How Do I Make a Weekly Meal Plan?

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  • Written By: D. Grey
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2020
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To make a weekly meal plan, begin by setting a budget, considering the kinds of meals you most enjoy, and making a list of ingredients for those meals. Planning can be done by whatever means are most convenient for you: a hand written calendar or computer software specially designed for meal planning. Try to stay within the budget that you set, but also try to incorporate enough variety in the planned meals to avoid boredom. Shopping can be made a simpler task with a weekly meal plan, possibly allowing you to purchase items in bulk. The meal plan should be comprehensive enough to help you keep on track with any goals you may have set but simple enough to be easy to follow.

The method in which the actual meal plan is laid out may be as uncomplicated as a piece of paper posted on the refrigerator or as sophisticated as meal planning software. A desk calendar or personal organizer may also be suitable as it is easy to modify and to carry with you. Software can be a useful because of the many features it often provides, particularly if it can be synced with a mobile phone application. Once you've decided how to create the weekly meal plan, the next step is to decide on the meals themselves and to make your shopping list.


A weekly meal plan can make shopping for groceries both easier and faster experience and might be particularly helpful for staying within a predetermined budget. Since you will know the things you actually you need, the temptation to buy unnecessary items or to make impulse purchases may be lessened. Additionally, bulk purchases are often cheaper than buying smaller portions of an ingredient, especially for staple food types.

Having a goal oriented meal plan can make meal preparation a more pleasant and successful experience. There are a number of reasons you may want to follow a weekly meal plan, whether for personal ease, cost, time savings, to follow a diet, or simply to eat healthier foods. Deciding on these goals before making a meal plan may help motivate you to follow it.


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Post 3

@umbra21 - Another trick I use is to just cook a whole bunch of food at the beginning of the week when I have time and then freeze it, so that I don't have to worry about making meals when I'm busy. That makes it much easier to follow a plan without having to worry about day to day obstacles.

Post 2

@irontoenail - Most of the time when I am making a weekly meal plan, it's to try and include new meals in my day anyway. If I just keep eating the same meals I always do, then there's no point in making a plan.

I think if you just start slowly, rather than making a full-time plan right away, you can gradually integrate a plan into your daily life.

Post 1

The mistake I've made before when deciding to create a meal plan is to fill it with meals that I'm not experienced at cooking. There are about ten meals that I use as standbys and that I can shop for and cook without needing to consult a recipe. If I try to make anything outside of those I usually take a while to figure them out and need to buy extra basics that I might not already have (like particular herbs or oils).

If I really need to plan out my week, it's better to just use meals that I know for sure that I can make and have all the ingredients on hand to do so.

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