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how to meal plan for a month

by Heather

We are officially closer to the weekend!  Easter got here waaaaaaaay too soon.  Time is just going by too fast!  I’m looking forward to a weekend spent with lots of family.  What about you?

This month I’ve taken a burden off my shoulders.  If I don’t have something planned or at least in the back of my mind for dinner, it turns into this mad dash of throwing something together, while I’m trying to feed Hunter at the same time.  Evenings are so much more relaxed when I’m a girl with a dinner plan.  Now I’m a girl with a month of dinner plans!

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I’m not sure where I got this idea in my mind to plan for a month, but once I thought of it, I had fun doing it!

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1. Figure out how many meals a week you will cook

I know I won’t cook dinner every day.  We tend to have leftovers in the house, so one night we might eat those.  Other times we could go out/over to someone’s house for dinner.  I like to keep a couple days open.  I planned to cook 5 nights a week.  In reality, I alternate between 4-5 times, but by planning 5 I’ll have extra meals to go past the month.

5 meals a week X 4 weeks = 20 meals to plan

2. Break the meals into categories

20 meals may sound like a lot, but when you break it down into categories, it’s actually pretty easy.  It also ensures you have variety each week.

My 5 categories: crockpot, vegetarian, casserole, salad and miscellaneous

Crockpot

Vegetarian

Casseroles

Salads

  • salmom caesar salad
  • chicken, blue cheese and pear salad
  • asian chicken salad
  • antipasta salad

Miscellaneous

  • salmon feta and quinoa patties
  • pizza
  • stuffed bell peppers
  • steak with chive butter

The recipes without links are one I’ll come up with as I make it.

3. Go online and find recipes

Since I’m working through a year of crockpot recipes, that category was easy. Recipes are linked above.  If there is no link then I’m coming up with the recipe on my own.

I created a bookmark on my phone – meal planning – and saved all of the recipes for the month there to make them easy to find when I go to cook.

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4. Grocery shop to have the main ingredients on hand 

I find grocery shopping for an entire month a bit overwhelming, but I wanted to take a little pressure out of each weekly shopping trip.  I looked through each recipe and added up how much meat, beans, chicken stock and grains I needed.  Then I picked it all up at the grocery store.  I filled the freezer with the meat I know I’ll need, so when it’s time for that meal, I’ll just have to pull it out and not have to worry about running to the store.

Each week I’ll look through the recipes and see what vegetables and small items I need and pick those up.  Hopefully that makes for a smaller grocery trip.

5. Break out each week of meals

After I had all 5 categories of recipes filled up, I just took one meal from each of them for the week.  So every week I ended up with a crockpot, vegetarian, casserole, salad and miscellaneous recipe.  So easy!

Last thing I did was print off the handy list below.  Each time I make a meal I’ll cross it off the list.

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How do you meal plan?  Have you ever tried meal planning for an entire month? 

I hope these recipes/ideas help spark some dinner excitement!

Heather

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6 comments

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean March 28, 2013 - 8:39 am

love this! thanks for including my quinoa!

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Fit Mama March 28, 2013 - 9:06 am

I’m making it today! It looks so good, excited to try it 🙂

Reply
Erica March 28, 2013 - 8:54 am

Such a great idea! I always meal plan for the week (determine what we’re having for dinner each night and what we need for lunches/breakfasts/what we have on hand/what we need etc). I’d love to try and do it for a month

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Carol March 28, 2013 - 7:23 pm

I love the crockpot honey sauced chicken. I’ve made it a few times. Last week we had it over quinoa instead of rice, our first time trying quinoa I might add, and it was good. I’m interested in checking out your other recipes using it.

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may meal plan + no recipe dinners | May 3, 2013 - 2:28 pm

[…] Dinner’s this week have been definitely not very planned.  Check out the final week in my planning from last month… […]

Reply
Margie June 22, 2016 - 12:50 pm

Would be nice to have a grocery list with the monthly menu. I know, I can do it, just would be a time saver.

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