So meal planning is extremely close to my heart.  It is something I really enjoy doing, and it is something when I don’t do I feel incomplete.  This is the document I use for meal planning.  I created it on my computer and each week (usually Saturday or Sunday) I print one out and fill it in with all my meals and plans.  I used to use this for planning and it was quick and easy for beginners!  Bonus is it hangs on the fridge!  Some weeks are full of activities and I always make sure to include those.  Like this week we are going out of town so no meals needed Friday through Sunday.  I used to not plan snacks, but started forgetting to get anything for snack, so writing it down, even if it is just a granola bar, is quick and easy.

Meal planning’s ultimate objective is to save time and money.  By planning out everything you are able to eliminate splurge purchases that you don’t need and also eliminate unnecessary trips to the grocery store midweek after you have already put in a full day of work.  So, here are a few steps that I take to complete my meal plan every week.

I sit down with my computer and a cup of coffee and search for some new recipes. I have a pretty large arsenal of meal plans because I have been doing it for years now, but I am always looking for new recipes.  Once I have filled in dinners I designate where I found the recipe if it is a new one, and bookmark it on my computer.  I also jot down any prep that may be necessary and try to complete any of it I can on Sunday.

After dinners are completed, I just fill in any lunches that will be leftovers and then fill in breakfast and snacks.  I usually try to be realistic with breakfast.  Until my October Goals are complete, I am not getting up in time for a big, balanced breakfast.  I know this so usually its a frozen breakfast burrito (which I prep in big quantities on Sunday) or a frozen heat up Jimmy Dean on the way to work/daycare drop off.

I usually try to also to pack my husband a good lunch as well, but he usually has a premade salad (one in the bag from the store).  Overall meal planning has become a way of life for me.  I have gotten so used to having it all done that I don’t feel complete without it during the week.  I feel unorganized and like I am flying by the seat of my pants, which I hate.  If you are new to meal planning, start small.  Don’t anticipate eating every single meal because something will usually pop up during the week but just make sure to freeze the meat and reallocate the veggies to another dish.  I still will over plan some weeks and under plan others, so it is a work in progress, but it helps start my week on the right foot!

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