How to Meal Plan by the Month

Today, we’re sharing how easy it is to meal plan by the month.

Now, I know there’s a chance I’ve lost some of you at the words “meal plan” and others of you at the word “month” because it might seem overwhelming at first.

But stick with me, I promise it’s worth it ?

Making Time to Meal Plan During Busy Seasons

Recently, my accountability partner and I were discussing how we take extra time on Sunday to plan out the week. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while now and it really helps to keep us organized.

During that conversation, she mentioned she meal plans by the week. But when I brought up how easy to was to meal plan by the month, she decided to give it a try too.

Truthfully, we used to dread grocery shopping until we started meal planning. I’m talking we would rather clean toilets than have to grocery shop – it was that bad.

But everything changed once we found a system that worked!

Monthly meal planning works best if you know your family’s schedule in advance. That said, this meal planning system will still work even if your plans change along the way.

As I mentioned above, we usually sit down on the same day each week to write out a grocery list based on the meal plan list. It really makes grocery shopping easier which feels like a win-win!

In the past, we used a weekly calendar to keep track of our menu ideas. Once we switched to a monthly meal planning list though we haven’t looked back.

Here’s a look at 5 simple steps to help you meal plan by the month…

Step #1 – Fill in your list or calendar with all the activities your family will be celebrating.

For example, birthdays, anniversaries, sleepovers, or fun food holidays like Fat Tuesday or Super Bowl Sunday. That way, you can make the menu special for that day.

Step #2 – Assign each day of the week a different food group or category.

For example:

  • Monday – Meatless, Sheet Pan, or One-Pot Meal
  • Tuesday – Cultural Cuisine
  • Wednesday – Hearty Salad
  • Thursday – Soup, Chowder, Stew or Chili
  • Friday – Pizza, Burgers, or Charcuterie Boards
  • Saturday – Dinner Out/Leftovers, Grill or Seafood
  • Sunday – Family Favorites / Try Something New / Sunday Supper

Step #3 – Add your tried and true recipes to the monthly meal planning list.

These will be menu items you currently make that are family favorites or meals that are quick and easy.

Step #4- Fill in any empty dates with new recipes or meals you’ve been wanting to try.

This may be hard for picky eaters but it’s good for us to try new experiences and break out of our comfort zone, right?

Step #5 – Once you have all the days of the month filled out, make a grocery list based on the way you shop (weekly, biweekly, or monthly).

This is also a great time to consider what you’ll be having for breakfast each morning and the supplies you may need for packing lunches and snacks.

That way everything will be down on the same list!

Bonus Tip:

I know there are sometimes you probably won’t follow the monthly meal planning list exactly because unexpected events come up and life can get a little bananas.

When and/if that happens just move whatever menu item you were going to have on the day you miss to the following month and you’ll already be ahead of the game!

We like using the monthly meal planning list so much, we made a few for you to try out too, or feel free to just use a piece of notebook paper…

goats

crowns

and flowers…

Keep in mind, we share our weekly menu *almost* every Friday on our From the Front Porch posts and via Pinterest.

We definitely want to make things as easy as possible for you because we know life gets hectic. So in addition, we’ve decided to offer our monthly menu to subscribers as well and I’ll be sharing all the details soon.

Do you have any favorite meal planning tips or tricks? We’d love to hear about them!

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Other Organization Posts to Enjoy:

Many blessings,

CoCo

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16 Comments

  1. I tried the one you and your sisters suggested last year and it works really well. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me to plan for a few extra meals and I could have had the entire month. This is a great hack, Sarah

    1. I am right there with you Sarah, I was doing the same thing ha ha! So glad this is working for you now. It really does make grocery shopping and weekly planning so much easier. Hugs, CoCo

  2. Wow CoCo – this is completely different than how we meal plan. Thanks for opening our eyes to a different way of doing things.! Wish we could bump into each other in the grocery store…or better yet, share a fun meal together. Especially that lobster pot pie LOL. Big hugs.

    1. ha ha I could organize the list and shop for the ingredients and you could make the meals! We would be eating like Kings every night 🙂

  3. This is such a great way to save both time and money. I regularly plan by the week but will definitely have to consider a month long plan!

    1. It definitely helps us save time, Heidi! Especially, since you only have to chose 4 meals from each category. Plus, it’s always fun to celebrate food holidays too. February has a lot of good ones 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

  4. I used to do such a good job planning our meals for the month, but I just got away from it. Thank you so much for the inspiration CoCo. I loved your tips and am going to try to get back to being more organized, starting with this. I would love to share this on my weekly blog post tomorrow.

    1. So sorry, I’m late in responding to this Kim! I took the weekend off to hang out with my family and cheer on one of the littles at the soccer field. I’m not great in the kitchen at all but I do appreciate having a game plan and this has definitely helped us cut down on eating out and creating healthier meals at home too 🙂 Sending you lots of hugs, CoCo PS: You’re more than welcome to share anything you want any time. I’m just honored to be in your orbit 🙂

  5. I do something very similar and it works great, especially now with using grocery pick-up once a month. Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ’s.

    1. That is so awesome Ann! I would LOVE to be able to use a grocery store pick up service too. We live pretty far out of town and our stores don’t offer it just yet so it’s not an option but I love hearing how helpful it is for others so I can pass it along. I mean, anything that makes our lives easier is totally worth it in my book 🙂 Hugs, CoCo

  6. Great system! I am one that dreads meal planning, but then when I actually do it, I love it! I even enjoy the process of sitting down and doing the planning. I guess the rebellious spirit in me just doesn’t want to do it for some reason!

    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend! I can totally relate to not wanting to sit down and plan meals sometimes. We used to go from day to day or week to week for the longest time. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve been looking for simple ways to cut down on daily decision fatigue and meal planning definitely helps 🙂 Hope your week has been a happy one, CoCo

  7. Such a great concept CoCo! I love your planning pages, too – so thoughtful of you to make them in different styles – I love the flower ones! Thanks for the great tips, and Happy Saturday!

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara! We’re constantly looking for things like are simple to implement that will help make our lives easier. Hope it will make things easier for you and your family too. Hugs for a happy week, CoCo

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