Meal planning is one of those things that people want to do, but just don’t. I am not talking about getting a meal plan where a nutritionist tells you what to eat. I am talking about making a plan for your grocery list each week. I think people don’t meal plan for several reasons, but I think the major factor is that people just really don’t know how. They don’t know what is healthy and they don’t know how to plan for a whole week of food. I think another reason is that people think they don’t have the time to plan it all out and just get so overwhelmed with the whole idea that they end up just not doing it. I meal plan for two main reasons: it helps me eat healthy and save money.
I hope this post helps you learn how to meal plan and gives you the confidence to do it yourself. Here are the steps that I take and the tools that I use to meal plan. Now, this is just what I do. You may find something better that works for you, but I hope that this will at least be a guide to help you do it. Meal planning really does save a TON of money, and it also helps you to achieve your health goals because you have a PLAN. You don’t have to make last minute decisions when you just want to go home and relax after a long day at work. If you have a plan, you are less likely to pick up fast-food and spend more money. SO here it goes.
- Plan out your week. I use a weekly planner tool I created (feel free to print out and use-just make sure you print double sided!) I write out each meal that I will need to cook for my husband and I. Sometimes we know in advance that we won’t be eating at home, so I won’t plan for that meal.
- Start with dinner. I start with Monday and go all the way through the week. I do this because if I plan correctly, I can eat leftovers for lunch each day and that saves SO MUCH money.
- Plan for lunches that you may not be eating leftovers for (this would be if you ate out or went somewhere else for dinner the night before).
- Plan for breakfast.
- Plan for snacks.
It’s as simple as that. As you are planning what your meals will be, list any ingredients that you may not have in your pantry so you will have your grocery list. Usually, the recipes that call for spices I will already have in my house so I will not need to buy those.
I do all of my grocery shopping on Sunday so that I have food for the entire week. Therefore, I know I need to have my plan before that day. So I usually meal plan during the week or on Saturday for the next week. You do what works for you. If you like to shop every couple days, or every couple weeks that’s great. This is just what works for me and it has taken a while to figure that out. It may take some time if you are just beginning this to figure out how often you need to go and what your favorite store to shop at is! Now that my husband and I have been doing this for a while, we even have our “route” through the grocery store. We have just about perfected it and it actually doesn’t take us very long at all!
This video explains everything I talk about in this post!
How to meal plan for a week (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hY62hfEwvY)