Monthly Meal Planning: A Guide

 

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Meal planning: my least favorite task. And with work, toting kids to school, and just life in general, my weeks seemed to be over in two days and it is time for another shopping list and grocery trip.

We used to eat out all the time. All the time! But then you have kids and that gets less convenient. Chick-Fil-A is fantastic but there is only so much chicken I can eat in a week’s time. We like to eat fairly healthy and eating out really makes that challenging and hurts the wallet.

So one day, while my 2 month old decided to give me an hour of peace and quiet, I jumped on Pinterest in search of the solution.

Just type in ‘meal planning free printable‘. Now…I have come to find that the ‘free printable’ tends to be a bait and switch. You click on all these links that say FREE but really, they are not. Thankfully some kind soul decided to cut this momma break and I was able to find lots of options that would work for me in the meal planning department!

Since we have moved into the new house and have an office and a printer hooked up(it’s the little things), I have a new-found love of printables.

Find your perfect template: You can find the one I used HERE!

This meal planning template has the right amount of space on each day and a good size shopping list on the side, though I probably won’t use that since my list will vary depending on what is in the pantry already.

Next step: All. The. Recipes. Print them off!

Go old school and go through all the tried and true recipes you love and get them on paper. If you prefer note-cards, feel free to hand write. I don’t have time for all that so I just pushed the PRINT button and-DONE!

I had a collection of about 20 recipes that I love – on my Pinterest boards of course. And then I have my go-to meals like: spaghetti, tacos, breakfast for dinner, pizza(the frozen kind or hand made), hamburgers, and chicken salad sandwiches. And I rotate those over the course of 4 weeks as well. And if your family has favorites you can throw those in on rotation, too!

So these got me up to 26 meals. Which was perfect because I leave one night a week to eat out or go on date night.

Once the recipes were printed off, I sat down and separated the beef, chicken, fish and pasta/soup recipes. I like to have a lot of variety to our meals so I try to keep a nice balance between all of these ‘food groups’ and the easy recipes too! Here are what my 4 weeks look like!

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Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

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Nothing earth shattering here! Sorry if you were under-whelmed! But if I can do it, you can too! I did make Monday night ‘Mexican night’ but other than that I basically randomly wrote down my plan with a mixture of quick meals and crock-pot dinners. And even though I have specific recipes for certain days, they are interchangeable!

I then took the recipes I had printed off and filed them with the week we were eating them. This just makes things a little more efficient for planning my shopping list. Can you tell how lazy I am- or brilliant, not sure which? Ha! As I find new recipes I want to try, I will just substitute for some of the meals that we have on a regular basis.

I would love to hear how you keep your meals from being boring and what some of your favorite recipes are! And feel free to follow me on Pinterest<—!

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