Have you ever thought of meal planning – and thought “boy, would that make life easier!”? Always having the right ingredients on hand and knowing well ahead of time what you’ll have for dinner?
Plus, meal prep or having a meal plan is a great way to spend less time on dinner plans, especially if your family members are on any special diets.
I have a family friend that has trouble figuring out what to make for each day of the week. Everyone in her family is on a different diet, so she started a weekly meal planner for her whole family. She made a Mediterranean meal plan and a vegetarian meal plan for the full week. This helped her make a grocery list with many of the same ingredients.
FREE Monthly Meal Planner
No more jumping up and realizing you forgot to defrost anything for dinner, no more food waste, no more staring at the pantry trying to decide what to make tonight – and then ordering in.
However, for me, I have great intentions, but, sometimes the follow through leaves a bit to be desired. I would be intimidated by the task or skills of the people doing meal plans and then decide it was too hard for me. Or I was sure I would decide I wasn’t in the mood for whatever was on the menu for that day.
Meal planning and budgeting go hand in hand, so, you might like to get your free printable Monthly Budget Worksheet to help you with your family’s budget.
Who knows what your family needs and what they will eat better than you? Who knows your grocery budget better than you and how to merge the two? Now you can meal plan on a budget! PLUS, how can you beat the fact that you can get this free meal plan. To help you plan meals.
I made you a FREE printable Monthly Meal Planner <—– Click here to get started.
If you don’t use themed meals or nights – you might want to add some in. Here are some meal plan ideas:
- 1. Meatless Monday
- 2. Children’s Favorite
- 3. Soup
- 4. Dad’s Favorite
- 5. Mom’s Favorite
- 6. Homemade Pizza
- 7. Leftovers
- 8. Taco Tuesday
- 9. Comfort Food
Shop your pantry, stockpile, and freezer to see what you have already. Then write down the major ingredients you have on hand. This will help make your own meal plan.
Foods To Have On Hand:
- Whole Grains
- Fresh Fruit
- Lean Proteins
- Olive Oil
- Colorful Vegetables
- Leafy Greens
- Roast Chicken
- Ground Beef
If you have many things and can’t see how to make a meal out of them or come up with any dinner ideas, go to allrecipes.com, type in what you have, and see what recipes come up. Pick recipes from those items and place them in your slots for your next meal. This is also a good idea to save yourself from grocery shopping.
Note: It’s okay to need one or two things to complete a recipe – but not five or six. The goal is to shop from your stockpile – the place where you bought everything at rock-bottom prices.
Now you’re ready to make your shopping list of the ingredients you need to purchase for your trip to the grocery store. Watch circular/specials offers/etc. For these items and buy on sale (and with coupons), if possible.
Place your Monthly Meal Planner in a highly visible place so everyone in the family will see it. You can also use it for a meal plan for weekly menus if that is more convenient for you. This free weekly meal plan template is super easy to use, will save time, and is customizable to fit your family’s needs.
You can interchange different recipes for different days. If breakfast for dinner is on Week 3 – but you’ve had a busy week and want to move it to the first week – do it. If you want to cook like a banshee for five days and take the last two off – do it.
Discipline yourself to only buy “rock-bottom” priced items for the rest of the month because you don’t “need” to buy anything.
Remember, you have a full plan in place – enjoy the peace of mind and less hectic 5:00 scramble because you now have a plan.
In the end what you can take away from this – besides a FREE Monthly Meal Plan, is the fact that a meal plan is as personal as creating a coupon organizing system – you need to do what works for you. You can also make a meal plan for snack ideas and morning snacks.
The big BUT here is that you have to do it if you want to take hold of your grocery money and spend it more wisely and save your sanity in the evenings. 🙂
Let us know your favorite way of organizing meals for your family in the comments below.