How to best meal plan properly and effectively so it works is possible for you! I’ll share my 4 simple step by step instructions how to meal plan properly so you can actually stick to it! This meal planning will save you grocery money, time and energy.
I used to make meal plans for a week or two or even a month, but I never seemed to be able to stick to the meal plan. I’d end of throwing it out and wondering what was wrong with me. Can you relate?
Then I discovered this meal planning trick! I’ll show you how, it’s so easy, I’m sure it will work for you too!
Wonder why meal plans don’t work?
I did too! Then I discovered an easy way to make a meal plan that works for me and my family, and it’ll work for you too! Even if it’s a meal plan for one person or a meal plan for a family, it works.
It’s super easy and you can even use my method for making a weekly meal plan to a monthly meal plan!
The most incredible thing is that it’s saved me so much time and stress! And who couldn’t use this?
Creating a meal plan that we actually stick with has saved us a lot of money. Our grocery budget has been cut in half! I attribute a big part of this to having a meal plan, and in turn a working grocery list.
Read more about how we cut our grocery budget in half here.
Does meal planning save money?
Yes! Meal planning can save you so much money, but it has to be something that’s filled with meals you’ll actually use and make. No complicated coupon cutting needed, no waiting for bulk sales. It’s super easy and will work for you. This is my very basic, 4 step by step instructions on how to start menu planning for beginners. Even if your an advanced cook it will still work like a charm!
Simple meal planning step by step instructions for beginners or busy persons
- Make a list of all the meals you make on a regular basis.
- Categorize the meals into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Not days in the next week or two you need the super quick meals.
- Plug these meals into a 1-2 week rotational meal plan.
4 Step by Steps on how to create a meal plan that you’ll actually stick to!
Here’s how to best meal plan using my simple trick to creating a weekly or even monthly meal plan that you’ll actually be able to stick with because they will work for you!
1. Grab a pice of paper and start brainstorming a list of all the meals you eat on a regular basis, your go to’s.
The meals you and your family enjoy eating on a regular basis. Don’t worry about any particular order, that will come later. For now you just want to jot down all the meals that come to mind.
The key is it’s the meals you actually cook & eat regally. Not what you want to be eating or think you should be eating more of! This will come in time.
Once you’ve written down all you can think of.
2. Take a minute to categorize the meals you just listed into breakfast, lunch, dinner.
If you can’t think of meal ideas?
If you don’t think you have enough meals for at least one week of meal planning. Put your list on the fridge and add to it throughout the week. Note of any meals you cooked that week that were simple for you and you want to put into your weekly meal rotation.
Do this until you feel you have enough to do a week to two weeks of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Don’t worry you’re not alone if you’re having a hard time thinking of ideas. We’ve all gotten stuck in a food rut before.
This was me. So once I had a good list of our easy usual meals. I sat down with it, added anything else we typically eat.
Then separate the food items into 3 categories: breakfast, lunch, supper. (If you didn’t already do this.)
Moving the ideas into a weekly meal plan that will work for you.
3. Next I plugged these into a 2 week meal plan rotation.
Grab my FREE Weekly Meal Planning Template printable by clicking here.
Pay attention to how your life usually flows: the days we need easier meals, leftovers for lunches, etc.
Take a look at your calendar and put an X in the corner on the days you’ll need a super quick easy meal or just need to get takeout.
4. That’s it! Now you know how to easily create meal plans that you’ll stick with!
Make this a Rotational Monthly Meal Plan
I found making a 2 week rotation, though boring, helped me get into the habit of following a meal plan. And let’s be honest, most of us make the same meals over and over again anyways.
I liked the predictability of knowing what we’d be eating for breakfast. Monday lunches were always leftovers, Thursdays were soup night, etc.
To grab my easy two week plant based meal plans, click here. I even include when to feed a starter for sourdough bread in the notes.
How to easily meal plan for the whole month
Have you ever wondered how do I meal plan for a week or month?
Now you know, following these 4 steps makes it very doable to make a monthly meal plan!
As you use your easy meal plan you can add notes or meal ideas to a list on the fridge or right on your meal plans. This is how I added more variety for the next time rotation. It didn’t take long before I had a variety filled monthly meal plan that I actually stuck to!
Thats why I included a daily place for any notes you want to make. I like to write down notes for any prep work I want to do ahead of time, new menu ideas, or event reminders if it’s a busy day.
5. If you have enough meals on your list go ahead and make a 3 or 4 week rotation.
Benefits of following an easy meal plan that work for you!
Meal plans are worth it as using my 4 meal planning steps will save you money, time and energy.
If you’re wondering how to meal plan on a budget?
The answer is found in asking: how do I make weekly meal plans properly and stick to them?
It was incredible how much grocery money we saved following a meal plan that worked for us!
No longer is grocery money wasted as you wonder the aisles of the grocery store wondering what you should cook this week. Ending up buying random extra grocery items telling yourself that you’ll make a meal with them for sure. Only to have food go bad in the fridge as you fall back on your easy and quick go to once again. More pasta anyone?
Making a grocery list with virtually no waste was now so simple. You just have to look ahead at the next week or two or month and make a grocery list based on it.
I was able to make a grocery list off of the next couple weeks, keep food stocked for the month even. No more running out to the grocery store to grab something last minute or having to ditch the meal plan for pasta, again.
I felt ahead & prepared. You will too!
How to cook from home consistently without feeling stressed
Follow my 4 simple steps to make meal plans that works for you.
So much stress it taken out of cooking from scratch with a meal plan that is tailored to your life and family’s needs. Cooking from scratch or not, you’ll find the stress of wondering what we’re eating tonight disappear.
The key is this: I filled my meal plan with easy meals I was already using as my go to’s as a busy mom. My meal plan was not filled with meals I thought we should be eating.
Meal planning gives you flexibility and lend to creativity
You can be flexible & grow in your culinary skills!
You will surprise yourself with the confidence, flexibility and creativity that comes with creating a simple meal plan that works for you and is a one you can stick to.
Having a simple meal plan that worked consistently allowed me to easily swap menu ideas around if I needed last minute. I already had all the ingredients because I grocery shopped off my meal plan!
It also gave me the confidence and time in the kitchen to branch out and try new recipes. I’ve loved expanding my experience with baking ancient grain sourdough bread.
Keep it simple, only try one new recipe a month to start with.
Meal plans ensure more healthy variety in your diet
Making meal plans allows for you to see any gaps in your diet. Perhaps you’re eating pasta a lot more than you realized or eating the same thing for breakfast day in and day out.
This kind of meal planning helps one identify the nutrient gaps and redundancies in your diet.
Even though I started with the meals we were already eating regularly I still was able to add slight variations by rotating them. Or for example, breakfast I’d pencil in different fruits for different days to give a tiny bit more variety with our regular breakfast of oatmeal.
Over time I was able to come up with other easy healthy meals as our go too’s. Our meal plan grew in variety and the nutrient gaps and redundancies lessened.
I’m sure you’ll find this too!
Do you stick to your meal plan?
Do you use a meal plan? What kind of struggles have you had and what have you found that helps? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.
FREE Meal Plan Printable’s
Check out more of my posts on how to save money and eat healthy
How to Cut Your Grocery Budget In Half, even without a garden!