Once you get in the habit of weekly meal planning, you’ll never go back. Once a week (usually Saturdays) I sit down and write out what we will have for dinner every night the coming week. As of right now I only plan dinners because we usually have enough leftovers and random stuff for lunch. I imagine as my little gal gets older, I’ll have to start doing some lunch planning as well. But for now, dinner is all we need to do.
Meal planning DOES take a little work on the front end, but it really does pay off throughout the week.
I like knowing what’s for dinner that night. Days get busy and all of the sudden it’s 5:00 p.m. and nothing is on the stove. On the weeks that I don’t meal plan, we end up eating something random and unhealthy or we end up eating out.
I like making ONE trip to the grocery store a week. It keeps us from buying unnecessary items or buying foods that will go bad because we didn’t end up eating them in time.
Meal planning helps us eat healthier. Because meals have been planned and ingredients already purchased, we rarely end up doing take out or fast food. I also like that I can plan for a variety of veggies and fruit throughout the week.
I’ve found a few resources to be really helpful when it comes to meal planning. Rachel has quite a few posts that lay out their menu plans for the week. I find it helpful to see another person’s menu plans in order to make my own. I also like that she has linked her meals to her recipes.
I also stumbled on this free printable menu planner from Seven Thirty Three. I printed off a lot of them! I really like how this one has a grocery list on the side. Since I hang up our menu plan on the fridge, my husband and I jot things down as we run out. It’s been a pretty good system for us.
I have also found Pinterest to be really helpful in meal planning. It gives me new ideas as well as the link back to the recipe.
We don’t 100% stick to our plan every week but for the most part, the system works for us. It really is worth those 30-45 minutes on a Saturday! Make sure to check out some of Rachel’s menus plans from past weeks. Hope you find them as helpful as I do!