plan ready for the week ahead.
Why Is Taking Time to Plan Your Meals Important?
I have found that if you don’t meal plan, you’ll end up eating out a lot and spending a lot of money.
Plus, it’s really hard to have nutritious food if you don’t plan ahead.
When you know what you are going to have for the week, you can create a grocery list and stick to it.
This means that you will save money by not buying items that you don’t need and you will also have something ready to go when you are busy or don’t feel like cooking. Win-Win!
Here is a Step-By-Step Weekly Menu Planner Guide:
Step #1 Decide What You Want to Accomplish
Why do you want to start weekly meal planning?
Deciding in advance what you’re going to have each day can be extremely helpful when it comes to eating healthy and staying on budget.
By taking the time to plan, you can make sure that you and your family are eating nutritious foods.
Writing everything down on a weekly meal plan template or grocery list helps you save money by avoiding impulse purchases at the grocery store.
Step #2 Download Your Free Templates
As a bonus, I have made a free printable weekly menu template and grocery list for you to use. You can download the printables for free and print them out to use right away.
Once you have your templates, you can start planning your meals and enjoying the benefits of meal planning.
If you’re always on the go and eating out most days, a general weekly meal planner might be a better fit. Think about how much time you realistically have to dedicate to getting set up for success and prep work.
Here is A FREE Weekly Meal Planner Template:
Step #3 Gather Your Resources
It’s time to gather your resources, ie. Recipes, cookbooks, online resources.
Start by scouring your cookbooks and tearing out any recipes that look appetizing. Don’t be afraid to try to cook something new!
This is the perfect opportunity to experiment with new ingredients, recipes, etc…
There are a wealth of online resources available to create some easy, and delicious recipes. Spend some time browsing cooking blogs and websites for tips, tricks, and new ideas. You can also find helpful videos demonstrating techniques or even entire cooking shows to watch for inspiration.
Here are a few of my favorite online go-to’s for easy family recipes:
Step #4 Take Stock of Your Ingredients
Before you plan your meals for the week, take a look at your pantry inventory and all the ingredients you already have on hand.
For example, if you have some leftover chicken in the fridge, you might plan to use it the next day in a stir-fry or salad for one of your meals.
Step #5 Make a Plan
To be honest, there is no one size fits all.
Because let’s face it…
Different people have different needs when it comes to what they enjoy eating or even what they need to have in their own diet.
Some people do well with a one-page, simple list of what they need to buy, while others need a more detailed plan that includes recipes and cooking tips.
If you’re not sure what kind of meal planner template will work best for you, consider your lifestyle and daily routine.
Does your family have breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or just breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. You get the gist…
For example: For my family, I typically have smoothies or quick on-the-go breakfast options available, we all prefer different lunches, and we have dinner at home 5 times a week. We only eat out about twice per week. So using a simple, general planner works for us.
If you’re always on the go and eating out most days, a general weekly menu meal planner might be a better fit. Think about how much time you realistically have to dedicate to getting set up for success and prep work.
Step #6 Create a Grocery Shopping List
Based on your meal plan, create a shopping list of the necessary ingredients you’ll need. Make sure to check your pantry and fridge before heading to the store to avoid buying duplicates.
For example, if you plan to make spaghetti with meat sauce on Tuesday, you’ll need to add spaghetti noodles, ground beef, tomato sauce, and any other ingredients to your shopping list.
Here is a FREE Grocery List Template:
Step #7 Time To Shop For Groceries
Take your shopping list to the grocery store and buy only what you need for the week. This can help reduce food waste and save you money.
Make sure to stick to your grocery list and avoid any impulse purchases.
Step #8 Stick To Your Plan
Alright…it’s time to put your meal plan into action!
This is the fun part, where you reap the benefits of all your hard work.
There are a couple of ways to put your plan into action:
You can meal prep all your meals and snacks in advance at the beginning of the week.
Here are some tips on how to start meal prepping:
- Set aside time to prep your food. Dedicate an hour or two on the weekend to cooking and packaging up your meals for the week ahead.
- Invest in some good storage containers. You’ll need containers that are microwave-safe and freezer-friendly for easy reheating and freezing. Don’t forget to label them with the name of the dish and the date it was made.
- When it’s time for a meal, simply reheat and enjoy!
Once you have your weekly meals planned out and your ingredients on hand, try your best to stick to your plan as much as possible.
Of course, things come up during the week, so don’t stress if you have to make adjustments.
You might swap out a meal for takeout or make a different dish if something comes up.
Step #9 Make Adjustments As Needed
If something comes up during the week and you can’t stick to your weekly meal plan calendar, don’t worry! Simply make adjustments as needed and try to get back on track as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you’re not used to meal planning, don’t try to plan out an entire month of meals all at once.
Start by planning just a few meals for the week and then build up from there. For example, you might plan out just your dinners for the week and then gradually add in breakfasts and lunches as you get more comfortable with the process.
Keep It Simple:
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to meal plan effectively.
In fact, some of the best meals are often the simplest ones. Focus on easy-to-make dishes that are still nutritious and tasty and that you know the whole family will love.
For example, you could make a big batch of soup or chili that can last for several meals throughout the week.
Set aside a specific time each week to plan your meals and make a shopping list. For instance, you might spend Sunday afternoons planning out your meals for the week and then going grocery shopping.
Having a routine can make the process feel less overwhelming and more manageable.
Use a Meal Planning Tool:
There are many different meal planning tools available, such as printable weekly meal planners or meal planning apps. These tools can help you keep track of your meals, your shopping list, and your recipes all in one place.
For example, you could use a meal planning app to search for recipes, plan your meals for the week, and generate a shopping list all in one place.
Involve Your Family:
Get input from your family members and involve them in the meal-planning process. This can make it more fun and less overwhelming.
For instance, you might ask your kids to help choose a recipe or let your partner plan out one of the meals for the week.
Don’t Be Afraid To Repeat Meals:
It’s okay to repeat meals throughout the week or month. In fact, many people find that this saves time and reduces stress.
For example, you might plan to have grilled chicken with roasted vegetables every Monday night.
A meal planner can be a lifesaver when it comes to saving money and reducing waste. Here are some ways a meal planner can help:
Reduce Impulse Buys:
We’ve all been there – wandering the aisles of the grocery store and picking up items we don’t need. With a meal plan and a shopping list, you’re less likely to make impulse buys.
So if you know you’re making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on Tuesday, you won’t be as tempted to buy a bag of chips you don’t really need.
Use Ingredients More Efficiently:
With a meal plan, you can use ingredients more efficiently and reduce waste. For instance, if you’re making a stir-fry on Monday that calls for sliced bell peppers, you can plan to use the remaining peppers in a fajita recipe later in the week.
Buy In Bulk:
When you have a meal plan, you can buy ingredients in bulk, which can save you money in the long run. For example, if you’re making several meals that call for chicken, you can buy a larger package of chicken breasts and use them throughout the week.
Take Advantage Of Sales:
When you have a meal plan and a shopping list, you can take advantage of sales and discounts at the grocery store. For example, if you see that ground beef is on sale, you can adjust your meal plan to include more dishes that call for ground beef.
Eat Out Less:
One of the biggest ways a meal planner can help you save money is by reducing the number of times you eat out or order takeout. When you have a meal plan and the ingredients you need at home, it’s much easier to resist the temptation to order in. Plus, you’re reducing waste from disposable containers and utensils.
By being intentional with your meals and ingredients, you’ll not only save money but also create more delicious and healthy meals for you and your family.
When it comes to meal planning, how far in advance you plan is really up to you. Some people like to plan a week’s worth of meals at once, while others prefer to plan just a few days ahead.
One thing to keep in mind is that planning out meals in advance can be a huge time-saver during the week.
So if you know you’re going to have a busy week, you might want to plan out all of your meals ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about what to make each day.
Or, if you have a busy schedule but still want to eat healthy meals, you might plan out just a few days’ worths of meals and make larger batches so you can have leftovers throughout the week.
Another benefit of planning meals in advance is that it can help you save money. By planning your meals and shopping for ingredients in advance, you can take advantage of sales and discounts at the grocery store.
Plus, you’ll be less likely to make impulse buys or order takeout, which can add up quickly.
Ultimately, how often you plan meals in advance will depend on your schedule, preferences, and lifestyle.
Some people like to plan their meals out for the entire week on Sunday, while others might plan each night’s meal the day before.
The key is to find a routine that works for you and makes meal planning and preparation less stressful.
If you’re looking for help with meal planning, there are many tools and apps available that can make the process easier and more efficient.
Printable Meal Planner Templates:
You can easily find printable meal planner templates online that you can print out and use to plan your meals for the week. These templates often include space to plan your meals, make a shopping list, and jot down notes.
Meal Planning Apps:
There are many meal-planning apps available that can help you plan your meals, generate shopping lists, and even suggest recipes based on your preferences. Some popular meal-planning apps include Mealime, Plan to Eat, and Paprika Recipe Manager.
Recipe Websites and Blogs:
There are countless recipe websites and blogs out there that offer meal-planning tips and ideas. Many of these websites allow you to search for recipes by ingredient, dietary restriction, or cuisine, making it easy to plan meals around your preferences.
Online Grocery Shopping Services:
Some online grocery shopping services, such as Amazon Fresh and Instacart, allow you to save past purchases and create a shopping list for future orders.
This can be a helpful tool for meal planning, as you can easily add ingredients to your shopping list as you plan your meals.
Overall, there are many tools and apps available to help with meal planning. By finding the tools and resources that work best for you, you can make meal planning and preparation a breeze.
And that’s it! If you’re looking to save time and money, meal planning is the way to go.
By taking a few hours on the weekend to plan and prep your meals, you can make weeknight dinners a breeze.
Remember to keep it simple and choose recipes that have just a few ingredients and require minimal cooking time.
Simply repeat this process for as long as you want to keep planning. It gets easier and more enjoyable with practice!
So take some time this weekend to get yourself organized for an easy and stress-free week of eating.