Monday, August 18, 2014

Meal Planning Made Simple {At least it's simple for me like this...}

Now, to be perfectly honest, I'm kinda on-again-off-again with meal planning. I'm a teacher, so I find myself with several "vacation" weeks/months per year, and I usually don't do much planning or food prepping during those times. When working though, I ALWAYS prep, and I usually plan... and since the hubster and I have both started crossfit, this needs to happen more than ever. I decided to share my super easy method for planning a weeks' worth of meals {all of them!}.

First, I get out my really complicated weekly planner. 

Just kidding. I take a piece of scratch paper and fold it to make eight rectangles. This gives me a space for 7 days and my grocery list. Genius, I know.

I start with breakfast. The hubster and I are creatures of habit, and we pretty much always eat the same thing every morning. He has two or three eggs with some chopped chorizo and a coffee. Mine varies a bit more than his, but this week I have veggies and fruit planned every morning with a mug of bone broth. My protein will either be beef-and-liver patties or canned corned beef.

Lunch is pretty quick to write down as well. I almost always have a salad and the hubster always has chicken with "stuff". Friday though, he eats out with his co-workers and Saturdays we eat tuna and peaches. Sunday is either leftovers or lunch with the grandparents. I'll come back to lunch later...

Then on to snacks. I have a snack nearly every day, but the hubster doesn't always because sometimes dinner is ready by the time he gets home. I usually have a bit of meat of some sort {this week will be rillettes and ham}, with a veggie and a banana. On crossfit days, the hubster eats half a can of tuna, and on other days he "grazes" on whatever we have if he's hungry {I always make sure to have dried sausage, peanuts, chips... for him}.

Finally, dinner. I choose something that is easily reheated for crossfit nights - this week is Sheppard's Pie. I'll prepare it Tuesday afternoon, then reheat it Tuesday and Thursday evenings. We choose one "special" meal for Device Free Friday, such as tacos this week. Saturday nights we often eat at the parent's place, so I write that down as well. {If we have any other dinner plans, I write them down at their day before starting my dinners.} I just leave the other days blank for now.

Lastly, I make my grocery list. {The one pictured isn't complete, because I have some of the things I need already.} I start with breakfast and jot down anything I need. Sometimes I'm specific, such as writing down "ground beef", and other times I'm vague, such as writing down "breakfast veggies" - I'll choose what I want based on what's for sale in the store. Coming back to lunch, I'll now decide what I want in my salad this week, and I'll ask the hubster what he'd like with his chicken. I go through all the menu, making sure everything is either in my kitchen or written down on the paper. I also note how many dinners are unaccounted for - those we also be based on what's for sale.

Then I go a step further and put everything into my phone. I have a super simple grocery list app that I love. Every time a staple item runs out throughout the week {coffee, oil, vinegar, freezer bags, spices, the hubster's snacks...} I enter it into my running list. Then I go shopping.

Once in the store, I don't buy anything that isn't on the list - with a couple exceptions. I always buy a bit extra canned fish and a bag of carrots, just in case. For example, maybe I won't make it to the store Saturday and will need something to eat Monday morning. I will also buy extra meat if it is on sale and freeze it for the week after. This may also come in handy if, for example, our dinner with the parents is canceled - there is still meat in the freezer to prepare and at least carrots as a veggie. {Pro tip - keep a running list of all meat items in the freezer, this helps make meal planning a cinch as well!}

As for prepping everything... I throw together our lunches either Saturday or Sunday, depending on our weekend plans. If I'm not working, I won't bother to do mine ahead of time. I'll also take some time to make a batch of bone broth and to prep my breakfast veggies if they need to be prepped {roast them, slice them...}. I make each snack and dinner the same day, except Thursday's dinner which is leftovers from Tuesday.

And that just about sums it up! I hope my explanations have at least given you some ideas for simplifying your own meal planning.

Have any great tips to share with us? Leave them in the comments below!


  1. Oooooh this post has inspired me to write one of my own! I do all my meal prep on the weekend, and have enlisted my husband to help. Every weekend, we make: fat bombs, a quiche of some kind and a ground beef dish of some kind (moussaka, chilli con carne or lasagna). I bulk buy my ground beef from the butcher (grass-fed and sometimes on special), and when deals on fish come up at the grocery store, we take advantage of it (like half a salmon for £10). There's always lots of veg, nuts, and coconut cream handy. We make a good team :)

    1. Sounds awesome! I can't wait to read your post!