Meal Planning Tips + FREE Weekly Meal Planner

To eat healthy, and save some cash – meal planning is essential. It also makes the week less stressful in general. I’ve found that it works best, for me, to plan out our meals for the week on Sunday night, using a meal planning worksheet – download the FREE meal planner below:

Weekly Meal Planner  

Meal Planning Tips:

Have a place – or two – where you stockpile recipes:

I like to have a few different Pinterest boards where I save my loads of recipes. Personally, I split them up between the healthy and the not-so-healthy, for cheat days. I also add the ones that we absolutely LOVE to a Favorite Recipes board.

Aside from that, I still like to print out recipe cards and keep them in a binder. If I find one in a magazine I want to try, I cut them out and add them to the binder. If I end up not liking one – in the trash it goes. This is the same for my boards on Pinterest. When you know you don’t like a recipe – Delete!

Never stop seeking out great, new recipes: (& be adventurous)

Nobody wants to consistently eat the same meals over and over again. Let’s face it: that gets boring real quick. You can go old-school and find favorites in a cookbook or you can use Pinterest. You can also keep checking back here for some great, tried and proven recipes. Print some recipe cards or keep your favorites pinned to a board. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, especially the healthy ones. I’ve been surprised a few times.

Have dinner Theme Nights:

This is another great way to ensure you’re not using the same recipes on a loop. You can still do this while eating healthy, as I do, and it spices up meal planning and allows me to try new and different recipes. Here are some ideas for Dinner Theme Nights:

  • Meatless Monday (I personally do this on Mondays and found that it helps save money on groceries and starts the week off incredibly healthy).
  • Breakfast for Dinner 
  • Taco Tuesdays
  • Pasta Night (It’s pretty difficult to find low-calorie pasta recipes, but they do exist).
  • Seafood Night (We usually do this one every Wednesday – there are loads of healthy seafood options that really hook you up with some great nutrients).
  •  Crock pot Night (Love my crock pot).
  • Casserole Night 
  • Sandwich Night 
  • Asian cuisine Night 
  • Soup Night 

I’ll be adding my favorite recipes to the blog – a lot of which will fall into these themes. You can also do a theme night that revolves around a certain holiday – (even if it’s not on that holiday).

I love adding themes to meals. It makes the planning process more fun.

Keep the Pantry stocked:

I’ll do a post later about stockpiling, but there are just certain items you should always have in the pantry. I’ll also do a list of things you should always buy on sale – to stock up at the lowest prices.

Don’t head off to the store without a grocery list:

Whenever I go to the store without a list and solid meal plan, I always forget some necessary ingredient and it screws up the entire plan. Part of the planning process is making a grocery list. (That’s why I like the grocery list attached to the meal plan I put on the fridge).

Check for upcoming sales or the use of coupons:

If you want to save some cash – (don’t we all?) – plan your meals around upcoming sales. If you’ve happened to get your hands on some good coupons or rebates – take those into consideration when planning your weekly meals.

Double down on ingredients:

A lot of dishes I make have chicken in them. If you have a couple different meal ideas, see which ones have similar ingredients. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money and time at the store.

So, what are your favorite meal planning tips? Do you have any recipes that you absolutely love? And, what are some must-haves for your pantry?

 

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