Once you have a simple system in place, you can decide what to feed your family each week and know exactly what to buy so you have everything on hand when it’s time to cook.
Here’s exactly how you can do it. Follow this easy step by step guide and learn how to start meal planning simply.
Make a List of Your Favorite Recipes (or New Ones You Want to Try)
Create a document (You can use Google Docs for this) labeled: Recipes.
Put all your favorite recipes in there but most importantly, you have to have the ingredient lists.
You probably don’t need the instructions in this list unless it’s a recipe you haven’t made yet. You just want to know what it’s going to take to make each recipe.
Make a Document with Each Week’s Recipe Plan
Exactly how you do this will depend on how many meals you’re planning for but here’s the basic idea.
Make a document with the day of the week and each meal you’ll make under each day. So, for example, it will look like this:
And so on. Then next to each meal, you would put what you’ll be making for the family. So again, that will look like this:
– Breakfast Eggs and bacon
– Lunch Sandwiches and chips
– Dinner Taco Salad
– Breakfast Cereal and Milk
– Lunch Hamburgers and fries
– Dinner Chicken Breasts, Sauteed veggies
And so on until you’ve filled out the week. Now here’s the most important part of meal planning.
Make Another Document with Your Shopping List
Once you know what you’re making, then you go into the first document you created and copy and paste the ingredient lists for each recipe onto your shopping list app.
You’ll go methodically down the plan line by line and make sure everything you need to buy gets on the shopping list.
You do it like this because not everything on your meal plan has its own recipe, especially the breakfasts. You just estimate how many eggs and packages of bacon or boxes of cereal you’ll need to get through the week and make sure that gets on the list.
Then you go through the list and edit it for things you don’t need. This is usually the spices, if a recipe calls for cumin, you probably still have that in the pantry from the last time you made this recipe. Or maybe it calls for onions and you have plenty already.
Also, try to consolidate the list. If 2 recipes call for the same ingredient, it’s probably on the shopping list twice. Just delete one and increase the quantity on the other.
That’s it! Once you buy everything on your list, you’re all planned up for the coming week. Your family will be taken care of and you won’t have to think about food for another week!
Plus you can avoid the dreaded: “Mom, what’s for dinner?” question by allowing the family access to the plan.