In the Make Your Own Meal Plan series, I offer a step-by-step guide of the process I learned when establishing my own meal planning system. There are a lot of factors to think about- but slowly but surely, it becomes a habit and pays off in big ways!
However… here’s my confession:
I get real tired of it. It can start to feel like you’re reinventing the wheel and doing the same work every week or two- thinking of meals, listing out their ingredients, and making sure nothing is going to waste. I thought to myself, why couldn’t I save these lists and just reuse them?
If you haven’t noticed, these type of crazy thoughts turn into projects real quick for me. But think about it- what if you had a rotating plan for, say, 3 months worth of pre-made:
- meal lists
- grocery list (for said meals)
- food prep list (for said meals)
- a place to fill in additional breakfast, lunch, & snack items for each week
- lots of blank space for flexibility 🙂
Suddenly, your process would look a little more like this:
Choose your meals. Order your meals for the week/2 weeks/month. Transfer all ingredients to grocery list.
- Add any additional items you need for breakfast, snacks, etc.
- Shop your pantry & inventory your staples.
- Go to the store 🙂
- Prep food for later.
3 out of 8 steps gone, and let’s be real- those are the hardest steps!
Since tackling this project, my meal planning time has gone from about 2 hours each month to less than 30 minutes. I just print out the lists, add any special meals/circumstances, update our staples list, and of course shop my pantry. The true “planning” part is done for me!!
Now, I know you may already have some reservations popping up in your head, so let me Leslie Knope this for you. (If you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry in several ways.)
|So much less time
So much less doing the same thing
System in place even if you don’t have time to meal plan
Perfect rotation of meals so you don’t keep making the same thing
Still affords you flexibility to rearrange meals as needed
Can use this for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meal plan sets!
|Not able to take advantage of sales
(*although not entirely true)
It may sounds intimidating, but it’s just as simple as your normal system- just fill in the printables on your computer, stop & click “save” after you’ve completed the first 3 steps above, and have it on deck for another time!
If you feeling a bit over meal planning & have better things to do, I encourage you to try this a few times. It does take some set-up time and trial & error, but honestly, I don’t think I could ever do it any other way!
Are you interested in meal plan automation like this?
I’ve created a mini-ebook that will provide you with everything you need to know to create a successful meal plan & exactly what you need to do to put it on auto-pilot! Plus, to make it easier & more tangible, you’ll get a completed set of my own monthly meal plan to follow as an example!