Today, I want to share with you how easy it is to meal plan by the month.
Now, I know I’ve already lost some of you at the words “meal plan” and others of you at the word “month” but stick with me, you guys, I promise it’s worth it.
I completely understand how overwhelming it can be to try and plan a week’s worth of meals much less a month’s worth of meals when you have a crazy busy family life.
That being said, it’s almost equally as overwhelming trying to decide what you’re going to have for dinner each night after a long day, you know? Especially, if you’re having to come up with said meal plan in the grocery store while aimlessly wandering the aisles searching for “food inspiration.”
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 when we found a system that worked! I’m excited to share we’ve been consistently planning meals for well over a year now and it’s made a huge difference.
Monthly meal planning works best if you know your family’s schedule in advance but that doesn’t mean it won’t work if you or your family’s schedule changes from week to week. We usually sit down on the same day each week to write out a grocery list based on the meal plan list which makes grocery shopping so much easier.
In the past, we’ve used a monthly calendar to keep track of all our menu ideas, but we recently switched to a monthly meal planning list and we love it!
Here are 5 simple steps to get you started on meal planning for the entire month…
Step #1 – Fill in your 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 so 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
Tuesday – Ethnic
Wednesday – Salad
Thursday – Fish or Shrimp
Friday – Soup, Chowder, Chili or Pizza
Saturday – Dinner Out
Sunday – Southern Favorites or Try Something New
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 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 or the supplies you may need for packing lunches and snacks, so you can get everything 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 will 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…
Do you have any favorite meal planning tips or tricks? We’d love to hear about them!