blog, meal planning, my journey

Meal Planning With Free Printable Menu

In our house, Sunday afternoons are for meal planning.  I make a menu almost every single week.  Sometimes I can stretch it to every other week depending on our schedule and how often we plan to eat at home.  Some weeks we are adventurous and are barely home; while other weeks, we are homebodies and live in pajamas.  I’m not great at following a rigorous schedule, so I meal plan in a way that I can pick and choose what I want based on how I feel that day.   I try to make sure that I have enough food on hand so I can be flexible.

Meal Planning Step By Step

Step 1: I browse through the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbooks or Pinterest and decide if I am going to make any recipes.  If I choose a recipe, I write it down on my handy dandy menu planning sheet that you can download at the bottom of this post.  I use the small lines on the left to write in the cookbook and page number or where I found a recipe on Pinterest and the Fuel type.  I ask for my hubby and son’s input to see if there is anything they are craving.  My kiddo almost 100% of the time will say, “TACO PIE!”  Which is his all time favorite thing to eat and is in the Trim Healthy Table book on page 119.  Hubby will almost 100% of the time say, “EGGROLL IN A BOWL!”  Which can be found in the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook on page 62.  I normally choose 8 dinners, 4 lunches, 4 breakfasts and 4 snacks.  Why 8 dinners when there are only 7 nights in a week? If I don’t make it to the grocery store, I can rest at ease because I still have one meal on hand as a backup. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are almost always the same choices because they are quick, simple, cheap and yummy. When I buy supplies for breakfast, lunch, and snacks there is always enough to make multiples so I just rotate them as I crave them.

Step 2: I go over the meals that I have chosen and decide if they are going to be enough for an all-in-one meal or if I need to add sides to make it stretch.  If I need to add a side to a dish, I write it on the menu with the meal.  Some questions that I ask myself:

  • Do I have enough variety in fuels? S, E, and FP?
  • Am I using a variety of meats? Because who can eat chicken every single night?
  • Where are my veggies? Do I need to add more?

Step 3: Now that my menu is looking pretty complete, I make a grocery list. I even add things that I know that I already have in the pantry and sometimes I add the measurements if I need to make sure that I purchase a large enough amount to accommodate more than one recipe. This is especially helpful with spices. I know I almost always have certain spices on hand, but what if it is almost out?  Who likes being in the middle of cooking dinner to find that you didn’t have enough of one of your ingredients?  Not me!  (Yes, I go back through the books again to make my list.  I’m sure if you’re super organized, you could make a list as you go.  But for some reason, that is just too overwhelming for my brain. (Plus, I may change my mind and it’s way easier to remove one line on my Menu Planning Sheet than it is to go through my long grocery list and figure out which ingredients I no longer need.)

Step 4: I take my grocery list and go grocery shopping in my pantry and fridge.  This is where I mark off anything that I don’t need to purchase.  Sometimes you buy things and don’t use it, so it’s a great way to realize you have two extra cans of black beans or a can of pumpkin that need to be used. Sometimes I’m shocked at how many bags of frozen broccoli I have accumulated.  But a Trim Healthy Mama can never have too much frozen okra!

Step 5: I place an order using the Walmart Grocery app.  I LOVE this thing!! If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to give it a chance.  While I am thankful we live in a place of easy access to food, I loathe grocery shopping.  Always have. Probably always will.  My kiddo also hates shopping so dragging him to the store is never fun. This saves my sanity!! If I can’t get something on the Walmart Grocery app, I will just pop in to the nearest grocery store to pick up the few lingering items.  Normally, it is only one or two things.

Having a Hard Time With Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks?

Here are some of my go-to breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.

Breakfast:

  • Eggs with bacon or sausage and sautéed zucchini
  • Pearl’s Sweatpants Oatmeal
  • Boiled egg whites, sprouted toast smeared with Light Laughing Cow Cheese and Polaner’s All Fruit, maybe a small apple
  • Oikos 000 Yogurt and a piece of fruit (For days I need a light breakfast.)

Lunch:

  • Leftovers!  Hallelujah!!  Something easy!!
  • Wasa or Ryvita crackers smeared with Light Laughing Cow Cheese, topped with tomato slices and sprinkled with mineral salt and pepper, a side of dill pickles
  • Turkey, pickle, Light Laughing Cow Cheese roll-ups with a side of sliced cucumbers sprinkled with mineral salt and pepper
  • Tuna mixed with mayo, mineral salt, and pepper on a low-carb tortilla, and sliced veggies or leftover veggies I may have that can fit in an S setting.

Snacks:

  • Oikos 000 yogurt and a piece of fruit
  • Sprouted pretzels, Light Laughing Cow Cheese, and Oikos 000 yogurt or a slice or two of turkey lunch meat
  • Nuts and Strawberries
  • Smoothie or Drink from one of the Trim Healthy Mama cookbooks or Pinterest

(Gasp) That was a LOT!!

If you are still hanging in there with me, I just want to say THANK YOU!! And as a token of my appreciation for your patience, I have created this handy dandy Menu Planning sheet to share with you!  Just click on the image below and it will direct you to the file that you can download or print.  I like to hang mine on the fridge.  Happy meal planning, y’all!!

Click On The Image To Download Or Print Your Free Menu

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