the untidy grace guide to easy meal planning (with FREE downloads!!)

hi friends!!

I’ve posted on this topic before, but I think it bears repeating ๐Ÿ™‚

meal planning is one of THE most important parts of my week, and after doing it for so long, it’s become something I genuinely look forward to and actually enjoy!! I love the challenge of making great, healthy food for my little family, while staying in a budget, and I LOVE the feeling of satisfaction that comes with knocking out a major to-do and being super organized!!

to start with, here’s WHY I meal plan:

  1. to keep myself sane… freaking out at 6pm when I don’t know what to make for dinner? no more, I say! I simply take a look at my super-handy meal plan and whip up the recipe.
  2. to save money… a meal plan means a grocery list that is comprehensive enough to ensure you’ve got what you need to eat that week, with no more and no less. this means no trips to the grocery store at 5:30 when you realize you forgot to buy eggs. ๐Ÿ˜‰ it also keeps you safe from impulse purchases (mostly!). if it’s not on the list, you know you don’t need it.
  3. to stay organized… you know what you have in your fridge / pantry, you know what you’re having for dinner, you have a plan for breakfasts and lunches, and you have a list of snacks for when your tummy is grumbling. the bed might be unmade, and the living room might need tidying, but at least you know what you’ve got to eat… and that you have enough ๐Ÿ™‚

if you want to be sane, thrifty, and organized… meal planning is for YOU! ๐Ÿ˜‰

best of all, meal planning is EASY.
I promise!!
plus, with these fun printables, you can keep the whole house informed, so there’s no more “what’s for dinner?” or “what can I have for a snack?”. (or you can respond to their pleas with a simple finger point towards the fridge ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

are you ready?!

let’s do this!
easy meal planning
***ahem. excuse the cruddy print job. it’s running out of ink…***

STEP ONE:
grab a pen, a notebook, and some coffee (maybe with some scrumptions DIY flavor?), andย print out these printables!! spread out the printables on your table or desk, and get ready to work!
meal plan 1ย : week of dinners
meal plan2ย : daily meal planner
meal plan3ย : week of options (breakfast, lunch, snacks)
meal plan4ย : grocery shopping list
that was easy, right?
coffee

printable

STEP TWO:
in your notebook, write out as many dinners as you can think of which a) you know your family likes to eat,ย b)ย are healthy and good, whole food (I try to buy organic!), and c) are fairly low in cost. we’re aiming for thrifty here, remember? ๐Ÿ™‚ write until you can’t think of any more meals!! if you’re feeling adventurous, sneak in a few new ones to try (from pinterest, obviously!)

STEP THREE:
go poking around in your pantry. (keep that notebook handy!) what do you have on hand? what are you out of? what needs to be used ASAP? now look back at your list of meals. which of them use things that you already have on hand or need to be used? add those mealsย to your week of dinners (meal plan 1) printable!!

STEP FOUR:
finish filling out your dinner plan. keep in mind which nights you might need a faster option (when hubby comes home from work late at night, or you’re stuck running kids to practices right up until dinnertime!) and plan accordingly. if there’s anything special happening (a kiddo performing in a play, or hubby getting a promotion) plan to make something they love for dinner that night!
printable4

selfie

STEP FIVE:
here’s where you get to decide between a couple of options. you can either a) have every meal totally planned out or b) give your family a limited number of options for breakfast & lunch. example: oatmeal, fruit, eggs & toast are available for breakfast this week! OR monday: oatmeal, tuesday, eggs with fruit salad, wednesday: toast and oatmeal, etc. (choose either the meal planner 2 or 3 to assist you with whichever choice you make)
printable2

printable5

printable6
(again, excuse the crappy print job ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I promise they actually look awesome)

STEP SIX:
with your week of meals fully planned, all that’s left to do is write that grocery list and hit the store! I find it easiest to go by meal type, then recipe when writing my list, in order to make sure I get every ingredient I need and don’t miss anything!! I generally start with dinner and work my way back to breakfast, then end with snacks.
printable3

after I go shopping, I like to make everything easily accessible throughout the week by washing and storing things in easy-to-grab containers. snacks-on-the-go and easily seen breakfast items ensure everyone has a chance to get in the most important meal of the day… and not have to buy food out if they get hungry!

but food prepping is a post for another time ๐Ÿ˜‰

see?!
EASY.

let me know how your own meal planning adventure goes โค

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