What you need : 

* A4 or US Letter sized paper
* Ruler
* Pen
or Meal Planning Kit (Inventory List, Favourite Meals, Monthly Meal Calendar
Weekly Meal Calendar (optional)

Do you shop Weekly or Monthly?

Do you prefer to do a big grocery shop once a month with small shops to get extra bread or milk? 

Or do you prefer to shop on a weekly basis and get everything together for the whole week? 

Its completely up to you & probably also based on how regularly you receive an income. 

The steps for Meal Planning will be the same.  Maybe try the weekly shop to start with until you get used to it & then move onto the monthly if you can afford it. 

Step 1 : Check Inventory

Pantry

Grab your paper & pen & start making notes of what you have in the pantry. 

Write down each item & how many/much you have.

Make a note of Best Before dates if something is getting close to expiring. 

Fridge / Freezer

Repeat what you did in the Pantry by checking what’s available in the freezer. 

Write down each item & how many/much you have.

Make a note of items that have been in there for a long time & that need to be eaten soon. 

How to plan meals to save money on your household budget.

Step 2 : Check Favourite Meals List

This is the Gold Mine.  Once I created a Favourite Meals List it changed my life!

Every time your family enjoys a meal, add it to the Favourite Meals List.  It makes life so much easier & you know you’re making meals the whole family will enjoy.  

Often we also change our eating habits between summer and winter or perhaps we get into a rut & forget old favourites.  The Favourite Meals List will help to remind you!

Also consider how much prep time is needed.  Do you want a freezer-to-oven meal?  Or maybe a slow cooker/crockpot to come home to.  

Read through your Favourite meals & figure out what you can create with the ingredients already in your house.  

  1. Decide on the amount of Prep time needed
  2. Start with the meat
  3. Add the starch (rice, pasta, grains, potatoes)
  4. Add vegetables or salad

Write down on a separate piece of paper the name of the Meal

Write down on the Grocery list anything you don’t already have for that meal.

Step 3 : Add to Meal Calendar

Its up to you if you’d like to create a weekly or monthly meal calendar.  I often switch between the two. 

Start filling in your Weekly/Monthly Meal Calendar from the ingredients you have in the Pantry, Fridge & Freezer.

Take Out / Events Consider nights that you’d like a break from cooking (eg. Take Away, frozen pizza).   Or if you have an event coming up where you won’t be cooking at home. 
Easy Meals Do you use a slow cooker/Crockpot?  Are there days where this could come in handy?  
Tradition / Celebrations Are there any traditions or celebrations this week/month that require a special meal?  Maybe you enjoy a traditional roast every Sunday.  Write this into your calendar. 
Variety Make sure you allow variety.  You don’t want to be eating chicken 3 days in a row!  You also want to ensure you have a good mix of vegetables/salad to get all the nutrients possible.  

Perhaps if you had no vegetables in one meal you could have a vegetable rich dinner the next day.  

Consider Meatless Mondays.

By now you should have a good variety of meals written into your Weekly/Monthly Calendar.  


Coming Up Next …

Next week in Meal Planning Part 3 I’ll discuss the Grocery List and some tips/hacks I use. 

If you’re interested in the Meal Planner Kit or FREE Weekly Meal Planner you can get them here :

Meal Planning Kit
Free Meal Planner Printable

Other Blog Posts

Meal Planning Part 1 : Why plan meals
42 Most Forgotten Budget Items
Printable Diet journal pdf for your weight loss journey