I’ve been meal planning for some time now, and it’s made my life so much easier. But it’s not something fun that I love to do. Rather, I would sit down with my meal planner and kind of sigh and whine as I scroll through recipes on Pinterest and scratch out my grocery list. Awhile back, I told myself that there had to be a way to cut down on meal planning time. I decided to try planning for an entire month at once. Turns out, meal planning for a month does not take much more time than meal planning for a week. It’s awesome, and today I’m going to share with you how to meal plan for a month.
How to Meal Plan for a Month
This method has decreased the time and money we spend grocery shopping, reduced meal planning stress on the weekends (when we’re trying to scramble and get a menu together so we can go shopping), and made our lives easier.
I know we all have slightly different methods to our madness, but this should get you started if you want to learn how to meal plan for a month. I’ll break it down into steps.
I am going to be showing you how I use my Meal Planner…you can get one here, and use code BLOGREADER for 15% off because I love y’all!
First, have a monthy calendar to write in.
Before I start planning, I write in any upcoming holidays, evening soccer practices,family get-togethers, etc. so I can plan accordingly.
Next, assign a different type of food to each day of the week (you can modify as necesary for holidays and whatnot).
For example, for February, every Monday was Instant Pot night, Tuesday was a taco night, every Wednesday pasta, every Thursday Crock Pot, every Friday leftovers, etc. (I coordinated crock pot meals and leftovers with the nights I knew I’d be gone at Zumba or we had a soccer practice). This way, I was able to easily search for new recipes and quickly fill in the calendar. Example: I needed four pasta dishes – we had spaghetti twice, and then I used Pinterest to find two new pasta dishes. And because pasta night was on Wednesday, we had easy-to-serve pasta as leftovers on Thursdays.
This method makes it super simple, though – just meal plan for two weeks and then repeat for the second half of the month!
Buy meat, snacks, and canned/dry goods at Costco (or store of your choice) once a month.
We like to buy meat, snacks for the kids, and other staples at Costco. I make a Costco shopping list and look over the meal plan for the month. I write down “chicken” (or ground beef, or whatever) and then just tally how many chicken dishes I have planned for the month. I do this for all meats, pasta, and rice dishes. I just add snacks and everything else I want to pick up at Costco to the list.
Each week, look at your monthly plan and make a weekly grocery list.
This is super easy to do because the meals are already planned. It takes about ten minutes each week to write out the weekly menu and grocery list. The grocery lists are usually pretty short. Because we bought all our meat (and most snacks) at Costco, it mostly consists of produce, milk, eggs…that sort of thing. I stick the menu on the fridge and take the list to the store. Doing a weekly breakdown also gives me a chance to make adjustments if things come up for the week ahead.
And that’s it!
I probably spend an hour planning the monthly menu and shopping list, and much less time on the weekly menu and list. Easy peasy!
I use one of my Meal Planners (you can see them here), but all you really need is a calendar for the monthly planning and a sheet of paper for the weekly breakdown.
And while we’re talking meal planning…come join my FREE 30 Day Meal Planning Challenge and get free meal planning tips, recipes, and printables delivered to your inbox every week!
Have you tried meal planning for a month at a time?