Meal Planning Pt. II has been a difficult post to complete! I want to make meal planning look easy and effortless but in truth, especially when you’re just starting up, it’s not. It takes a little time to get into the meal planning state of mind and start thinking ahead about your ingredients, recipe choices, and time.
I know it can be tough to take the time and organize your meals for a week but I believe that whether you live alone and shop on a tight grocery budget or are a busy family of 6 with lots of weeknight activates there is a way to make meal planning work for you! And if you need any help along the way please leave a comment or reach out via email, I would LOVE to help set up a couple of weeks of meal plans to get you started. Oh, and check out Meal Planning Part I if you haven’t already, it’s full of tips and tricks to get you started as well!
In this post I’ve outlined my meal planning method (which might not work for everyone) as well as my actual meal plan for next week with shopping list. The meal plan I’ve made is for 2 people eating 4 dinners and 4 lunches, with no plan or ingredients for breakfasts (I’ve been on a real cereal kick lately!).
OK, here we go!
My Meal Planning Method:
I usually do my meal planning on a Friday so I have my grocery list ready for whenever I end up making it to the store. I’ll quickly make note of any items that I need to use up from the week before and check the calendar to see if there are any nights I won’t be home for dinner. Then I go to the flyer of my local grocery store (most have on-line versions) and make a note of ingredients that are on special that I may want to use.
Now things get a little more complicated, you have to pick out what you want to eat for the week. Think about what kind of variety you want (if any) as well as what you already have on hand that needs to be used up. These days I primarily use my Pinterest account for my meal planning needs but from time to time I use cookbooks and other bookmarks so feel free to incorporate whatever works for you.
Since I do my planning primarily on-line I open a tab in my internet browser for each recipe – a typical week for me will have 4 dinners and from that I hope to get 4 lunches. I often try to prep a breakfast option as well – it’ll look something like this:
Once you have all the recipes laid out you can start compiling your grocery list. I try to group like ingredients together (all produce, all meats, etc. ) and if you shop in the same store all the time you may even get used to the layout of the store and incorporate that into the way you lay out your shopping list. I go through one recipe at a time in my browser and add each ingredient to its compartment on my list. That will look something like this:
Don’t forget to shop in your own kitchen first; you’ll likely have some of these ingredients hanging around!
I usual send myself an email with all the links to the recipes I want to make so I don’t have to keep going back and finding them on Pinterest. The link below is what a typical meal plan layout could look like. I wanted to try to keep this simple but still explain where ingredients are doing double duty and how you can substitute for ingredients in recipes to make them work for you.
I’ve included links to PDF versions of both the Meal Plan and the Shopping List:
Meal Plan Layout & Chicken Steamy Buns *click on the links in this document for the detailed recipe for each meal*
I hope you’ll cook along with me next week or at least find a new recipe in the meal plan that you can looking forward to trying out when you have time.
Whew, now I need a cocktail!