When I posted before on how I meal plan to save time and eat better, I could tell that it was very overwhelming. I use some templates to execute these tasks, and I decided to make some for all of you! They aren’t fancy or revolutionary, but they will save you 15 minutes in making your own! Click on the links below to download my monthly meal planning calendar and weekly meal planning calendar with shopping list.
Here’s how to use them:
- Print a big stack of each so you don’t have to do this every week
- Date the monthly and weekly calendars (AKA write in the numbers, name the week span for your weekly)
- Start by filling in the monthly calendar with anything that is on your social calendar (this will help you to know when NOT to plan a meal)
- Decide how many meals per week you will plan. I plan 5, which is to assume that twice per week we will eat out or eat leftovers. This is VERY ambitious, by the way. Maybe start with three days.
- Get out your cookbooks, your laptop, or whatever helps you to find recipes for meals you like, and start filling them in. Remember my tips about using up ingredients, shopping in season produce, and mixing up your meals and proteins. [I also like to do one meatless day – I would eat meat-free every day if it were just me, but Josh likes meat and I could use the protein – but we do a meatless day to save money]
- As you write the meal on your monthly calendar, also fill in the weekly calendar. I write the page number and cookbook reference on the weekly calendar, as this is what I’ll be working from when it comes time to cook. For example, I might write “RS 226” for a recipe from Real Simple magazine, or “BC 158” for a recipe from page 158 of my Barefoot Contessa cookbook. If you use too many cookbooks in a month this will get really confusing. 🙂
- When you choose a meal, have written it on your monthly and weekly calendars, stop right then and write out all of the ingredients you will need to buy on the weekly shopping list portion. See my previous post for information on stocking staple items.
- Put the month calendar in front of your weekly calendars in a binder or notebook (or stack. Whatever works for you). When the week starts, grab the page for that week and take it to the store. You’re all ready to go! Easy.