Meal planning is important to saving time and money in the kitchen each week! With just a little planning on the weekend, you can have a week’s worth of meals ready to go and have more time to spend with your family.
Here’s 7 Easy Tips to Create A Meal Plan each week! PLUS a FREE Meal Plan Printable to help make your planning easier and fun!
1. Write it down! Grab a pen, paper and your meal plan printable sheet to sit down to schedule your meals for the week. I like to do this on Saturday or Sunday so that I can be ready for the weeknights. I usually plan to have enough meals for at least 4-5 nights of the week. The other nights we will plan to have leftovers or something easy like sandwiches. And we plan to eat out one night a week for fun!
2. Take Inventory. Start by taking a mental or paper inventory of what you have on hand in your pantry, fridge and freezer. What do you currently have that you can make a meal with or can add to make a meal? This will save you time and money when planning out your meal plan for the week!
3. Check Your Calendar. Next, look at your calendar for the week, take note of what nights you’ll be busy with after school activities or other commitments. Mark those nights on your meal plan. Make sure that you plan easier meals for those nights and plan more involved recipes on nights you have a little more time to prepare them.
4. Plan Your Meals. On the nights you’re busy, plan ahead and use your slow cooker for something easy and delicious like Italian Beef Sandwiches or Taco Soup. You could also pick up a meal from the deli – a rotisserie chicken or a take and bake pizza – add in a vegetable or salad for a delicious meal that’s quick and easy!
5. Check Store Ads and Flyers. When deciding what meals to make check the sale ads for your local grocery store and make plan your meals according to what’s on sale and what you have on hand. This is a great way to save time and money! I love not having to pick up every single ingredient for a meal because I’m using what I have on hand along with buying a few items. That’s definitely a time and money saver!
6. Write Out Your Plan. Once you decide what you’d like to make, add the meals to your meal planner and make a grocery list as you go. When you add a meal to your plan, write down what you need to pick up at the store on your grocery list. TIP: if you’re really familiar with your grocery store, make your grocery list according to location in the store. I always start at the back and work forward. This ensures I don’t forget anything and have to run back and forth in the store!
7. PREP each day! Make sure to put your meal plan where you’ll see it each day and are able to plan ahead for the next day. Take a look the night before to see if you need to thaw out any ingredients, chop vegetables or get your slow cooker ready to go! Prepping the night before will save you time when the evening gets busy.
To help you, I’m sharing my favorite FREE Weekly Meal Plan Printable that you can print out and use each week! It has a spot for your meals and your grocery list to make things easy for you! Print off a new copy each week. It will definitely help keep you on track!
Do you have tips for meal planning? Share them or link up your posts in the comments below!