I share how to meal plan for the week for beginners. These meal planning tips work for all budgets, life stages, and unique schedules.
If you are new to meal planning it might seem overwhelming and super time consuming to meal plan. However with my six tips you can see that meal planning can be simple, easy, and I hope fun!
1.Keep it simple.
The first tip, if you are a beginner to meal planning, is to keep meals basic. You might think that basic is boring. Yes I could be. However, once you get the hang of planning meals then mix it up.
As a beginner to meal planning it is important to keep the meal plan simple.
I don’t know about you but by the end of the week I am tired, crabby, and don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen. Basic meals help me stick to the plan and prevents me from ordering take out too often.
You will see one of our favorite go to meals is taco salad. I could eat this every single week and not get sick of it. It is super delicious and yummy!
2. Brainstorm meal ideas.
My second tip is to brainstorm meal ideas you already know how to make. Write down at least five meal ideas for each category: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You could even add in a fifth category; dessert!
The idea is to write down as many meal idea as possible. Why? So when you make the weekly meal plan you have options to pick from. Again going back to tip number one; keep it simple. If you need some ideas for inspiration I suggest going to allrecipes.com for some ideas.
You can see an example of my brainstormed meal ideas above. Yes these are basic but guess what? It totally works in keeping weekly meal planning easy to do.
3. Pick meal plan for the week.
The third tip, and my most favorite part; choosing the meals! Pour over your brainstorm list and choose what you would like to eat for the week. With breakfast, lunch, and snacks I suggest rotating through the same three to four meals for the week.
Meanwhile for dinner I would use the brainstormed list for meals plus one day for take out. I’m usually tired of cooking by day five. However, if you want to cook seven meals for the week go for it!
Plan around not against what you already have going on.
I also recommended checking your calendar to see what you have going on that week. Plan around and not against what activities you already have planned.
Want to save on paper? Slip a blank meal plan sheet into a plastic sleeve and use a wet erase or white board marker. Thus you can wipe away your weekly meal plan and reuse over and over again.
4. Add fruits and vegetables.
The fourth tip is to make sure to add fruits and vegetables to your meal plan. I have found that if I add fruit and vegetable to my plan I am more likely to eat them.
5. Eat leftovers.
The next tip, when meal planning, is to plan for leftovers. There are certain meal that my family and I love sooo much that we willingly eat the same meal for dinner and lunch. For us that meal is the zesty buffalo dinner, taco salad, and pizza. I suggest finding your favorites and eating the left overs for lunch too.
6. Write down a shopping list.
Finally, plan out what you need to purchase at the grocery store. You could do this with paper and pencil or be high tech and use an app on your phone.
Either way it is super important to plan what you will need to make your meals. This tip is also super important to prevent impulse buying at the store. This can also help prevent disagreements with your spouse too.
In the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I would go to the store and wing buying groceries. As a result, some of our best arguments were in the grocery store. I still remember the Epic 2015 Salad argument. Yikes! We learned that going to the grocery store hungry and without a plan did not work. Thus, write it down!
I hope my tips and ideas for how to meal plan for the week for beginners helped you get started with weekly meal planning.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I write posts every week about simple routines that help make life easier. To read more about my family and I, go HERE.