One of the things that I faithfully do for my household each week is to create a meal plan. It really saves me so much time, energy and money on feeding my family, that I would be lost without it.
If you are feeling frazzled every night at dinner time, want to save money on your family’s food budget and want to eat more healthfully, then you definitely need to learn how to meal plan! I’ve got all my best tips here to help you get started with your own meal plans.
I created a short video, in which I walk you through the steps needed to create a meal plan:
Here are the steps I mention in the video:
1. Check your local grocery ad to see what’s on sale
Check to see what’s on sale first, then you can plan your meals around the lowest-cost items. If you can sign up to receive the ad via email, do it today. My local store, Harris Teeter, gives special deals to people on its email list, plus I get access to special electronic coupons that others don’t.
2. Check your pantry and freezer to see what you already have on hand that you can use in meals.
If you’ve stocked up on chicken or have a few boxes of pasta in your pantry that you need to use up, you can plan a few meals around those items. There’s no sense in buying more groceries if you already have others at home.
3. Find new or favorite recipes that use the items on sale at your store or that are in your pantry/freezer.
Keep your family’s favorite recipes in a binder or recipe card organizer for reference (I also like this Homemaking Planner), or create a Pinterest board to save new favorites or recipes that you’d like to try. I have a Yummy Dishes board on Pinterest where I keep recipes that I find around the web.
4. Make a list of the meals that you want to make for the week.
I like to plan out a week’s worth of dinners, and just a few things for breakfasts and lunches. Sometimes I make a big batch of muffins or waffles on the weekend and we eat them for breakfast throughout the week. For lunches, we really like eating leftovers, but I also keep things like tuna or deli meat on hand in case we’ve eaten all our leftovers at dinnertime.
Be sure to grab this free menu planning printable so that you can keep track of all of your meals each week and post them right on your refrigerator for easy reference.
5. Look for coupons for your the items that you need at the grocery store.
Find a coupon blog that does match-ups for your local grocery store or simply look up items in my Coupon Database. Many coupons can be printed right at home from your computer, while others are available only in newspaper inserts.
6. Make your grocery list and do the shopping.
Using your list of meals and grocery ad, make a list of everything you need to make the meals you have chosen for the week, making sure to note the coupons you need to bring with you.
7. Relax and enjoy your week!
Now that you have a kitchen full of food and a plan for meals for the week, preparing meals for your family will be a snap each night!
Do you have any questions about how to meal plan that I did not answer? Leave them in a comment below!