Meal planning is a huge money & time saver… in theory. I try to meal plan when I find the time and it does make life easier. I am better organized, buy fewer groceries and spend less time trying to figure out what to cook for my family each night. Doing it weekly just made sense to me… I grocery shop weekly, so shouldn’t I meal plan weekly too? The trouble for me is finding time to meal plan weekly.
Maybe I’m not as organization or scheduled as some women out there, but I just could not get on a schedule for weekly meal planning. Some weeks I did it on the weekends. Some weeks I did it during the week. By the time we needed groceries in the house each week, odds were that I hadn’t even had a chance to meal plan yet that week.
I decided to something new – monthly meal planning. If I could plan meals for the whole month in the time it would take me to typically plan out a week’s meal plan, this could only mean good things for me! With a monthly meal plan, I could plan some of my family’s favorite meals multiple times during the month which meant less planning for me. It was pretty amazing how quickly the month’s calendar filled up when I planned to cook a few meals twice during the month. I was shocked to realize that scheduling a month’s worth of meals really didn’t take any longer than I used to spend looking for meals to fill 1 week. In fact, it took me only 30 minutes to plan out this month!
How to Meal Plan for the Month in 30 Minutes
- Print out a blank calendar or use a handy app like Google Calendar (simply create a new calendar if you already use Google Calendars and it’ll show up as a new colored event on your everyday calendar. Below you’ll see my Meal Plan Calendar that I created in Google Calendar.
- Enter any re-occurring weekly events, like family dinners, kids activities or classes that may affect dinner on specific nights. Schedule what you’ll do for dinner that night: another family member cooks, take-out, drive-thru, etc.
- If your family eats out, choose which days you’ll eat out that month.
- Choose 3 or 4 of your family’s favorite meals and enter them at least twice on the calendar.
- Search through your favorite sources for recipes: Pinterest (this is my favorite!), web sites, magazines, cookbooks, etc. As you find meals you’d like to cook, enter them on a day on the calendar.
- Quickly make a note of the ingredients you’ll need to pick up each week at the store that you don’t normally keep in your pantry, freezer or fridge. I just keep a hand-written list organized by week. Then you can quickly glance at your list when you prepare your shopping list each week.
- Make note on your calendar of where you found each of the recipe so you can easily get to it when it’s time to cook. In my calendar, I included the Pinterest link in the “Description” area of each meal/event so that I can easily pull up the Pin on my phone.
That’s it! You’ll be amazing how fast this goes, especially if you already have some recipes you’d like to try pinned on a board in Pinterest or marked in your favorite cookbook or magazine.
Click on any of my meals below to link to the recipe for yourself! Be sure to bookmark this post and come back each month to see my Meal Plan for the month!
Let us know how this method works for you or if you have another way to meal plan by commenting below! Oh and share any great recipes you have too!
Image Credit: blog.togethercounts.com
Want more useful tips like this?
Subscribe and get my FREE e-Book!
The Top 10 Most Popular Posts from the Past Year
Get simple tips & tricks to better manage your home including real food recipes, kids & family fun, thrifty living, natural living, hacks for your home and more!