This post will teach you how weekly meal planning can be done in 20 minutes or less with a grocery list! I’ve even included a freebie to help you get started!
I love weekly meal planning. It help me drastically lower my grocery bill, reduces food waste, and alleviates stress associated with the dreaded “What do you want for dinner?” question. Not to mention my time grocery shopping is significantly quicker with a list!
I have a tried and true system for weekly meal planning and grocery shopping that I’m going to share with your today! I’ve also include a freebie printable to help you start planning a week’s worth of meals!
20 Minute Weekly Meal Planning
Planning meals ahead allows you to “sale shop” by tailoring your weekly menu to what your store specials are. If your store offers price matching, you can probably purchase everything on your list below regular price.
To start, gather the following items:
- Grocery flyers, or a flyer app
- Family calendar
- Recipes (binder/ magazines/ Pinterest board etc)
- Freebie printable (see end of post)
First, fill in any activities your family has planned for the week, anything that will affect your ability to make a meal. If you have a standing pizza, pasta, or whatever night fill that in.
Now look through your flyers and see what meat is on sale, if your family doesn’t eat meat you can skip this step. The BEST sales will be on the front and back covers, so focus your attention on those. Meat is the most expensive grocery item so you want to work with what’s on sale to save the most money on your weekly bill.
What I like to do now is figure out meals for the nights we have something going on. Usually these are crock pot or make ahead meals that require very little time to get on the table. If you can eat leftovers of this meal, fill it in for another night.
Continue filling in each night until you have all meals planned and leftovers used up. You can freeze your leftovers to use another week if your family won’t eat the same thing twice in a row. Also, don’t forget about any frozen meals you have made ahead of time when filling in your week!
Now that you have your weekly meal planning done, let’s make a grocery list. I like to categorize my list based on departments so I don’t forget anythings as I’m walking the aisles.
For each meal figure out all of the ingredients you need (minus what you already have in your cupboards) and list them under each department, one meal at a time. If meals share ingredients add a quantity to remind yourself you need two of whatever. See below for an example.
Finally you can fill in your weekly essentials (milk, bread, eggs) and the other category. Other is used for cleaning, pet, and personal products.
If you have to worry about lunches and snacks follow the same method by filling in each day one at a time.
I do my shopping once a week and pin my sheet up to the wall calendar for easy reference.
I assure you by planning your meals and shopping once a week you will see a decrease in your grocery bill, reduce your waste, and feel less stress!
Let me know how this worked for you and what other meal planning tips you have!
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