Are you looking for a way to:
- save money on groceries
- eat healthier
- spend less time thinking on what to eat
- not go to the supermarket too often in times of quarantine
Then meal planning, preferably on a monthly basis, is THE solution. It takes a little bit of time at the start to set up, but a monthly easy meal planning system will save you so much time and money.
In this post you will find the 3 easy steps so you can start your meal planning in no time and get a list of 40 meals for your inspiration.
Step 1. Make your go-to meal list
Make a list of the meals you often cook/eat, so you will create a database of meals to choose from when you are planning your meals.
If you don’t cook very often now or need inspiration for your list of meals, you can download the file I made with 40 recipe ideas in different categories.
I recommend writing down the (main) ingredients of your recipes as well. You could set up a text document or sheet as your running recipe database or write it down in a notebook.
Usually, I separate my meals on their ‘base’: rice, pasta, potatoes or tortillas/bread. You could also divide by chicken/beef/pork/vegetarian for example or vegetables, whatever suits your situation best.
Step 2. Plan your meals
Now that you have a list of recipes, it’s time to schedule your meals. You can plan your meals on a weekly basis, but I would recommend scheduling your whole month.
That way it’s less likely that you’ll skip a week and you don’t have to set aside time every week for meal planning.
You can put the meals in your digital calendar or write it down on a dedicated meal plan sheet.
I’ve made a printable sheet for you where you can put down your meals for a whole month. Get it via one of the forms on this page.
Step 3. Make your grocery shopping list
Now that you know what you’re going to eat the rest of the month, you can write down your grocery shopping list with all the exact ingredients you will need for your meals.
Hopefully, you added the main ingredients of each recipe in step 1 in your recipe database or included a link to the website where you can find the recipe.
That way you can transfer the ingredients from your database to your grocery list.
Your grocery shopping list will probably be longer than usual. However, it also means that you don’t have to go to the supermarket as often as you used to go, which saves you both money and time.
I’m a big fan of fresh vegetables, but they will, of course, perish over the course of a month. However, most vegetables can be frozen. If you buy fresh bags of mixed vegetables, they are ideal for putting in the freezer.
A lot of supermarkets offer online shopping and home delivery nowadays – which makes it even easier to do groceries in bulk and is ideal for easy meal planning. For example, Instacart in the US.
Let’s get started with meal planning
Set aside 1-2 hours to create your own recipe database. Get a quick start with my list of meal ideas that you can download via the form on the right.
Then schedule your meals for the coming month. You can write them down in the monthly planner that you will receive with the meal ideas list.
Now it’s time to do some bulk groceries, either in the physical store or online if your supermarket offers that.
That’s all for easy meal planning!
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