How to Meal Plan the Easy Way

Easy meal plan

Today I am sharing how to meal plan the easy way.  For years I have struggled to figure out “meal planning”.  I used to think it meant trying a bunch of different meals or stocking up on a lot of food.  This is why I have always given up in the past.  Finally, after years of meal plan confusion, I have figured out an easy meal plan that can work for anyone.

Easy Meal Plan

  1. Pick out 7 to 10 meals that you eat regularly.
  2. Jot down all the ingredients for each of these meals.
  3. Keep these meal notes where you can find them each week.
  4. Choose the 7 meals you want to make this week.
  5. Take your ingredient list over to the pantry and fridge and see what you already have.
  6. Only shop for the ingredients that are missing.
  7. Now you will USE everything you already have and only buy what is NEEDED.

See How I Meal Plan:

Easy Meal Plan Details

Start by thinking about what you eat all the time.  Most people eat a variation of the same meal over and over every week.  I like to shop once a week for everything we need.  Which saves time and money.

On a sheet of paper write down all the ingredients for each meal.  Use a different sheet of paper for each meal, but you could easily do this on your phone or computer too.  I keep all of these meal ideas in a 3 ring binder along with other recipes that I use frequently.

Picking Meals

Each Monday I grab my stack of meal ideas and pick out 5 to 6 meals.  My goal is to only shop for what we can eat in a week.  Usually, we have leftovers one or two nights of the week which is why I only shop for 5 to 6 meals.  Now I take the ingredient list over to my pantry and fridge and see what we already have.  On my shopping list, I only write down the missing ingredients.  This is so easy!  Now you will save money because you won’t accidentally buy fresh ingredients that you already have.

I also keep a separate list of weekly items.  There are about 10 items that we need every week no matter what we eat for dinner.  These items include milk, butter, bread, and certain snacks we like.  This list is typed out on my phone and is easy to access when I am at the store.

Meal Example

This may seem crazy, but I write down simple meals too.  For instance, if we are having hamburgers I write down everything we need for that meal.


  • Burgers
  • Buns
  • Ketchup
  • Pickles
  • French Fries 
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado

Having the obvious written out makes my shopping trip quick and easy and takes all the thinking out of the process.  I simply go off the list.

Benefits of Meal Planning

There are so many benefits to meal planning!  The two most important ones are saving money and not wasting food.  We are more organized and aren’t wondering what we are going to eat at the last minute each night.  By having a plan we are less likely to go out for a meal which in turn keeps us healthier.

“People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less,” according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

Free Meal Plan Printouts

I have made some meal plan printouts to share in case you want to get started with meal planning.  This printout can be laminated and reused weekly.

Click the image below to get your Free Printout.

Weekly List Click Here


Grocery List Click Here

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