5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on How I Order Groceries Online + Price Match. In that post, I talked a little about how I meal plan.

In this post, I am going to show you how I meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter. My husband works 12-hour shifts so I also make meals for his lunch.

In this post, I am going to meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter.

#mealplan #menuplan #guide #tips #easy

Make a List of Ingredients On Hand

Before planning out meals it’s important to know what ingredients you already have. This helps cut down on grocery spending and prevents food waste.

First off I like to start with ingredients in the freezer, as I will need to defrost items like meat before cooking.

In my freezer I have:

  • pork chops
  • a frozen pepperoni pizza
  • a little bit of corn
  • some butternut squash
  • chicken drumsticks (buried below the frozen veggies)
  • cookies
  • frozen berries
In this post, I am going to meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter.

In the fridge I have:

  • chopped bell peppers
  • eggs
  • pie crust
  • whipping cream
  • milk
  • mayonnaise
  • lemon
  • marinara sauce
  • salsa
  • parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • cheddar cheese
  • english muffins
In this post, I am going to meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter.

In my cupboards I have:

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can of lentils
  • 3 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cans of tomato sauce
  • panko crumbs
  • refried beans
  • lasagna noodles
  • a few bags of pasta
  • onion
  • garlic

Find Recipes that Use Ingredients From Your Pantry

Based off the above items a few meals come to mind:

  • Breaded pork chops or chicken (panko crumbs and parmesan) with salad and roasted sweet potatoes or pasta with marinara sauce
  • Vegetarian lasagna (squash, black beans, tomato sauce and cheese)
  • chilli (lentils, black beans, corn and bell peppers) with jalapeno cheddar bread (omit jalapeno)
  • Quiche (eggs, bell peppers and cheese) with salad
  • Pizza (from the freezer)
  • English muffin pizza (English muffins, cheese, black beans, pasta sauce)

Tips to come up with meal ideas:

In this post, I am going to meal plan for my family for the week. Our family consists of myself, my husband and our one-year-old daughter.

To round out these meals I’ll need to buy a few more ingredients:

  • spring mix to make a salad
  • cottage cheese for the lasagna
  • a couple of sweet potatoes

For my husbands lunches I’ll use the leftover chicken or pork chops, sweet potatoes, pasta and salad.

Find Recipes that Use Ingredients You are Buying

Based on the above list I don’t need to buy too many extra ingredients. However any perishable ingredients I am buying I will incorporate into other recipes that use up any extra. For example, I bought a large container of pre-washed spring mix lettuce because it was cheaper than the smaller container. For my lunch, I will be making a salad each day.

Buy Groceries Online and Price Match

Finally, I will take the list of ingredients I need to buy along with any other items we need to stock up on.

This week we needed:

  • 2 containers of yogurt
  • 2 cases of water
  • whole milk
  • orange juice
  • granola bars
  • bananas
  • cereal
  • tortillas
  • diapers

Then as I detailed in my post about how I grocery shop online and price match I will search for each item on Flipp, clip it and then order it online through Walmart. After my order is placed I go back and submit my price match request.

I realize this is a very simplified version of meal planning. However, for those just starting to meal plan, I hope this is helpful. One of the best benefits of meal planning is saving money on groceries. Plus when you plan ahead meals are one less thing to worry about during the week.

Take an evening this week and use this post to help you plan out your meals.

My go to cookbooks for Meal Planning:

*referral link and affiliate links provided

What is one meal you are planning on making this week?

12 Replies to “5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier”

  1. I have a feeling that everytime I buy groceries online I spend less money because I donΒ΄t get a chance to “look around” while IΒ΄m shopping.
    I know thereΒ΄s a delivery fee but I still feel like IΒ΄m saving money!
    Great tips on how to use ingredients that we already have in the house for cooking a meal!

    1. Totally! Having a plan helps so much.
      Thank you, it’s so easy to forget about what food we actually have.

  2. I meal plan every week and it makes such a huge difference in cooking during the week! I need to be better about using up ingredients that are actually in my pantry though!

  3. I can use all the help I can get with meal planning & food prep. This will come in handy for me!

  4. Girl… I love this. You not only buy groceries online (one of my favorite things EVER), but you actually come up with recipes based on what you have on hand. I was raised by a single mom, she never shopped according to the recipe, she always cooked what we had on hand. Thank you for the tip about the index on a cookbook, seems so simple, and yet something I never do. I need to get better at meal planning, and your way was super refreshing <3

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment πŸ’•πŸ˜Š that’s amazing! What a great example! So many people lack basic food skills because they just have no idea.
      I’m glad that tip was helpful (: it’s fun to try new recipes.

  5. This is super helpful!! I struggle with meal planning. I will do really well for a few weeks and then really struggle! I like taking inventory of what you have and planning around that πŸ™‚

  6. I rarely truly meal plan but I love these recipes and tips! Def gonna have to make a English muffin pizza this week haha yum πŸ™‚

  7. Planning in all life areas keeps us organized and well on track.. And I really need to learn some discipline when it comes to meal planning. This post shares awesome tips, and really going to help me plan my stuff. Thank you for sharing.

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