I’ve been meal planning for years in pretty much the same way. I’ve put my process into seven steps for today’s episode. 

As my 6-year-old said when she sat next to me while I edited this episode, “Mom, just because it works for you doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else.” She’s 100% right.

But I hope that seeing my exact process will give you some inspiration and a starting place to figure out a meal planning system that works for you.

My 7-Step Weekly Meal Planning System:

  1. Determine what stores you shop for groceries at. What is the schedule for ads? 
  2. Look at the weekly ads. What is on sale that you can use in your meal plan?
  3. If you have themed nights, pick that first (e.g., Pizza nights on Friday)
  4. Look at your calendar and figure out what meals need to be fast/simple. What needs to be prepped ahead in a crockpot or Instapot? What nights do you have to cook more (maybe a bulk recipe to have leftovers for lunch)?
  5. Fill in with your favorites. I pick maybe one or two new recipes each week, but no more than that. Have favorite sources where you go to look for new recipes. I use Faithful Plateful’s website and cookbooks the most frequently. I use Mealboard to collect recipes we like.
  6. Currently, I’m creating a meal binder that has our favorites broken down into different categories: quick and easy breakfast, lunch, dinner, road trip food, and having people over for dinner. Then, topical rotations based on ingredients: lentil meals, quinoa meals, beans, tofu, etc. (Once I have this finished, I’ll give access to it to members of my Simplify to Soar Club)
  7. Keep track of my meals in the Thriving in Motherhood Planner for the week. Sometimes, I treat it like a list of seven meals that we have ingredients for, and then I pick what sounds best each night. But at this point, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out what type of day we are going to have and sticking to what I wrote.

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