Beginners Guide to Weekly Meal Planning (Free Templates)

Even in the home office, the work routine often ends up running over the entire organization of personal life and, when you realize it, you are devouring some ultra-processed food in front of the computer. Or constantly experience the frustrating feeling of throwing food in the trash while cleaning the fridge. It isn’t effortless to get organized to have good food planning.

Therefore, we will help you by giving you tips and ideas for a simple and tasty weekly menu, individual or family.

There are several reasons why you must do weekly meal planning, whether it be for fitness or saving etc.

Some of such reasons to include are :

Plan meals to reduce the mental load:

The first undeniable advantage; planning meals for the week reduces our mental load. When you come home from work at 6.30 p.m., after having picked up the children from the nursery, the nanny’s, or the daycare, you would like to have only one gesture to make dinner ready. That is right, everyone is tired, and everyone is hungry!

If you know what to eat, have all the ingredients on hand, and know-how quickly it will be ready, the stress generated by fatigue and hunger is much more bearable. And if you have planned a small bowl of soup or a few raw vegetables to snack on before the meal, we limit the damage even more by adding the portion of vegetables that feels good. By planning your meals according to your schedule, you avoid disaster on rush days, you know what to cook, what to prepare ahead on more relaxed days, and you know what to wear. The shopping lists, you will never go shopping without your shopping list again, hoping to find meal ideas along the way.

Plan meals to save time:

The second advantage and not the least; planning meals for the week saves time. Generally speaking, planning has the advantage of always saving time. When you know exactly what is on the menu for the 7 days of the week, you save time when it comes to cooking, when making the shopping list but also during the shopping. Once the menus are established for the week, it is very easy to make the shopping list right away. Then, at the supermarket with a shopping list that you will have made beforehand, you will no longer find yourself walking the shelves in search of a little inspiration. No longer will you waste time wondering what you are going to do for dinner for the whole week. You will no longer have to go out at the last minute to buy a jar of pickles to accompany the raclette. This waste of time will be over once you get into the habit and reflex of planning your menus and doing your shopping accordingly.

Plan your menus to save money:

Here the key lies above all in the shopping list and to make a smart shopping list, you must first have gone around the cupboards and fridge and have established the menus for the week. Without it, you run the risk of buying products you do not need, of mistaking the quantities and therefore of buying too much or not enough. The shopping list allows you to stay focused on the essentials and not be tempted by unnecessary purchases.

How to Put Together a Simple Weekly Menu: A Beginner’s Guide

You can put together a weekly meal plan by following the given tips.

Meal planning goals

Determine the reasons why you want to plan meals. Are you trying to eat healthier? Or save money? You might have to go to the grocery store 10 times a week and look ridiculous. Knowing what your main motivations and goals are, can serve as a guide for the recipes you choose.

For example, if you are looking to eat healthier meals, you will likely want inspiration from reading blogs or cookbooks about healthy foods for a balanced diet. You may also have to opt for certified farm produce, meat, and organic dairy products.

As you are trying to save money, you can plan to use some coupons during your meal planning sessions. If you need less chaos for your life, you can add a slow cooker or two recipes to your weekly list that usually produce leftovers and can be cooked all day without moving a finger to review.

Use the Internet

Make an online list to keep track of the recipes on the internet. The internet is an excellent source for recipes as you can find the ones that will suit your needs, whether they are healthy or gluten-free options or autumn food ideas. However, it can be difficult to keep track of all these options. The easiest way to do this is to create an account on Pinterest and create a recipe board.

With the additional internet program for Pinterest, you can easily “pin” the recipes and store them on your board when you navigate online.

Freezing is necessary

For a healthy and practical weekly menu, freezing homemade dishes instead of industrialized ones is the best solution, since processing ends up removing all the nutritional value of food. Also, having separate portions for the day to day makes preparing food much more practical, leaving you freer for other day-to-day chores.

Use your list of ingredients to build a shopping list

On a separate piece of paper (or even an index card), write down what to buy from the grocery store and group products by location or type so you can easily check what is in your cart. For example, consider all the agricultural products you need before moving on to seasoning.

Make sure you include the weekly merchandise your family needs as well. You want to run out of toilet paper on Wednesday morning and must go shopping again.

It is recommended that you complete the shopping list the evening before you go to the supermarket. That way you are ready to leave the next day.

Shopping list

To help you when shopping, we have listed some items that may be essential when setting up your weekly family menu.

Check out:

  • To compose breakfast and afternoon snacks: coffee, cereal, chocolate, sweetener, a loaf of bread, juice, yogurt, cereal bar, cookies and toast, jam, milk, curd, and cold cuts of your choice (cheese, mortadella, ham, etc.).
  • Canned products: tuna, sardines, sour cream, condensed milk, tomato sauce, olives, and corn.
  • Meat and meat products: beef, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, eggs, chicken, fish, butter, or margarine.
  • Vegetables: here you can choose the spices, vegetables, fruits, and vegetables of your preference, but our suggestions are potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, cassava, apple, banana, grapes, mango, orange, passion fruit, green smell, paprika, cumin, broth and vegetables, and paprika.
  • Groceries: rice, beans, wheat flour, sugar, yeast, olive oil, oil, popcorn, pasta, cornstarch, oats, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, salt, vinegar, lentils, and soy.

Use a filing cabinet and colored tabs for paper recipes and cookbooks:

They know you still want to open your mother’s cherished cookbook to access these time-tested recipes. You may also prefer to print the recipes from the Internet and save them in physical copies. You can mark the recipes you like from cookbooks with sticky notes and make a little note there to refresh your memory. Organize printed recipes using file tabs.

You can separate recipes in the filing cabinet in several ways, including the following:

  • Dedicate another section for starter recipes, starters, side dishes, and desserts.
  • Sort the recipes according to their level of difficulty or if they are “easy” or “difficult” to prepare.
  • Fill in a few sections with seasonal recipes or for year-end parties.

Check with Your Family to Make Sure the Recipes are Correct

You can even organize a weekly get-together for all family members to choose recipes together. Rather than be a chore, think of it as a fun way to discover new foods and dishes. Do not forget to fill in at least a couple of cooked recipes before each week instead of planning a whole week of new recipes.

If you prefer to choose weekly recipes yourself, this is fine too. All you must do is check well that everyone seated at the table agrees with what you put on your list. Look for recipes during the week and complete your selection on Friday.

Keep Track of Your Weekly Recipes with a Calendar

This can be as simple as marking each day of the week along with your chosen recipes and storing them in the refrigerator. Also, you can use a desk calendar or a calendar if you want more permanent records from one week to the next than you eat.

If you and your family members are knowledgeable about technology, you can use Google Calendar to share with family members and add reminders or lists as needed. Then everyone can access it from their devices at any time.

Meal Planning Myths

There are certain myths which often make people skeptical about meal planning some of these are:

Renewing Recipe

One of the most common myths surrounding meal planning is the idea that if you are meal planning then you have to renew or use a different recipe every day, however, as our guide suggests that is not the case. You can use the same recipe but you can spice up your life by mixing different recipes.

Hectic Activity

Another myth that keeps people far from meal planning is the misconception that making a weekly meal plan is a very hectic task and there is a grain of truth in it but using our template you can create a weekly meal plan quickly and easily.

Shopping for planning formidable task

This myth revolves around the idea that shopping collectively for a whole week or month is a formidable task and many important things are left out but thanks to online shopping it is way too easy to shop today than ever before.

Weekly Meal Planning Templates

One of the things that take up the most time is shopping and thinking about what we must cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. However, if on Sunday before going to bed we had a list of what we are going to eat each day and its ingredients, we could spend less time at the supermarket and every day we would go to a shot. For all this, we want to do our bit so that you can better organize and optimize your time.

We are offering a free printable weekly meal planning template for you that you can download for free and that will help you organize your weekly home menu. Download it here!

Meal Plan Excel Template 01

Meal Plan Word Template 01

Meal Plan Word Template 02

Meal Plan Word Template 03

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Meal Plan Word Template 06

Meal Plan Word Template 07

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Meal Plan Word Template 10

Meal Plan Word Template 11

Meal Plan Word Template 12

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Meal Plan Word Template 15

Meal Plan Excel Template 02

Meal Plan Excel Template 03

Meal Plan Excel Template 04

Tips for Weekly Meal Planning

A few tips to remember while making your weekly meal plan are :

  • If you go shopping all week, you should consider the shelf life of the food. Plan to eat the meat earlier in the week so that you can eat it within 3 days of buying it. Also, plan for vegetarian meals later in the week or freeze some meat for later consumption.
  • Before choosing recipes for the week, check the refrigerator to see if anything should be consumed. This will be useful for avoiding food waste and for an advantage in decision making.
  • You should always try to have a contingency plan (for example, whole-wheat pasta with a glass of precooked sauce and a few frozen vegetables or scrambled eggs with a slice of toast). It is not possible to plan for every scenario, nor should you try.
  • When storing products in the refrigerator, make sure you know where everything is and do not put the prepared ingredients or leftovers on the back of the refrigerator.
  • Include the snacks in your weekly menu. You need to select the snacks you want in advance so that you are not tempted to buy too much at the supermarket.

FAQs

How do I make a weekly meal plan?

Creating a healthy weekly meal plan that helps you prepare your meals during the week is not a difficult thing, however, it requires discipline and organization. You can use our free template to do it more efficiently.

What are the factors to consider when planning meals?

How many people are there and what are their food preferences? Is it a dinner for many friends or just for your family? Only then will you be able to precisely define the number of ingredients you need to buy and put together your shopping list.

How templates can help while making a weekly meal plan

Templates can help while making a weekly meal plan by making the process personalized, convenient, and less time-consuming.

Planning the meals for the week requires a little effort at the beginning since you must sit down and think about what you are going to eat during the next 7 days. If you never plan your meals, Planning the meals for the week requires a little effort at the beginning since you must sit down and think about what you are going to eat during the next 7 days. If you never plan your meals, you might think it is a waste of time but when you know exactly what is on the menu for the 7 days of the week, you save time when it comes to cooking when making the shopping list but also during the shopping.