When do you plan your meals for the week? I go back and forth between Saturdays and Mondays but it happens one of those days for sure – preferably before I go grocery shopping haha.
Recently I’ve been trying to plan for at least two weeks at a time. I’ve found that it definitely saves me money when I do a bigger shopping trip every other week instead of each week. Maybe some day I’ll get it down to just once a month . . . but I’m not that good yet!
To simplify things, I keep breakfasts, lunches, and snacks pretty much the same every week. That makes it easy as I already know what I need to add to my grocery list for those meals and just have to focus my time on coming up with dinner ideas.
If you’re curious, here are what our regular options for breakfast/lunch/snacks look like:
Breakfast: cold cereal, oatmeal, homemade granola, or eggs.
Lunch: generally sandwiches, quesadillas, leftovers, or easy, healthy options like beans and rice or salad with chicken.
Snacks: I always try to at least have apples in the house because I cut up one or two for the kids every single day. We generally have a few other snack options in the pantry but I try to avoid many snacks in general because then the kids don’t want much for their actual meals. 😉
I don’t have any earth-shattering advice for meal planning and making a grocery list, but here’s what I like to do.
- Check in my fridge/freezer/pantry for what I already have.
This is important because first of all, I have a tiny freezer so we need to eat up what we have in order to make room for more! But also, it obviously saves money not to be starting from scratch each week. It makes common sense to use what you already have!
- Make a list of meals using what I already have as a starting point.
Sometimes I totally draw a blank when I’m trying to come up with meals. (Anyone else?) I’ve recently made two new boards on Pinterest – one of favorite recipes (recipes I’ve actually tried haha!) and one of recipes to try soon.
I also love to use my recipe binder. It’s nothing fancy but the system I use works great! I’ll be sharing a little about it in my Instagram stories this week. If you’re not on Instagram but you’re curious to learn more leave me a comment and I’ll share more about my recipe binder either in the comments or in a new blog post.
- Make a grocery list!
I like dividing my grocery list up into categories because it makes it easier for me to think through what I need. Want the same list I used in the picture above? You can grab it here – just subscribe to my email list and a PDF will be sent to your inbox right away! (All ready a subscriber? I’ll be sending your copy out in my next email!)
Note: the PDF version of my list DOES have dairy spelled correctly, unlike my picture. Ha! Thanks to a friend for pointing out the error. I’m going to claim mom brain on this one.
How do you plan for your meals and grocery shopping? Once a week? Less often? I’m always tweaking my system so I’d love to hear what you do that works for you! 🙂