Saturday, 14 April 2012

Monthly Meal Planning

Do you meal plan? I never did, until several months ago. It has been a learning process and I’m still figuring it out but I thought I’d share how I do it. I’ve already found we spend less on food, eat less takeout, and I never have to worry about figuring out what to make. In case you don’t know, I HATE cooking!! I think anything to make it less painful is great. I’ll include lots of photos because I find this hard to explain.

To start, I draw myself a calendar for the month. Our month starts on the first weekend after the 25th because that's when we get paid. I put the date in each square.

If it’s a day when J and I are not at work I include b, l and d for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also include when we are scheduled to have the kids and anything special, like if I’m away or have late meetings.

Next, I count workday breakfasts and lunches for each of us. I put a tally of that down at the bottom of my calendar. I only plan those when the kids are over. We pick up enough cereal and bread to do for J and I for breakfasts and enough quick meals, mainly frozen, for lunch. If we end up eating leftovers for lunch, we just leave our extra frozen meals for next month.

Then I start filling in meals. I find it hard to think of things so I often look back at my past meal plans. Even though we’re not scheduled to have the kids every weekend, I try to pick kid friendly meals in case they decide to come over. The ? are because J was on his own and would take care of his own meals (frozen dinners, take out, etc). This list goes tucked away and I have a dry erase sheet on the fridge where I write the meals for the week. J’s job is to take out whatever needs to be thawed for the day.  

Next I have to start planning what to buy. I label a sheet with the different areas of the supermarket and go through my meal plan one day at a time. I write down anything we need for that meal, including condiments. I also include our breakfast and lunch foods.

Once I have the list completed, I head to the pantry. I go through what we have and cross out anything I don’t need to buy. I do the same with the fridge, freezer and deep freeze. I’ll do a post soon about how I organize and store all our food.

Because the mess annoys me, I rewrite the list. I also add any toiletries and cleaning supplies we will need during the next month, as well as any other errands I need to run. This takes about an hour from start to finish, and I usually do it with something mindless on tv in the background.

While there is shopping where we live, it is significantly cheaper to shop about an hour away from home so I take my list and J and I head out. I love shopping and he hates it, so he usually goes to a movie while I run errands and then we do the grocery shopping together.

There you have what works for me. I have to be honest that I do change my plans occasionally. I just move things around depending on my mood. Other than fresh fruit, veggies and milk, I don’t shop in between our monthly trips. Like I said before, I haven’t been doing this long but it’s saving us time, money and stress.

Shared on:
Saturday Seven @ Positively Splendid
The Saturday Spark @ Clean & Scentsible
Delightfully Inspiring Thursday Party @ Delightful Order
Organizing Made Fun


  1. Meal planning is on my brain right now - thanks so much for sharing. This is my next project!

  2. I really want to try this...I work nights, my husband HATES to have to figure out what to fix and I am too tired to think, so we eat out way more than we need or want. ...I would love to get more details on the meals "prep" you do to save time etc. Thanks so much for sharing, I look forward to seeing more on this. Lori

  3. I haven't planned my meals a month out...but this would be a great plan!



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