How To Make A Simple Meal Plan
You have probably heard a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about the need to plan your meals ahead. Well, there is a wealth of truth to this. A huge reason why you should take a few minutes and plan your meals is MONEY.
It will save you hundreds of dollars every year by planning your meals ahead of time. I mean, planning them further ahead than 30 minutes before dinner is served.;)
But before we get into discussing that in more detail, let’s show you how to make a simple meal plan.
Don’t Make It Complicated
You do not need to stress yourself out doing a meal plan. Life has enough stresses in it already.
You will discover an added benefit of planning ahead. Your stress level will actually drop when you get in the habit of planning your meals. Especially in the area of your grocery budget.
Don’t make it complicated. After all, you are not planning a 12-course dinner every night. Keep it simple.
Because here at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs we are always looking for ways to EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE, we have included a free download for you. We have put together a simple fill in weekly menu planning form for you to use. So simple in fact that I just want you to plan your dinner meals right now.
The reason to just plan your dinners is—well, if your family is like mine, we are creatures of repeated habit for breakfast and lunch anyways. Admit it, this is true for your family too, isn’t it.
To make this meal planning even less complicated, do it only for 1 week at a time. Also, by doing it weekly, it will more easily become a habit for you. It is well researched that a new behavior has to be repeated several times before it becomes a new routine and habit.
So, do it weekly.
And, like myself, doing it weekly all the time might work best for you. In this way you can add in the current food items on sale. Also you are able to:
- look at the coming week
- and any expected appointments,
- scheduled sports events,
- dance classes,
- or work schedules.
Allowing you to adjust your meals as needed.
Do Some Meals Stay The Same?
If you basically eat the same things for breakfast and lunches, then that part will be simple. That is why you are not being asked to fill in breakfast and lunches for this meal planning. However, if you do often change up those meals, then you can do some menu planning for those as well.
Remember though, the idea is to keep this simple. So, for now, you should only concentrate only on filling in the 7 dinner meals in your week.
Now, if you and your family are also creatures of habit at dinner too, then mark those in. For instance, perhaps you always have fish on Fridays, pizza on Saturday. Then fill in those spots on the menu.
Factors To Consider
When you are making a simple meal plan there are few things to keep in mind.
- What foods do you already have on hand in the cupboard?
- Look in the fridge and freezer. What is there?
- Can you make meals from what you already have in the house? If so, how many meals?
- If not, what extra ingredients would you need to buy? Start a grocery shopping list.
- Are any of those extra ingredients on sale this week? (How To Make Your Own Frugal Friday Flyer)
- How complicated are the meals you could make with the ingredients you have?
- Can any of these meals be made in a kitchen appliance such as a slow cooker? Have it make dinner for you. All you have to do is grab plates and utensils, dish it up and eat.
In this way you can make the fast grab dinners on those busy nights.
Need To Grocery Shop?
If there are some items you need to pick up at the grocery store so you can make complete meals, consider what is on sale that week. Perhaps if you change your original ideas up just a little, you can substitute an item on sale and make a meal. Thereby spending less money, which saves you money, and still puts real food on your table.
Don’t forget that as certain fruits and vegetables come into their season of harvest, they generally become cheaper. So learn to eat things in season. Not only will this save you money, simplify your meal planning, but will also add variety to your meals.
Meal Planning Made Simple
There you have it—how to make a simple meal plan.
- Use the free weekly menu planning sheet.
- Don’t make it complicated.
- Do it weekly.
- What do you already have for food items in the house?
- Make a list of the few items you need to buy.
- What is on sale? What is in season?
- Can you make items such as the slow cooker or Instant Pot do the cooking for you?
- Do you have meals that repeat every week such as Pizza night?
- Is there a crazy busy night in your week? Make that the simple dinner night—whether it is a slow cooker meal, salad and cold cuts night, beans and wieners, but keep that night simple!
Be EMPOWERED today by knowing what you and your family will be eating for dinner the next week.