I find meal planning and grocery shopping overwhelming and very time consuming. In my effort to get organized, I’ve figured out a way to reduce the stress of getting hot meals on the table. My new system should help keep grocery bills under control (less trips to the store, less $ spent) and reduce eating out! I decided that I would plan two weeks of meals at a time. I will only do major grocery shopping every two weeks. I know there are those of you out there that can shop once per month, but I’m just not there yet!
I have created a “Meal Planner” worksheet to help plan and organize the meals I will prepare. This worksheet lists days, dates, and activities. Then, it has a spot for me to write-in my plans for lunch, dinner, and sides. Although there is a column for lunches, I have not started planning lunches yet. At the bottom of the worksheet, I have two extra spaces. The first is to list any ideas I have for the next two week cycle and the second is to jot down any lunch ideas.
Here are the steps I follow to plan my 2 weeks of meals …
1.) I prep my “Meal Planner” worksheet for the next 2 week cycle. I update my dates and type in any notes or activities we have going on. Then, I print it.
2.) I review my freezer / fridge inventory (see a previous post) to see if there are ingredients I need to use up. Also, by reviewing this list, I will see if I have any meals frozen that I can eat in the next 2 weeks.
3. ) I pull out my cookbooks, printed Pinterest recipes, magazine recipes, etc. I also have my laptop nearby, so I can look up recipes (usually on allrecipes.com).
4.) I flip through all my recipes and pull out the meals that Iwant to eat, keeping in mind any ingredients I already have. If I don’t find a recipe to use up my ingredients, I search for recipes online.
5.) I determine how many meals each recipe will make. Many of my recipes make way too much food for my family, so I can freeze a second meal for the future! Or, I can eat the same meal twice.
6.) I jot down the meals I have chosen on my “Meal Planner” worksheet.
7.) Then, I prepare my grocery list. I WILL BE POSTING “GROCERY SHOPPING MADE EASY” very soon. Stay tunned!.
Every other week I follow this schedule …
Tuesday = take inventory of fridge and freezer (and pantry)
Wednesday = Prepare 2 week meal plan and write grocery list
Thursday & Friday = grocery shop (you will notice that my 2 week meal rotation begins on a Saturday, so if I grocery shop on Thursday and Friday, I’ll have all the ingredients I need by Saturday).
That’s it! Now I have all my meals planned for the next two weeks! I have done this once so far, and it worked out so great for me!
Click here to see the printable I found on Pinterest that inspired my “Meal Planner” worksheet.