How to Make a 15 Minute Weekly Meal Plan

How to get started with meal planning to help save you money, time and energy in the kitchen. You'll reduce food waste, too. Find out how to construct a meal plan for the week in just 15 minutes. Go!

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Meal planning is SO important. 

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Honestly, gone are the days of takeaways and driving out to get emergency convenience food because I couldn't figure out what to do with all the odd ingredients I had in the fridge that just didn't go together. Getting a meal plan sorted saved me money, gave me more time in the week and kind of left me feeling like I was in control, because I knew what everyone was eating for dinner and lunch on any given day. I just strolled right on into the kitchen when people got hungry and got on with it. No staring blankly into the fridge. No thinking about what the heck we're going to all eat. 

It changed my cooking habits and allowed me to waste less food, too. 

But how do you get started on a meal plan? 

The good news is that it doesn't need to be complicated, and it doesn't take very long to do. 

Here's how I write my meal plan, each and every week, without fail. I hope it helps you too. 

1. Grab a cuppa
The first thing I do when I start my meal planning is put the kettle on. I make a cup of tea and then sit down somewhere comfy - at the dining table or curl myself up on the sofa with some cushions. Get a pad or sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Keep your phone handy. 

2. Find out what you want to cook
First of all, you need to have a list of things you want to eat that week. Take into account how many people are eating with you, too, so you don't cook (or buy) more food than you need. But even if you do, then brilliant - you have leftovers for a day or two to just reheat. I like to refer to my Pinned recipes saved on my phone - ones I've collected during the week or the month in my 'Recipes to Try' folder. I also scroll through my 'saved' tab on Instagram, where I save things that have caught my eye. Sometimes I sit next to a stack of cookbooks I like, and make a note of any recipes in there that I want to try. Other times I just recycle old family favourites. 

3. Write it all down
Once you have an idea of what you're going to cook - making sure you have recipes planned (including their leftovers) for 5-7 dinners and 5-7 lunches for the amount of people in your household - write them down in the top right hand corner of your sheet of paper. As you go, write down the ingredients you need for each recipe, along with the quantities you need, in the left of the piece of paper, in a list. Double check in the kitchen if you need to, if you're not sure if you have something. I once cleared out my cupboards and found 4 unopened jars of paprika - I'd bought them for recipes over the years not realising I already had them in the cupboard. What a waste of money! 

4. Go shopping
Once you have your list of recipes to cook, and ingredients you need, that's your meal plan done, and you just need to go shopping. I really like to shop online, because I can stay there on the sofa with my cushions and tea and I also get a glance of all the offers available in the online shop. It also shows me alternatives should I need to order something else if an item isn't in stock. I find personally that shopping for groceries online stops me being tempted to buy things that aren't on my list, bumping up the cost of the shop. I just search for each item, compare prices and add it to my list. 

5. Remind yourself 
Once you've got everything you need, write down the list of recipes in two columns. One is for evening meals and the other column is for lunches or snacks. Post it up on your fridge, or on a wall. I have an A4 stand-up blackboard that I keep on the kitchen worktop and I write on the week's meals with chalk, crossing them off once they're cooked. I always check the use-by dates so can juggle around the order of meals I'm cooking to make sure everything is used and nothing is wasted. 

That's your meal plan done (and actually - most likely - your shopping, too). 😊

How do you make a meal plan? Do you have any tips? Share them with me in the comments below, so they might help someone else...