Kitchen Tips & Tricks

Meal Planning 101 + Free Meal Plan Printable

Updated May 24, 2023

Meal Planning 101

What is Meal Planning?

Meal planning is when you plan your meals in advance. You can plan your meals ahead of time by using a printable meal planner, calendar, dry erase board or whatever method works for you.  You can plan weekly, bi-weekly or even a month at a time. This will help you save money and time!

Planning meals in advanced you will avoid impulse purchases, extra trips to the store, and save yourself from having those frantic moments of trying to figure out what is for dinner. Below are some steps to help you get your meal planning started.

Time Frame for Meal Planning – When deciding how long to meal plan for you will want to keep in mind your pay periods and how many times you want to go to the store. If you get paid every two weeks than planning a bi-weekly meal plan would be best for you. If you get paid once a week then maybe a 7 day meal plan would work. If you are just starting out, I would suggest staring with a 7 day meal plan so you are not overwhelmed. Then, once you get the hang of it, you can do it bi-weekly or monthly.

Free Printable Meal Planner

Planning your meals – Once you choose how many days you want to meal plan for, you can then choose the meals.  Make this a simple list by using my FREE Printable Meal Planner or any other method that works for you to show what you are having for dinner each night.

Here are some examples of meals you might want to plan:

  • Monday – Pot Roast with potatoes, carrots, gravy and corn
  • Tuesday – Vegetable lasagna with garlic toast
  • Wednesday – BLT sandwiches with chips
  • Thursday – White bean turkey chili
  • Friday – Make your own pizza
  • Saturday – Kabobs with roasted potatoes and corn
  • Sunday – Burgers and taco salad

These are some ideas you can use and gives you an idea of what you list should look like. You can then display your meal planner in site so the whole family can see what is for dinner each day. I use the Printable Meal Planner and my Wallies Big Chalkboard displayed in my kitchen. You can also use these Printable Recipe Cards to write out your recipes and store them in a recipe box by the day or week.

Shopping List – Now that you have your planning done it’s time to start your grocery shopping list. Go thru each meal and list what you need to buy. You can use the FREE Printable Shopping List that I created to do this.  You may need more of one for some of the items such as hamburger meat. If this is the case just buy a larger quantity so it can create the amount of meals you need. This will create fewer trips to the store.

Cooking your meals – Now that your list and shopping is done you’re ready to start preparing your meals. Check your list often in case you need to thaw something out the night before. If you need to switch a meal to a different day, go for it. You can always change it around since you have what you need for the meal plan.

Are you ready to start meal planning?



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