Meal Planning Basics

We love to bring you ways to cut your everyday expenses. One of the greatest ways I cut my grocery bill was by using some simple meal planning basics.

Meal planning doesn’t have to be this crazy complicated thing. Going back to the old K.I.S.S rule (Keep It Simple Seriously) is really the best tactic. Meal planning in its very essence just means knowing what you are going to eat and when. It’s knowing that you have the ingredients on hand. Nothing more complicated than that. You don’t need to prep it all at once or be Martha Stewart to make this happen.

The first thing I did when I wanted to get better at meal planning was a brain dump of all the meals we eat or like to eat. This gave me a quick list to help get the creative juices flowing if I stalled out with ideas on a particular week. I do still google new recipe ideas and try them on nights we are not as busy. This list was simply a basic start to help me stay on track. The recipes that work for us I add to my master list. The ones that don’t get discarded.

You don’t need to use fancy planners or buy magnetic boards although I find these super cool. A simple pen and paper or a note added to your phones notepad will suffice. In fact one of the best meal plans I ever saw was actually a picture frame with a calendar in it and a dry erase marker. Simple but effective.

You can make a very detailed day by day plan. You can also make a flexible meal plan where you pick 7 dinners and simply decide which of the 7 you feel like as you go. You can get into the themed meals if it makes it more fun. There are a million tiny things you can do to make it a little more interesting. But for this let’s stick to the basics.

For my meal plan I always try to use ingredients I have on hand. I have a stock pile and full freezers so that makes this the easy option for me. However,you can also plan based on sales. From my list of meals I then plan my shop for the ingredients I may not have on hand.

When planning dinners I check my schedule for the week to see what we have going on. This way I don’t plan a huge meal on a night with 10 mins to prep. Remember knowing your limitations and what you can accomplish is an important part of this process. The point is not to set yourself up for failure. I come up with 7 main dishes and add sides based off that.

Breakfast for us consists of the same things but they vary. So for instance we do eggs one day. I can vary it by making scrambled, poached, egg muffins and so on.

Lunches are usually based on leftovers. So for instance if we have bbq chicken for dinner I make chicken wraps for lunch the next day. However, if leftovers are something you are not find of using you can pick simple make ahead meals as well.

Not every meal you plan needs to be a home cooked 7 course affair. My meal plan this week includes take out pizza for Monday night as we are busy and its 50% off at our local pizza place. Remember this is about making your life easier not complicating it.

Once you have your meals picked for the week. Check your home for the things you have on hand already. Next create a list of ingredients needed this is your grocery list. Remember to try to have fun with it.

Once I have my meal plan figured out and my groceries gathered I begin my meal prep. For more about meal prep check out our meal prep basics HERE!

To learn more about cutting your expenses and little tricks to help be sure to check out the rest of our website HERE!

We hope this meal planning basics has been a help to you!