Yesterday when I was making my meal plan for the week, I was trying to remember how this habit started for me. I think it was several years ago when I was still going into the office every day. I knew if I didn’t have my dinners for the week planned on Monday, I was setting myself up for a pretty tough week. Now every weekend (I try for Saturday but it’s usually on Sundays), I come up with my plan for dinners for Sunday through Friday, and grocery shop for it all. My hope is that I don’t have to think about any of this again until the following week.
There are weekends when the blank meal-plan sheet is pretty overwhelming, so I’ve come up with a few tricks to help me get it done. In the hopes that they might help you, too, I’m sharing them here today.
Making a Weekly Meal Plan
- Look at the week ahead. I’m sure our house is just like yours and that no two evenings are a like. However, there are definitely some routines I can tap into. For example, Mondays are always a work-heavy day for me, so by the time dinner prep rolls around, I’m beat. So I always try to have a super-easy dinner ready to go for Mondays. This is when a Fresh Midwest meal or Costco dinner comes in clutch.( I’m linking both of the stories I’ve done about our favorites from Fresh Midwest and Costco here.)
- Ask your family for suggestions. There is nothing better than making a dinner my family actually loves! So if they have suggestions and they’re not overly complicated, I’m all in. I swear, brainstorming the dinner ideas is sometimes the hardest part.
- Make a list. I always have two columns on my list. Label the left side with the “days of the week” you’re planning for, and write “grocery list” at the top of the right side. Then as you come up with your dinners, you can immediately write down the groceries you need for those recipes.
- Do all of your grocery shopping before Monday. I really hate grocery shopping, so if I can limit it to once a week, that’s what I do. I’m still a regular Instacart shopper. I know there are lots opinions about this service. It’s not inexpensive to do, and you are leaving some things to chance when others are shopping for you. However, I know there is a huge cost-savings by cutting out all impulse shopping. I also love that Instacart stores your previous purchases, so if you have staples you buy every week, these can be saved and easily rebought. If Instacart isn’t your thing, I do recommend just knocking out your grocery shopping at the beginning of the week. I really believe it saves a ton of time.
- Share your meal plan with your crew. Little did I know that my kids are the biggest supporters of this meal-planning idea. They love to know what to expect every day. I know for a fact that my youngest snacks up earlier in the day if he thinks the dinner I’m making is a bust.
Dinner Ideas for the Week
If you need a little more motivation, here are some favorite recipes in my house:
- Meatball Tortellini Soup
- Easy Fall Stew
- Sheet-Pan Sausage & Veggies
- Roasted Balsamic Pork & Vegetables
Have a great week!
If you’re interested, my dress is from Anthropologie and I have loved it! It’s on sale now and there are a few sizes left. I’m wearing a small.