Easy Meal Planning for Beginners (FREE Guide)

Meal Planning is one of those things that can seem daunting at first, but it’s really not as hard as it seems. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to save time and money by planning your meals ahead of time. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips for getting started with meal planning as a beginner. So read on for some tips and tricks that will help make meal planning a breeze!

Meal Planning for Beginners Guide PIN

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meal planning for beginners

1. Meal planning can help you save money and eat healthier
2. Plan your meals for the week ahead of time
3. Make a grocery list based on what you plan to cook
4. Stick to your grocery budget by only buying what’s on your list
5. Prep food in advance to make cooking easier during the week
6. Enjoy eating healthy, home-cooked meals without spending hours in the kitchen!

download your FREE meal planning for beginners guide HERE

meal planning can help you save money and eat healthier

Meal planning is one of the best ways to save time and money while eating healthy. If you’re new to meal planning, don’t worry – it’s easier than you think!

This post will teach you how to get started with your own meal plan and offers some tips for making it work for you. So whether you’re looking to save money on groceries or just want some ideas for quick and easy weeknight meals, read on for some helpful advice.

use a menu planning board

You may find it helpful to create a central command center for all of your meal planning. This is an easy and fun Dollar Tree Menu Board that I put together that works great for a fast and convenient way to meal plan.

side view of menu board command center

plan your meals for the week ahead of time

Some people also like meal planning because it takes the guesswork and stress out of deciding what to eat every day. If you don’t have to think about meal planning, it’s one less thing you have to think about.

set aside time each week to meal plan

Pick a day for meal planning that is easy for you to sit down and take inventory, make a grocery list, shop and prep. You’ll need a couple of hours, but you can break it up if needed. Inventory and list-making vs. shopping and prepping.

It may be easiest to use a monthly calendar like this one.

february floral calendar

take inventory before meal planning 

Taking inventory of what you currently have in your pantry and refrigerator takes the guesswork out of meal planning. It’s also super helpful to have an Organized Refrigerator.

See how to do this in How to Organize Your Refrigerator in 5 Simple Steps.

view of organized refrigerator PIN

Don’t be tempted to skip this step! This is key in saving time, money, and stress when it comes to meal planning.

You may want to have some fun with this step and create what I like to call “no-brainer” meal planning categories for each day of the week.

  • Meatless Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • What’s Leftover Wednesday
  • Tomato Thursday
  • Fish Friday
  • Sandwich Saturday
  • Soup Sunday

make a grocery list based on what you plan to cook

In my post 4 Ideas to Make Meal Planning Less Stressful I share with you how I structure my weekly meals in order to make it really easy.

I only cook two times from scratch, so my grocery list stays pretty slim.

Try using this handy printable grocery list planner HERE.

start with a menu plan

You may cook every single day of the week, or you may decide to do like I do and mix it up a bit between meal kit delivery services, eating out, and eating at home.

Whichever you decide, make a plan you can stick with. Not knowing what the meal plan is for the night is when things tend to get stressful.

wooden spoons and meal planner calendar

stick to your grocery budget by only buying what’s on your list

This is probably the hardest part of meal planning. It’s so tempting to want to make impulse purchases when at the grocery store. If you’ll be disciplined enough to stick to the list you made, the reward will be amazing. 

  • The meal planning grocery list will save you money that you can spend on more fun things.
  • It will save you stress in the kitchen when it comes to mealtime when there are too many choices and groceries that get wasted.
  • Sticking to your grocery list will save you time by giving you fewer decisions to make while grocery shopping. How many times do you find yourself standing in a grocery aisle trying to remember if you already have an item at home or if you really need it?

Making a list in advance really helps! Try using this one!

prep food in advance to make cooking easier during the week

This step to meal planning is key. Make sure to create time in your meal planning schedule to prep the fruits and veggies right when you get home from the grocery store.

This will preserve them properly and help reduce waste; not to mention, it will save you stress and time when it comes to making meals.

enjoy eating healthy, home-cooked meals without spending hours in the kitchen!

Meal planning can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s really not as hard as it seems. With just a few simple tips, you’ll be able to create a meal plan that works for your family and your budget.

don’t forget to grab your FREE meal planning guide below

graphic Meal Planning for Beginners Guide

 

 

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