The Ultimate Guide To Monthly Meal Planning For Beginners

Are you ready to become a master of meal planning? Whether it’s your first time or not, this post is the perfect guide! We’ll take things one step at a time and discuss how batch cooking – otherwise known as Cooking in Bulk- helps save both money and precious minutes. With our monthly meal plan templates, beginners will be amazed by just how simple creating weekly meals can really be. Let’s begin: mastering menu design has never been so easy!

Why Meal Plan?

I discovered meal planning by accident. It was around the time I became a parent and realized that the one thing my kids said to me without fail was, “what’s for tea?” There has never been a day when either of my kids has not asked me that question. I hated not answering them because it opened up the door for them to start demanding foods that I didn’t have in the house, and then a row would often occur. So each Sunday, I grabbed my notebook and started preparing a weekly meal plan. Above each day of the week, I wrote a meal, then scribbled a quick shopping list of any ingredients I needed for those meals. Voila, that was the most basic meal plan known to man!

What is meal planning?

Meal planning isn’t just about getting dinner ready in a jiffy – it can also be utilized to make delicious yet healthy meals! Think of it as an insurance policy for your diet, helping you plan ahead and create portion-controlled nutritious dishes. And with the right meal preps, stress at dinnertime goes out the window, so you don’t have any surprises or panicked trips to the store when hunger strikes. So why not give meal planning a go today? You’ll soon make healthier dietary choices without even batting an eyelid!

Make meal planning easier with a personalized tool! Think ahead and create a weekly or monthly dish map that effortlessly fits into the family’s schedule. No more frenzied decision-making come dinnertime — you’ve got this plan mapped out for success, organized ‘til the last bite!

The benefits of using a monthly meal planning calendar.

Today, we inhabit a world where life is to be lived at full speed. From putting in the hours at work to intensifying our social circles and squeezing every last second out of quality time with family, it seems there’s no stopping us! We are partaking in after-school activities, and sports clubs and, throwing more parties than ever before – making up for lost (and non-existent) times gone by. With all this going on, we think we don’t have time to make delicious food to feed our family.

Even though we have access to nutritious meals, many of us still fall for convenience and reach for those sugary or salty treats instead. We’re a country with an addiction to fast food because we can get delicious junk food in no time!

Super-organized folks know that having a meal planner is the key to eating healthy and avoiding lazy, unappetizing ready meals in emergencies. It’s like having your own personal nutrition guru!

The benefits of using a meal planner are:

  • Super speedy meals whenever you need them
  • Healthy home cooked meals, packed full of goodness
  • Always knowing what’s for tea every evening
  • Wider choice of meals
  • Less food wastage
  • Less impulse purchasing in the supermarket
  • Healthy meal plans
  • Less salt and sugar in the diet

 Do you find yourself at a loss for what to cook each day? If so, meal planning is your friend! Once you get into the habit of organizing your meals ahead of time – whether it’s weekly or monthly – see how much calmer and more prepared mealtimes become. You’ll never look back after taking this proactive step in food preparation… no more scrambles around 6pm trying to figure out dinner .

Making monthly food plans is like going out for a run. The hardest part is starting!

How to make a weekly meal planner.

For a smooth transition into the great wide world of monthly meal planning, you should start off by making yourself an awesome weekly plan! This is your chance to find some recipes that both delight and satisfy your family. You’ll discover which ingredients work best for each dish as well as the amount needed – so get cooking! With these insights, we can confidently set sail on our monthly foodie voyage. Bon appétit everyone!

  1.  Take note of all your favorite family meals. Whether you like it spicy, or savory, jot down seven scrumptious dishes to tantalize the taste buds each week. No need for a master chef menu here; just keep track of reliable recipes everyone loves!
  2. Write a quick list of the regular activities you attend each day and evening From the office to soccer practice, there’s no denying that life is busy – and it seems like we’re all constantly on the go! To make sure you have time for home-cooked meals each day, take a moment to review your daily responsibilities and plan appropriately.

For example: On Wednesday nights, when the kid’s swimming lessons keep you out later than usual, who has the energy to whip up an elaborate dinner? The answer is no one! don’t plan to cook a meal from scratch after swimming, leave the more complicated meals for the nights you are free.

Congratulations! You now have an organized plan of attack – busy days, leisure time, and delicious meals. now you can start to get your week organized!

Weekly meal plan calendar

Shopping for your family’s meals just got a whole lot easier with this weekly menu planner and grocery list! Don’t let meal planning overwhelm you – these convenient pages are designed to work perfectly with my simple planners, allowing you to whip up delicious yet healthy dishes that the entire fam will love.

Weekly menu planner 

This is a simple weekly menu planner with a grocery list. Has space to jot down anything you may have run out of or any ingredients you need to buy. To download this weekly meal planner template, click below!

weekly meal planner

How to use the weekly meal planner

Jot down on the weekly meal planner all your activities this week. Remember to include the weekends and evenings you are busy and cannot spend much time cooking. I often need a quick meal for the kids if their sports activities clash with meal times!

weekly meal planner

On the busiest evenings,  schedule the quickest and easiest meals to make from your list, then plan the most challenging meals, which take up the longest time to prepare, onto the evenings where you are free. For example, pasta with a homemade (defrosted) sauce is our go-to meal when we need to be at karate by 5 pm. It’s quick but still healthy. Read this post if you’d like to check out my batch cooking recipe for freezable pasta sauce. All the meals that I have circled have been pre-cooked in batches and frozen to make mealtimes quicker. You can read how to batch cook in this post.

weekly meal planner template

Weekly Meal Planner template.

This meal planner is slightly more in-depth meal than the weekly menu planner and is excellent to print if you have small children who have snacks and packed lunches for school, as it includes a space for breakfast, lunches, and dinners. This meal template planner is a must for budget meal planning! To download, click here!

Meal planning by theme

You can organize your weekly meal planner by themes: An Italian night or family favorites, vegetarian night. Themed menus can take the boredom away from mealtimes, inspire fabulous dishes, and get creative and culinary juices flowing!

My ideal night is English night as I eat my favorite egg and chips!

To download this blank weekly menu planner template, Click here .

To download the meal plan with meals click here.

The Family Meal Planning calendar

This meal planner is a favorite in our house as everyone gets to eat their favorite meals during the week.

My advice would be to start planning meals for a week until you get the hang of it. Using a family menu planner is a great way to get the family to eat together and a great place to begin because you are not having to learn new dishes and probably have a lot of the ingredients already in your pantry. Try different meal plans to see which works best for you!

Here’s One I Made Earlier!

if you want a head start I’ve made a whole weeks worth of food for you including breakfast , dinner lunch and snacks/desert so you can just jump right in here if you prefer! You can fi d the whole weekly meal plan here

Monthly meal planning calendar

Once you have got used to the weekly meal plan, it is time to start monthly meal planning! Take the meals you’ve been eating for the week and transfer them to the monthly meal planner! If you have a few other meals you’d like to add to your plan, you can replace some of the meals with those for a couple of days to mix things up a bit! Click here to get this monthly meal plan calendar.

Jotting down the meals, which take a lot of preparation, onto the quieter days on your planner ensures that you have plenty of time on those days to prep re the time-consuming meals.

monthly meal planner

Now you are in control of your meals for the entire week; you know what you will be eating and when you’ll be eating it, so now you need to write a shopping list to buy everything you need! To download my monthly meal planner and grocery list click here.

Meat such as chicken can be frozen and thawed the night before y u need it, ready to chuck into the slow cooker the following day.

In my post, Healthy Meal Prep Ideas, I will share some fantastic meal prep ideas to make it easy and quick to knock up those healthy meals in minutes. I’ll also be sharing with you my tips on how to prep those healthy meals for the ne t step in our meal prep extravaganza!


How can I use the monthly meal plan on a budget?

Mo thly meal planning is perfect for people on a budget because there are no special ingredients or expensive gadgets to purchase. All my meal planner templates are free to download, and you can get started straight away. All you need to do is follow the simple steps outlined above using the meals you already cook on your budget and start your monthly meal planning or your cheap weekly meal plan!

What are some good monthly dinner menu ideas?

I’ve put together some of my go-to family dinner recipes, which are also perfect for batch cooking and freezing to get you started, you can check them out by hitting the button below!

How do I make a healthy monthly meal plan?

You should find that the monthly meal planning lends itself perfectly to anyone on a healthy eating plan, as you can prepare and chop all your healthy foods in advance with a bit of planning and meal preparation. For more information on how meal prepping can help you create a healthy meal plan and healthy monthly meal plan on a bu get, click the button below!

How do I know which is the best meal planner for me?

If ou are new to meal planning I suggest you start on a weekly meal planner and stick to the same seven meals each day of the week. If you find one meal isn’t working for your family, then swap it for another meal. That’s the beauty of meal planning, you can adapt it entirely to fit your lifestyle! once you have got used to meal planning, you can move on to the monthly meal planner.

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