Weekly meal planning is for everyone, and it doesn't require a binder or calendar full of recipes. We believe a single sheet can get you organized each week whether you're cooking for a family of one, two, or four. Our week-at-a-glance meal planning template is a free download that you can fill out each week while you master meal planning.
Meal Plan Club: The First Steps
We're kicking off our virtual Meal Planning Club with a review of the basics (make sure to follow along onsite). We define meal planning as selecting a week's worth of dinner recipes at one time so the question of what's for dinner is answered for the whole week.
The first steps in meal planning are the most important, so we began with a discussion of the difference between meal planning and meal prep (spoiler: you need both!). We also reviewed the two steps of the meal planning process: shopping your pantry and then shopping IRL.
Catch Up on the First Steps of Meal Plan Club
How to Use This Meal Planning Template
Your homework is to download and print our meal planning template. This one sheet is a blueprint for meal planning. I love to start this process on Friday evening (with a cocktail in hand) after we've cleared out the fridge with pizza Friday. Whenever you can find 20 minutes of quiet time is the right time to give this template a try.
1. Start by taking stock: Look at your pantry, fridge, and freezer. What needs to be used up this week? Write these items under "Use Up" on the template — that way, that bunch of wilted arugula or half-cup of rice is top of mind when you select recipes.
2. Choose your meals: Look at your calendar and determine your needs for the week and note them on each day. For example, Tuesday night we have a PTA event at school and need something quick, so I'll note that under Tuesday. Maybe you have roller derby practice after work and need something fast and filling? Make a note of that too. You can select very specific recipes or general ideas, like Tacos for Tuesday.
3. Plan for meal prep: Once you've selected recipes for the week and before you create a grocery list, look at the week ahead. What can you prep ahead after grocery shopping to make the week easier? This can be as simple as cleaning greens for salads or making a salad dressing. This also can give you clues for grocery shortcuts you can grab. If you're short on time, go ahead and grab that pre-chopped butternut squash at the market.
Meal Plan Club with Kitchn
Meal Plan Club is our self-paced 4-week program full of educational posts, downloadable tools, and real-life sample meal plans where we'll walk you through each step of meal planning — from choosing recipes to meal prep and actually executing each meal — to make you a more confident meal planner in just one month. You can follow along here!