Making a Meal Plan

Making a Meal Plan

{source: Damn Delicious}

There are a few things that I hope are going to change the course of our family’s day to day life this year and the making of a meal plan is one of them. I’ve tried doing this in the past but I’ve either not come up with enough good and EASY meals up front or we got stuck in a rut and fizzled out. I have concluded that to have a successful family meal plan you have to think about every aspect: finding recipes, grocery shopping and prepping the meals.

Making a Meal Plan

{source: Inspired by Charm}


When the holidays came to an end and my little man started back to school we came up with two weeks of meals (excluding weekends). We spend a little time each Saturday tweaking the schedule and coming up with options for the coming weeks so we can add to the rotation. After a couple weeks we should have a few solid months of meal down. It’s fun to find new recipes and decide if they are keepers or not and also to make some of our old favorites.

I started our planning by going through my Pinterest board, Yummy Recipes, and finding some easy meals that I pinned and hadn’t tried yet. Also as part of my organizing process I went through my recipe box and pulled out all of our favorites. I’m working on a pretty little DIY recipe box that I’ll be posting about soon! But one of the best ways to find recipes I realized is to throw it out there on Facebook. I asked for a meatloaf recipe last week and within minutes I had at least 3! I think family and word-of-mouth recipes are the best anyway, don’t you?


For me grocery shopping was half the battle but we’ve found a solution for this too that works for the current state of our family. When my little man was a toddler I ordered groceries online from Harris Teeter, our local grocery, but that became too expensive over time. Although I do save money by being able to review and edit my cart before buying (instead of my tummy doing the buying in store) the $5 fee and the overall food prices were too much. When he got a little older I started shopping wherever, whenever and a lot of times at Walmart but that was not fun at all either. I was thrilled when our area Walmart recently started offering online shopping with no fee!

Now every Saturday I go through our meal plan and grocery list and order groceries online for a Sunday pickup. I order every week but since there is no fee I don’t feel like I have to do a huge shop every time. This has changed our routine in a HUGE way. My son knows what’s going on and can help with planning the list and can add some items he wants. He also knows that when I do have to make a quick run into the regular grocery store (usually for good meat) that we won’t be in there for very long. I don’t know what it is but 7-year-old boys hate shopping of ANY kind much less for groceries. Anyone else feel my pain?


The second part of our meal plan is prepping. I’m sure a lot of you are the same with young kids, but I find Sunday afternoons are spent prepping meals and lunches. It also forces us to have a lazy day in the house playing and cooking before the busy week starts. Sunday is also laundry day around here :)

I cook any meat I can ahead of time and measure out ingredients and put them in glass containers ready to dump into a pot (usually our crock pot) or pan. I also cut up apples for lunches and put them in bags or containers, boil eggs, make sandwiches, etc. Usually I can get at least the first 3 days of meals ready and sometimes more.

Making a Meal Plan

Here is our meal plan:


  1. Sausage, spinach and white bean soup (I love everything Damn Delicious puts out there)
  2. Turkey meatballs (these were delish!)
  3. Chili
  4. Asiago bisque (we weren’t in love with this one so we decided to replace it with this white chicken chili)
  5. Breakfast for dinner (usually quiche or an egg scramble – this is our favorite called Bunny Rancheros from a local restaurant!)
  6. Meatloaf and green beans (and you can prep the meatloaf ahead of time) **see recipe below
  7. Chicken tenders (we love these crust mixes) with roasted brussel sprouts
  8. Easy foil meals with ground beef or kielbasa
  9. Crock pot pork tenderloin **see recipe below
  10. Homemade pizza (I use Trader Joe’s pizza crust and pick ingredients of your choice. Also, Wild Oats Organic Tomato Sauce is my new favorite. It’s delicious and not much more than the discount brands. I used it on the turkey meatballs too!)

**recipes courtesy of my dear friend Heather! Don’t you love handwritten recipe cards?

Making a Meal Plan

Making a Meal Plan


You can read about our school lunch menu here! It’s such an old post but these lunches are still going strong in our rotation and we’ve added a few more. Here are 10 days worth of good school lunch ideas.

  1. Quiche
  2. Quesadilla
  3. Chili or soup
  4. Meat and cheese rollups
  5. Annie’s Gluten Free White Cheddar Shells and Cheese (we’re not a gluten free family we just think the gluten free tastes better!)
  6. Bistro box (cheese, pepperoni or other meet, hummus, pita, carrots, etc.)
  7. Mini pizzas
  8. Meatloaf or other dinner leftovers
  9. Rice and black beans with turkey kielbasa sausage
  10. Pita sandwiches and hotdogs or bratwursts are two more that we rotate in occasionally

We typically mix these main courses with carrots or tomatoes, a fruit, yogurt, cheese stick or pirate’s booty.


{source: The Gracious Pantry}

So what do you think? Does this help or at least get you thinking about new meal options? I’m also curious, how do you guys find recipes? I’m always taking suggestions to build up the meal plan so feel free to leave your favorites in the comments!

And just a side note, I’m hanging out in sunny Miami for the next two days with Lowe’s and Monrovia checkingout  Costa Farms so make sure to follow along on Instagram and Snapchat (simplestylings)! Who’s ready for gardening season? This will be our third year planting our raised bed gardens and I promise I’m FINALLY going to post about it this year!



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  1. this is so helpful! this is one of my goals for the new year as well. we’ve done a pretty good job so far! i’ve found that even just choosing 3 recipes for a week has been good to get us into the routine! love your tips. :)

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