To some extent, we all meal plan in some way. It might be cooking a week’s worth of meals on Sunday or it might just be going grocery shopping and thinking about what’s for dinner tonight. I am somewhere in between the two extremes. Today, I want to share my meal planning methods and why it works for me. Like many other things in my life, meal planning starts with a well-organized list. I created a template as an area to get down all of my thoughts and plans. Here is my template for each week:
Meal Planning <– (Link!)
Notice that the template is divided into 3 main parts…
- Plans. The top section is for me to plan out a general idea of what I want to eat for the week. Breakfasts and lunches are usually a few items that I can prepare quickly on my way classes. For example, I may list “Overnight oatmeal” as my breakfast for this week. I will add different fruits and nuts to those oats each day so that I’m not eating the same exact thing every morning! Lunches are usually 2 or 3 items that I can alternate between. This week I have steamed sweet potatoes, egg wraps, and tuna salads. As for dinners, I am lucky enough to live with 3 other lovely ladies who take turns cooking with me. So typically, I am responsible for cooking one meal for all of us during the week (Friday – Sunday we fend for ourselves). This week is baked tilapia, garlic green beans, and roasted potatoes.
- Lists. The next area is where I put my actual grocery list. The “Basics” section is where I put things that I buy pretty much every week; fruit, veggies, milk, yogurt, eggs, bread, etc. The next section is where I put the ingredients that I need specifically for my dinners. I like to do this because I tend not to forget any parts of my dinner this way (like any special spices). Finally, there is an area for “other” where I can put anything that doesn’t fall into the categories above. This week, I have coffee and laundry detergent listed over there.
- Prep. Finally, I have a small section on the bottom where I can write down any meal prepping that I want to do. I prefer not to cook all of my meals and separate them into individual containers or anything like that, simply because I like my meals fresh. Some examples for me would be hard boiling eggs, making tuna salad, cutting up vegetables for snacks, or making hummus. Granted, I don’t always get around to doing all of the preparation that I plan to… but hey, I try.
Here is an example week for me:
Go right ahead and download this template for your own use. Open it in Word and customize it to your own needs. Or use it as an inspiration to create your own meal planning template! Even if you are not the type of person who uses this much organization, or you simply don’t have the time to, maybe go through this process in your head on your way to the grocery store! No matter how you choose to do it, I hope this post has enhanced your meal planning skills!
Happy meal planning, may the odds be ever in your favor 😉