Thank you for following along as I shared how I meal plan for 2 weeks at a time. If you are new here you can check out the original post with detailed information about my style of meal planning here.
– Benefits of Meal Planning –
- Consuming Healthier Well Balanced Meals
- Saving $
- Saving Time
- Stress Reduction
I came up with a simple meal plan technique that has been invaluable for my family, some of the benefits include saving time, money, reducing stress and eating healthy foods. Of course I’m most appreciative of nightly dinners at the table together.
I skimmed numerous websites devoted to meal planning and adapted the way that was easiest for my family. Eating healthy well balanced meals has always been a priority of mine and I enjoy trying new recipes — as long as they are pretty simple. I’ve done some sort of meal planning or another my entire adult life. What is working for me now has been my go to system for the last few years but I recently switched it up with tons of new recipes.
This is an explanation of how I approach meal planning for 2 weeks at a time, this is part of the original blog post.
– The Basics of How I Meal Plan –
- I plan for 2 weeks at a time – A total of 11 meals are included in my 2 week meal plan…this leaves a night to go out or order in, have leftovers or attend an event or family party where dinner is served.
- I make sure to have a variety of meals on the 2 week meal plan. I always try to include the following as my main dish 2 salads, 1 chicken, 1 turkey, 1-2 fish, 1 soup, 1-3 vegetarian and 1 night for grilling…so we don’t end up with chicken 4 nights in a row. Of course this doesn’t work out perfectly but I do go for a bit of variety. All my dinners include protein and vegetables and often a bit of fruit.
- I need a 11/2 -2 hour chunk of time to plan for 2 weeks. I write down the 11 meals I want to include and make the corresponding grocery list. My grocery list is in sections to save time at the store. The sections are produce, frozen, meat/dairy, other and check at home. After the list is made I check for items I may already have and cross them off the list. At this time I add breakfast, lunch and snack items to my list. *If I know I’m only going to use half a jar of sauce for a recipe then I make sure to grab some noodles to add to the sauce too…for kids snack or lunch one day during the week.
- I check my weekly calendar and plug in the meals for each day of this week. Nights that we have longer activities call for the more simple meals. The one weeknight that I am home is the night that is going to get the meal that takes the most prep time. Sometimes I prep the meal in the morning or the night before and toss it in the oven or on the stove right when I get home. You have to do what works best for your family to make this a success.
- The following weekend I look at the calendar and plug in the remaining meals to the days for that week. I usually make a quick trip to the store for some additional fresh fruit and veggies but that’s all I get because I did the bulk of my shopping last week. Sometimes I don’t have to go back to the store but usually I do one quick trip at the start of the second week for just a few items.
Those are the basics of how I have successfully completed 10 weeks of meal planning. At the end of week 2 I sat down and used 11 new dinner recipes to plan meals for weeks 3 and 4. Once I got to week 10 and didn’t have any new recipes I was eager to try I started over with week 1 and 2 and it was already planned for me…saving me even more time!!! I grabbed the list of meals, plugged it in to my nights and checked the already made grocery list. If you want to adapt a meal planning system like this I promise it’s worth the initial time it takes to plan the first 2 weeks. You don’t have to go all the way up to 10 weeks either, you could easily plan weeks 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 and be done, you would still get an entire month of never repeating the same dinner.
Here are the links to the weekly meal plans, many of these include recipes.
If you have any questions about meal planning please contact me. I’m happy to help.
The top 2 favorite recipes from my Instagrams friends are linked below, just click on the image.