Meal planning can be such a struggle. From finding recipes, to building a grocery list to actually cooking the meal. It’s a lot of pressure.
Using this free printable I created has not only streamlined what we eat for dinner, but it’s simplified how we plan it out!
Today let’s take a quick peek inside the Free Meal Planning printable, as well as how the TAP system can help to streamline the meal planning process!
1. Build your meal bank.
When you grab your free meal planning printable, it’s simple to get to work. Follow the steps to complete a full meal bank of ideas in two easy steps! No stress! Start slow and simple with your family’s favorite meals.
Don’t forget to ask everyone in your house for their take! What do they love to eat? Breaking the list down by category helps to brainstorm plenty of recipes in a shorter time span.
2. Brainstorm simple breakfast and lunch ideas too!
In the TAP planner system, I’ve expanded on the free meal planning printable by creating a simple space to add in our favorite breakfast and lunch ideas.
In the breakfast section, I broke my list into two categories. Simple for easy, everyday breakfast options. Hard for special occasions, or slow and savory weekend family feasts.
Lunch is also broken down into two brainstorming sections, main dishes and simple sides.
3. Create a plan.
Step three on the free meal planning printable is your simple repeat process of planning variety in your meals. By doing a month at a glance, you ensure the same recipe isn’t repeated week to week.
GO SIMPLE TIP :: If you like to plan meals based on sales, fill your month view in as the sales flyers come out! It’s easy to pick a meal once you know the sale items you’ll be purchasing. Especially with having a meal list in place!
I should add, there’s nothing wrong with repeating family faves each week! We are notorious for repeating the same soft shell tacos every Tuesday. But hey, if dinner ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
4. Choose simple sides.
Instead of planning each detail out for our lunches and dinners, I create a little “sides bank” at the bottom of my monthly meal plan. I take inventory of whatever simple sides we have in stock for the month (buying in bulk, often means discounted prices and better for the budget).
Once a side is used up from our bulk stock, I cross it off our little inventory list so I know not to plan it as an option going forward.
5. Keep grocery shopping simple.
Do you ever feel like you meal plan but then you need a million ingredients each week for the variety of recipes? Here’s a simple tip. Choose recipes each week that use similar ingredients.
Maybe one week our veggies are green peppers and zuchini. This means Monday I’ll choose stuffed peppers, Tuesday will be Fajitas. Thursday I’ll do Chicken Alfredo with Zoodles, and Friday I do a salad with grilled zuchini and peppers, using up whatever’s left.
See, a ton of variety, with a simplified grocery list.
6. Give each new week a little attention.
I quickly revisit my monthly plan as I carry it into the weekly spread of my TAP planner. This is also where I’ll plan out my breakfast and lunch ideas. I simply pick two or three easy options from my meal planning bank, and add those items to my grocery list.
Example, this week we are having oatmeal, and cereal (both already in stock here at home) for breakfast.
Lunch is deli plates and leftovers. So all I need to add to my grocery list is some fresh deli meats and cheeses, and a few simple sides like carrots, celery, and a veggie dip of choice. BOOM! My simple lunch options are set.
Ready to get started?
Looking for the TAP planner system? Learn more about how it helps simplify meal planning, and all of it’s other awesome features in this recent blog post.
You can grab your free meal planning printable below. This printable will always be a free resource from me to you!
I hope it helps you ease into meal planning and simplify this less fave household task for you each week and month!
Watch me walk through the Meal Planning FREE Printable, as well as how to use in the TAP Planner system HERE on my IGTV!
Free Meal Planning Printable