After battles with a notebook, pen, and my brain for months when trying to write a full weekly meal plan, I’ve figured out something a lot less complicated. I would sit for an hour at a time trying to come up with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week as well as shopping lists to go accordingly in order to save money and waste less. The breakfasts usually got changed anyways, the lunches were half-assed based on work schedules, and sometimes the dinners went according to plan. I’ve decided that an hour is a lot of time and energy to waste on something that doesn’t really get used. Recently, we’ve come up with a weekly layout that we try and stick to for dinners only. I usually stock up on eggs, bacon, avocados, flax/chia meal for hot cereal, yogurt&fruit , kraut, etc. for breakfasts and combine them with leftovers for lunch and put all my real effort into dinners. We now have a guideline to follow which is based on this:
Tuesdays: Burgers or Tacos
Wednesday: Ethnic or Exotic/Offal Meats
Thursday: Pizza/Pasta Night (recently changed from Fridays because of fish specials at work)
Saturday: Date Night
Sunday: Leftovers, Comfort Foods, or Dinner with Family
This has made it SO much easier to sit down and figure out what I need for groceries. Every other week or so, on Mondays we do a whole chicken and use the leftovers for lunches, make stock, and soup for the week. Of course there are days I work until close and we don’t get to do dinner together and we just work around it. I write down what I plan on having for dinners for the rest of the week usually on Sunday night and grocery shop on Monday. I know when to pull what out of the freezer and what I can use in different meals to save from having to throw anything out. We also enjoy vegetarian meals from time to time so the pizza and pasta night gives us a ton of room to play with either a tapioca pizza toppings or some zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with a ton of fresh vegetables.
I hope this helps if you are a meal planner like me and if not, give it a try! I promise it will save you money and make life less hectic whether you’re just cooking for yourself or a family.