Monthly Meal Planning

Recently I started making a monthly menu plan, my goal in doing so was to a.) have less shopping trips b.) stop eating the same dinners every week and c.) to *hopefully* save some money.

I shared a picture on Instagram, that had my January meal plan on it, and I got a few comments on it. So I thought I would just share how i’m monthly menu planning, in case you are wanting to start as well.

monthly meal planning

I had been weekly meal planning, up until December, so i’m fairly new to this, but this is how i’m doing it.

I started out by making a list of all the dinners I could think of that my family enjoys. My goal in doing this, was to have a list of at least 35 meals. Once I had that list of dinners, I used my 2019 Planner (which includes a menu planning page for each month) and added in a different dinner for each day.

meal plan jan

When planning out where to put all the meals, I kept these things in mind:

  1. Makeover/Leftover meals – For example: If I cook a whole chicken one night, there will be leftovers that I can then use the next night for a different meal, like chicken pot pie.
  2. Themed nights – For example: We eat Mexican type meals on Tuesdays, and Asian inspired dishes on Fridays.
  3. Meatless meals – I try to make at least 1 meal a week without any meat. (Baked potatoes, rice & beans, cauliflower chowder; to name a few)
  4. Special occasions/holidays – We let the kids pick the meals on their birthdays, so when I am planning I need to keep that in mind.

 

If you notice, my monthly meal plan is just dinners. That’s because I don’t plan out breakfast and lunch. I usually just keep on hand breakfast and lunch type foods; cereal, oatmeal, bread, yogurt, etc. And lunch for us is usually leftovers from the previous nights dinner, or we will make sandwiches, some pasta, soup, beans, etc…

Once I have my menu for the month, then I work on a monthly grocery list. I do grocery shopping twice a month. I do a big shopping trip at the beginning of the month, and then a smaller fill in shopping trip half way through the month.

Things I buy in my beginning of the month shopping trip:

  • Meats – All the meats i’m going to need for the month, I buy now and freeze.
  • Bread – I buy enough for the first 2 weeks only.
  • Pantry Items – All the the ingredients for the recipes, things that won’t go bad.
  • Frozen foods – All the frozen items we will need for the month.
  • Produce – For the first 2 weeks of the month only.
  • Dairy/Refrigerated – Mostly just for the first 2 weeks, with the exception of cheese. I buy enough cheese to last the whole month.

Things I buy half way through the month:

  • More dairy/refrigerated products – yogurt and milk mostly.
  • More bread
  • More produce – fruits and veggies to get us through the rest of the month.
  • And anything else I forgot to buy at the beginning of the month.

That’s it, that’s how I meal plan for the entire month. I think it has been working out really well for us. I like having all the meals thought out ahead of time, and having all the groceries on hand is really convenient.

How do you meal plan? Weekly or Monthly?

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*Stock photo provided by Unsplash.*

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