Monthly meal planning seems like an overwhelming task but it doesn’t have to be – it can actually be quite simple. I’m going to show you how create a monthly meal plan fast and easy!
(This post probably contains affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is quite boring, but you can read it here if you’d like!)
Monthly meal planning is NOT hard, as a matter of fact, I think it’s simpler than planning any other way (including weekly)!
Why to meal plan monthly
1 SAVE TIME
You’re already sitting down to meal plan (maybe weekly?) with your planner, calendar, meal ideas, etc. Why get out all this stuff 4 times instead of 1??? That in itself would save you time but where the real time savings comes in is the decision factor.
If you’re planning for a week, you have to narrow down all. the. options. into 7 days. When you’re working with a full month, you grab a few ideas and plug them in and you’re done.
2 SAVE MONEY
You’ll save money at the grocery store by having a master list for the month. Plus you’ll be able to shop the sales because you know the plan ahead of time!
If you’re not a natural planner, don’t worry this is not that hard. And will help you save lots of time (and money by not being in the store all the time!).
How to Monthly Meal Plan
1 Theme Nights
This is by far the quickest way to meal plan – you set up certain types of food or cooking for certain nights of the week based on your schedule. I’m sure you’ve heard of Taco Tuesday, right???
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be a certain type of food if you think your family will get bored often. As a matter of fact, I don’t recommend that. I recommend starting with HOW to cook instead of WHAT to cook – like Slowww cooker Sunday or Sheet Pan Saturday.
2 Work down, not across
I know the natural tendency is to go across, filling in week 1 then week 2, etc. But working down is much faster! Say you’re starting with Slow Cooker Sunday. Since you’re already looking at crockpot recipes, instead of deciding on ONE meal you’re grabbing 4 that you want to make.
Now all Sundays are done. Move on.
Want to watch a video version of this and meal plan for a month with me? Check it out here!
3 Find recipes
This is the part you dread, yes? You could absolutely open some cookbooks, flip through magazines, or open Pinterest.
But it’s SO overwhelming!
Now, I know you might not love searching Pinterest for some top, kid-friendly recipes all the time. BUT I DO! So I created the Ultimate Theme Nights + Recipes list. It’ll save you SO much time with dozens of kid-friendly recipes that match each theme night! Grab it here.
4 Optimize for grocery shopping
What on earth do I mean by that? Ok, so before you make yourself 4 grocery shopping lists, I want to encourage you to try and save even MORE time by going to the store less.
Put all the recipes that require fresh ingredients (read: spoil fast) in the 1st and 3rd weeks. Then all the meals that use pantry, frozen, or items that don’t spoil quickly in the 2nd and 4th weeks.
This allows you to only go to the grocery store twice a month!
5 Create grocery list
Once you have your meal plan set, you can go ahead and make your grocery lists. If you’re going to try out the two week method, you can always put a little color coded dot or something for items for the 2nd week.
Don’t forget… online grocery shopping is a HUGE time-saver! See if your local grocery store offers online shopping (with parking lot pick-up or delivery). You’ll totally get the fee back in money saved not walking down the aisles (especially with kids!)
Where to shop online
These are places that I have used or someone I trust has used. If you’ve had a good experience with a different service please drop it in the comments below so I can add it!
Click to be taken directly there:
Thrive Market (my absolute favorite!)
WALMART GROCERY (CLICK FOR A $10 COUPON)
You need an an Amazon Prime subscription for the next two, if you don’t have one click here for a FREE 30 day trial!
There you have it. Now go grab your monthly meal planner and start meal planning LESS!