With the question of what’s for dinner always looming, it’s time to get organized with a weekly meal planner that is a FREE printable. Here we teach you how to make your meal plans with our weekly meal planner template with a grocery list.
Busy Mom Weekly Meal Planner + Free Printable
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Would you agree that the #1 asked question in everyone’s home is “What’s for dinner?” And the #1 thought most moms have is, “What on earth am I going to make for dinner tonight?”
I hate deciding what we are having for dinner because I almost can guarantee someone will have something to complain about the meal I cooked.
And on top of that, we have to think who has practice, or church activities, or meetings that we need to be at?
From the time the kids get out of school until bedtime we hit the ground running hard with all the different events going on in the kid’s lives, which leaves little or no time for me to think about what we are having for dinner. And I will admit to being frustrated at 4:00 p.m. wondering how I’m going to get the chicken defrosted for a quick pasta dinner.
Do you know what’s saved me though? Simply choosing to meal plan at the beginning of the week.
I know that you are probably thinking, “I’m too busy to sit down and plan out the meals for the week.” I can tell you when I sat down and took the time to start meal planning is not only SIMPLIFIED my life, but it also SAVED ME MONEY at the store and at fast-food restaurants.
Have I piqued your interest and you want to know more about how to meal plan?
How to Meal Plan
Make a List of Your Favorite Meals
The first thing to do is to make a cheat sheet of your favorite meals. Check out these 15 quick and easy ideas.
Print off our FREE Family Favorites Meal Planner Here! Write down what the favorite meals are at your house! It doesn’t matter if they are complex like Chicken Madeira or as simple as tacos.
Have this be a family affair where everyone gets to put their input in for their favorite meals. This can be a list that you continually add things too! This will serve as your go-to cheat sheet while meal planning!
Print Out Our Free Weekly Meal Planner Template With a Grocery List
Print off a bunch of copies of our FREE Weekly Meal Planning Guide. This has the perfect amount of space for each weekday as well as your grocery list all in one place!
There is even a monthly calendar, a sectioned grocery list to fill in, and space to plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t just print one at a time, print a bunch so you can start meal planning for the following week without having to come print off more. You can even laminate it and use it over and over again if that’s more your style.
Make Your Meal Plan
After you have made your master list of meals and printed your free meal planning guide it’s time to plan. Some people plan meals according to what they have on hand in the pantry/ freezer or what is on sale that week. These are both ways to save at the store!
RELATED ARTICLE: How Can I Spend Less Money at the Grocery Store?
What works for our family is having a family meal planning session, it’s actually a job in our house because I was seriously tired of the kids always complaining about what we were eating.
We gather together every Sunday in the living room for 10-15 minutes and plan out what we want to eat. We pick easier things on our busier nights and more complex things when we are going to be home.
Everybody has a say in what we are eating, which means they can’t complain at dinnertime. We always have our master list out just in case we need some ideas.
Other Simple Meal Planning Options
If you don’t have time to sit down with your family and plan meals, we have done all the work for you with our weekly meal plans that come out each and every week to make your life easier. You can sign up to get them sent straight to your inbox!
A Few Meal Planning Tips I Have Learned:
-Don’t try to have a complex dinner idea every night. Throw in some Go-to Lazy Girl Meals, especially on busy nights!
-Don’t plan to cook every single night. It’s okay to have pizza night or burger night at your favorite hamburger stand. And leftovers are great too!
-Keeping it simple is best with meal planning so you don’t get overwhelmed, especially starting out!
I know meal planning as a family does not work for everyone. Some people like to take a few quiet minutes and do it on their own or use our weekly meal plans that are all ready to go. There is no right way. You need to do what works best for you and your family!
Create Your Grocery List!
At this point, everyone is excused in our family to go off and play again so I can focus on making a grocery list. If I am headed to the store I use the side of the Menu Planner where the grocery list is, but let’s be honest, I am addicted to Walmart Grocery Pick up for several reasons so I usually just do that!
Reasons Why I love Walmart Grocery Pick Up!
- It is so convenient to pop on the computer and start my grocery shopping with my recipe right in front of me. I can go recipe by recipe and I have a lot smaller chance of forgetting something.
- I don’t have to wander the isles for 10 minutes looking for the obscure items I can never find at the store.
- I know my total for the most part! Walmart Grocery gives you a running tab of how much your groceries cost, which is awesome for budgeting. The only thing that is not exact is the stuff that needs to be weighed, but from my experience, it is within a couple of dollars of the total with what they estimate.
- After the shopping is complete. I pick a convenient time to pick up my groceries at my local Walmart.
- I drive there park in the spot and they bring my groceries out to me.
- I don’t have to worry about getting the little kids dressed bright and early on Monday morning to go to the store to do our weekly “big shopping”. Okay who am I kidding, I am usually still in my Pajamas too!
- If you haven’t tried Walmart Grocery they give you $10 to try it out. Just click here!
Include Everything You Need on the Shopping List!
After you have planned all the dinners for the week, don’t forget about the things you need to pack lunches, items for your pets, cleaning products, and laundry detergent. As we as your hair care products and toilet paper. The last thing you want to do is have to go back to the store to pick this stuff up!
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How to Meal Plan for a Month
Part of the free meal planning printable is this amazing Monthly Meal Planner Calendar. When planning meals for an entire month, keep in mind ingredients you can use up with different recipes.
Go through and inventory what you have and need for all your meals and start filling in spots! If you’re the type to shop once a week, break your grocery lists into what you will need weekly so your ingredients will stay fresh and not spoil before you have the chance to use them.
Post Your Meal Plan
It’s time to post the Meal Plan on the fridge for all to see! By doing this your kids will never ask you what’s for dinner again! (okay they will, but direct them to the list to look). Posting it also gives you a reminder of what to get out and what you planned, so you know longer have to stand in front of the freezer wondering what on earth you will make for dinner tonight.
So are you up for the challenge of saving money and time by Meal Planning? Tell us what works for you with meal planning in the comments!
Looking for Great Recipes? Check out these favorites!
Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!