A step-by-step guide on how to create a weekly meal plan that will save you time and money, plus plenty of products to help make this process super easy!
Each week I plan my meals for the following week, this is called meal or menu planning. Some think it’s not worth it, but it really is a simple task that takes 5-10 minutes to plan one week of meals. The money and time that these five minutes save me throughout my week, makes it well worth the effort.
How to use a meal planner
Create your meal plan at the same time you create your shopping list. This will allow you to check what you’ve already got in the cupboard and purchase all the extra things you need (saving you from those bothersome mid-week supermarket trips).
When the next week starts, simply wipe your old weekly meal plan clean and start fresh with another well-planned and organised week of dinners.
How to plan meals
- Nearly every family has after school activities during the week. Organise your menu around the activities knowing you can start dinner throughout the day to have it ready in time when you get home (I love my slow cooker), or perhaps an easy meal is required on these nights.
- Glance through your fridge and pantry. Are there any food that may need to be cooked soon?
- Have a look through the grocery junk mail and plan your meals around the meat and veg that are on special, this will help reduce your grocery bill.
- Perhaps you may cook up a double batch and have left overs the next day. Don’t forget to include this in your planner.
- Now complete the planner with meals you would like to cook. Don’t forget you can get some great meal ideas HERE from my blog. I post my week of meals each Monday.
- Next write your grocery list, then you’re ready to hit the grocery store! Alternatively you can order your groceries for delivery or pick up. Check out my Online Grocery Shopping Tips To Save Time and Money.
- To speed up your grocery shopping even more so, you can use my adorable Confetti Shopping List Notepad. The list is cleverly designed into easy-to-understand categories that will prevent you running up and down the supermarket aisles.
Benefits of Meal Planning
Saves time – By creating a grocery list from your meal plan you will purchase only food required for the week, and therefore minimise the need for mid-week quick trips to the store.
Saves money – By sticking to a plan and grocery list, you will resist impulse spending. Look at the current local grocery catalogue and organise your meals and snacks around the items on special for the week. Planning will also eliminate the desire to buy takeaway.
Eliminates waste – By glancing in the fridge/pantry and planning to use unused or left over food you are eliminating waste and again saving money. For example, lettuce can be used with tacos this week or pasta packets in the pantry can be a side dish to some fish.
Create healthy meals – Planning menus for the week will allow you to choose a variety of food options. You can ensure you are eating enough fish and red meat, not having too much pasta and eating plenty of vegetables.
Favourite meals – Remember to include family favourites as you know your children will be happy and more likely to eat for you.
Cook in bulk – If you know you are going to be busy one particular night, prepare a meal the night before that could be stretched into two meals. For example, savoury mince with potato and vegetables for dinner one night, and easy mince triangles, spaghetti bolognese or mince on toast the next night.
Lower your frustrations – How many times have you stepped in front of the fridge and felt frustrated when considering what’s for dinner? By having it planned and all ingredients purchased, you will make your whole evening run smoother.
Reuse meal plans – Once you have menus planned for a few weeks you can start re-using your plans so you don’t have to keep thinking of new ideas.
Busy afternoons – By planning your meals around your afternoon activities (slow cookers are perfect for these days) you are more likely not to eat out knowing you have dinner at home… saving you even more money and helping you choose healthier option.
Helpers – Place your menu on the fridge. If you’re late home from work, still out at sporting activities or at work, hubby can make a start on dinner for you – he has no excuses!