A monthly meal planning template may be just the thing to solve more of your grocery and meal planning issues than you imagined could be possible. I’m guessing that you’re just as tired of meal planning as I am. Well, you’re in luck today because I have just what you need to get out of your rut and eliminate the monotony of repeatedly meal planning over and over again.
This post contains affiliate links. This supports my family and allows me to keep providing you with great resources. You can trust that I only promote products I love or would use myself. Read my full disclosure for more details.
Why Bother Making a Meal Plan?
Having a meal plan is one of the most important things we can do for our families.
- It Will Save You Money – Without a plan you’ll end up just eating whatever everyone feels like, with no consideration for the cost. This can easily double your grocery expenses as you end up paying double for your meat. I nearly always stock up on my chicken breast for $1.49/lb. when it’s on sale. If I was buying it every single week, I’d easily pay closer to $4.00/lb. When you don’t have a plan, it’s also much easier to succumb to fast food and pizza. I know … I love pizza, too, but it starts to add up. And when you realize that you’re paying $20 or more for a pizza that you could make for $5 at home, you can see how much money you could save by planning to make it at home.
- It Saves You Time – When you have a meal plan, you can go to the store once (or less) each week, buy everything you need and you won’t have to go back to the store again. You’re probably losing about an hour of your precious time whenever you make unnecessary trips to the grocery store. You can also plan some Cook Once, Eat Twice Meals into your week to save extra time.
- You can schedule in simple meals or complicated meals depending upon how busy your night will be.
A Meal Plan Should Simplify Your Life
I’ve written about How to Make a Frugal Meal Plan and I even showed you Making a Meal Plan in Under 10 Minutes. They’re great skills to have and each of them shows you how to make a weekly meal plan.
The problem with weekly meal plans, though, is that they require you to repeat the process over and over again.
But, meal planning is one of the most tedious things we have to do as moms. It feels like we are constantly having to think up meals and frankly, we get rather tired of doing it. I was just talking with some ladies today and we’re all in the same boat.
We struggle with inspiration and there are days that we just can’t think of another thing to cook. Those are the nights we eat something lame and boring like canned soup and toast or boxed macaroni and cheese. Yeah, we’ve been known to do that plenty of times.
We want to feed our families good food, though, so I know we can’t fall back on these meals all the time.
If you find yourself forgetting to do your meal planning, or eating the same things all the time, it’s time to come up with a different strategy.
How do you like the idea of creating a meal plan once and being able to use it over and over? I’m talking about a rotating monthly meal plan. And, NO, you won’t get bored eating the same things over and over. You can work in lots of variety if you like.
Make a Rotating Monthly Meal Plan to Simplify Your Life
When you make a rotating meal plan, it’s ideal to make one that will last you a month.
Why a month?
Well, it’s long enough that you won’t get bored with what you’re eating and meals won’t have to repeat too often for your family members.
And, when you’re using the same meal plan over and over, month after month, you’re done … no more meal planning, D.O.N.E., finished! Or, you could create a different one for each season. If you do that, you’ll be able to use seasonal foods and still only be planning 4 times per year.
How to Make A Monthly Meal Plan?
I know what you’re thinking …
Making a weekly meal plan is hard enough, how will I ever make a monthly meal plan?
1. Start by just making a list of your Family Favorites. What are the meals you make that are total winners? What does your spouse love and what meals get you praise from the kids?
2. Next, decide on Themes. There are 2 different ways to do themes with this kind of plan,
- Weekly Theme – Each week will focus on a protein, so you could have chicken week, beef, pork, seafood, vegetarian, etc., or
- Theme by days – Mondays = Meatless, Tuesdays = Mexican, Wednesday = Slow Cooker, etc.
The monthly meal plan printable pack includes tons of ideas for themed meals. Be sure to download it for inspiration.
3. Pull out a Monthly Calendar and start labeling your themes.
4. Start plugging in meals –
It’s a good idea to only plan 5-6 meals each week because odds are things will come up. Also, there will be leftovers to eat and honestly, our weeks just need some flexibility allowed.
5. Once you have your month filled out, it’s time to create your weekly shopping list, go grocery shopping, and institute your plan.
6. Always have a back-up plan –
There are times that following the meal plan just can’t happen. Maybe I’m sick, too busy, kids have something come up – you know, there’s always something. For this reason, I always have some Emergency Meals or Freezer Meals on hand. It prevents us from having to eat out and keeps our money in the bank. I love using MyFreezEasy because the subscription comes with 12 different kinds of meal plans (all kinds of diets), grocery lists, and a detailed todo list. You really can make up 10 of them in an hour. I talked about it here in Why Everyone Needs a Freezer Meal Plan.
7. Keep Your Past Meal Plans –
As you create and use meal plans, keep all your old meal plans in protective sleeves inside a binder. That way, you’ll be able to pull one out when you’re ready to change plans or the season changes.
Be sure to get the free Monthly Meal Plan download. It comes with a done-for-you month, lots of theme ideas, and a blank calendar to fill out yourself.