In part one of planning a month of meals we took time to brain storm a list of 20-30 dinner meals and then organized them by main ingredient. With this great list of meals it will make step three very simple.
(If you missed Part 1 click here to get caught up.)
Step #3 in planning will be to place meals onto the calendar. Using your list of dinner meals created in Step #2 we will begin placing meals into each week of the month.
–If you haven’t already, grab my free Month of Meals Guide that includes all the printables you need to plan a month of meals and stay organized!–
Take a look at your personal calendar and make note of any weeks where there is a holiday or special event such as a birthday or anniversary. Write those events on the corresponding week of your meal plan. Then you can choose an appropriate meal for any super busy nights or special birthday dinner requests.
For each week of the month you will want to choose 5 meals. But wait, there are 7 days in a week so why are we only choosing 5 meals to place on the calendar each week? By choosing 5 meals for each week it leaves space for a night when we may not be home for dinner or a night when left-overs can be eaten. We don’t want to waste money on food that won’t get eaten!
I don’t pick a particular day of the week for each meal. I just select 5 meals for each week of the month. This way I don’t feel “stuck” with eating a particular meal. For example, on Saturday evening we usually eat-out as a family. If we ate tacos Saturday evening and my meal plan is telling me to make tacos for Sundays meal my family may not be too excited about eating the same meal two days in a row!
Below you can see how I filled out my Monthly Meal Planner. The left side lists weeks 1-5. The right side has space to write in breakfast, lunch and snack ideas. There is also room to make note of any special occasion or holiday in the month. I find that this printable is super easy to use and keeps my month of meals organized.
Once filled out I place the Monthly Meal Planner on the side of my refrigerator. This way it’s easily accessible and I won’t lose it! The kids and hubby also like to see what meal options are available each week. Sometimes they make a specific dinner request from the choices listed.
Step #4 requires a little organization. Make sure you have each meal printed, pinned or bookmarked. You don’t want to get stuck looking for a recipe when it’s time to make dinner.
I personally like to print out my recipes. This way each week I can take each printed recipe and put it on the fridge. A quick glance the night before will let me know if I need to do any morning prep like placing ingredients in a slow-cooker, thawing out ingredients in the fridge over night or marinating ingredients.
Organize your recipes however works best for you and have them easily accessible and ready for Step 5!
Step #5 is grocery shopping.
Pencil in on the calendar which day you think you will go to the grocery store. Do you shop weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? I try to shop bi-weekly. I look at the recipes for 2 weeks and see which items I need to purchase at the grocery store.
When making your shopping list shop your pantry, fridge and freezer first! By shop I mean go through your pantry, fridge and freezer first to check off any ingredients you already have on hand for your recipes. If you already have an ingredient you don’t want to buy double. 😉
Having your calendar of dinner meals planned out will make adding ingredients to your shopping list quick and easy!
A Quick Recap:
- Make note of any special occasions or holidays in the month
- Choose only 5 meals for each week of the month
- Fill in your monthly meal planner printable
- Have each meal recipe printed, pinned or bookmarked
- Decide which day you will go grocery shopping
- “Shop” your pantry, fridge and freezer first
- Write out your shopping list
Congratulations! You just planned a month of dinner meals in 5 easy steps. Now you can celebrate and reap the rewards of getting dinner on the table with less stress, saving on your budget and having more time to spend with your family.
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