When it comes to saving money on food, the best place to start is with your meal plan. A meal planning template will come in handy, especially if you’re a beginner. If you haven’t done any meal planning before, it may not appeal to you at all.
But it’s one of those things that if you do it over and over, it becomes a habit and becomes much easier over time. Meal planning can be fun! Especially if you have a meal-planning template to help you out.
In this article, we are going to look at the different meal-planning templates that you can use.
What Is A Meal Planning Template & How Do I Use It?
Firstly, you may be wondering, what is a meal planning template.
A meal planning template PDF is printable and is laid out in a way to help you plan your meals.
There are lots of different types of meal planning templates out there, so there’s no one way of doing it.
Generally speaking, meal planning templates are blank, with space for you to fill in what meals you are going to be having.
You can, however, get meal planning templates that have the meals already filled in, which is helpful if you want a ready-made one.
The way that you use a meal planning template will depend on how you want to do it.
As mentioned, you can have a blank grocery list or use one which is already filled out for you. You could also use a combination of both!
Why Should You Use A Meal Planning Template?
So, why should you use a meal planning template? We are big fans of meal planning, and always encourage people to try it out too.
We all need to eat, but when it comes to figuring out buying food, create meals, make sure you don’t throw away food, etc, there’s a lot of effort that goes into it. Believe it or not, a printable meal planner will actually help you save time as well as money.
It may feel like meal planning will require more time and effort on your part, but it’s the opposite. If you are finding yourself what you are going to eat every night and stressing about it, meal planning will help.
Once you have a meal plan, you can shop for groceries much more efficiently. You will know exactly what you need and won’t be buying things that you don’t need or won’t use.
Meal planning also helps to reduce food waste because you are only buying what you need for the week ahead.
How Do You Use A Meal Planning Template?
The way that you use a meal planning template will depend on what template you have.
There are different templates for daily, and weekly, or you can find a monthly meal plan template.
The type that you want to try out will depend on what you prefer, and it helps to match it up with how often you do your grocery list shopping.
If you have a printable meal planner template then all that you need to do is write down on the meal plan which meals you are going to be having. You can make it as detailed as you want, or just write down the name of the dish.
If you want to be really organized, then you can even write down what ingredients you need for each meal and tick them off your grocery list as you go along. The key is to find a meal-planning template that works for you.
How Do You Plan A Menu For A Month?
Do you want to plan a menu for an entire month? If you have a big family and not a lot of spare time, it can be really helpful to plan for a month.
The reason that it’s helpful to plan for a month is that you can see what meals you have going on and move stuff around if needed.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to create the most amazing meals ever for your meal plan, but just plan the stuff you usually have.
The best way to plan a menu for a month is to write out all of your meal ideas. Yes – every single one.
It’s a good idea to create a master list of meal ideas that you can refer back to often.
These meal ideas should be made up of the kind of healthy meals that you usually eat, and anything new that you want to try. It’s important to not go crazy and start trying to make fancy meals that will put you off.
Once you have your meal ideas, you can start to put them on your weekly menu planner.
A good tip to utilize is to try and plan your healthy meals around the things that you will be doing.
For example, if your kids have sports training on one day, maybe they need a quick meal.
Or perhaps you know that at the end of your working week you won’t fancy cooking and would prefer having something easy like a frozen pizza.
If you are really busy, you may want to look into InstaCart to save you time and find good grocery list deals.
How Do I Create A Weekly Meal Plan?
If you want to create a weekly meal plan template instead of a monthly one, it works in much the same way.
You will want to start with a master grocery list of all of the different types of meals that you will eat.
Once you have your list, you can choose some meals from it and put them on your meal plan.
It always helps to have a look at what food you already have in your cupboards and if that will cut down on what you need to buy at the store. You can also batch-cook some meals to save time during the week.
For example, if I’m making a pasta dish, I will make enough for two nights and have it on Monday and Wednesday.
If you want to get really organized, you could even make your grocery list at the same time as your meal plan.
This way, you will only buy the things that you need and not end up with lots of food waste.
Should I Meal Prep Too?
If you are brand new to meal planning and the idea of doing meal prep alongside it doesn’t appeal to you, that’s ok.
There’s no need to meal prep if you don’t want to, but there’s no denying that it will save you time and money.
Meal prep is where you prepare meals in advance. This is helpful for those days when you are tired and want to get take out.
If you have already prepared a healthy meal, you are more likely to eat it. Meal prep can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can prepare an entire week’s worth of meals or just do some basic chopping and prepping so that meals come together quicker.
Whichever route you decide to go down, make sure that you enjoy the process. Meal planning and meal prep should make your life easier, not harder.
There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you on your meal-planning journey.
10 Meal Planning Templates That Will Streamline Your Cooking Experience
There are some meal planning templates out there that will help you out with your meal planning process.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. The Savvy Couple
We have created an epic monthly meal planner which has over 30 pages to help you create a meal plan template for your family and stay on track. It’s such a cute monthly meal planner and printable!
You get tons of stuff included in it:
- Savvy Meal Plan Advice
- Example Themed Dinner Meal Plan Calendar
- Notes (5 copies)
- Weekly Meal Planner Template with Snacks
- Daily Menu Planner Template
- Monday Meal Planner
- Tuesday Meal Planner
- Wednesday Meal Planner
- Thursday Meal Planner
- Friday Meal Planner
- Saturday Meal Planner
- Sunday Meal Planner
- Favorite Meals
- Meal Plan Calendar (12 months)
- Breakfast Meal Plan Calendar
- Lunch Meal Plan Calendar
- Dinner Meal Plan Calendar
- Themed Day Meal Plan Calendar
- This Week’s Meals
- Freezer Inventory
- Pantry Inventory
- Fridge Inventory
- Grocery List
- Weekly Water Inventory
- Budget Meal Ideas
- Recipe Page (5 copies)
- Money Savvy Ideas
2. Printable Crush
Over at Printable Crush, you can get some meal planning templates that come in either a printable weekly meal planner template or a monthly meal prep template.
This is another great one if you like colorful templates and lots of space to write in various meal ideas.
3. The Resourceful Mama
We love the amount of space that’s available to write the different meals you have planned on this weekly meal planner template from The Resourceful Mama.
4. Thirty and Handmade Days
If you prefer a less colorful weekly meal planner template, you will like this one from Thirty and Handmade Days.
The thing that we love the most about this, is that it’s a printable meal planner template with a grocery list.
5. Dear Crissy
Another contender for a minimalist meal planning template, Dear Crissy has put together a great bundle for you.
Along with the usual meal planning template, there are some other handy templates such as a baking conversion chart and recipe cards.
6. On Planners
We love the printable weekly meal planner template from On Planners, because it’s so well laid out, and includes a section for monitoring your water intake!
The weekly meal planner template from Kitchn is great if you like a simplistic design.
It also has a section where you can write what ingredients you need to use up, and also what you need to prepare ahead of time.
8. The Cottage Market
Over at The Cottage Market, you can get a meal planning printable set which includes a weekly menu planner, menu calendar template, grocery list, and more.
9. Fab N’ Free
Fab N’ Free kindly created this black and white meal planning template to save you money on printer ink when you print it out. Organize your entire week with this accessible weekly meal planner template.
10. Shining Mom
Shining Mom has put together this weekly meal planner template bundle with 25 pages to help you put together your meal plan.
We love the vegetables scattered across the pages!
Menu Money-Saving Tips
When it comes to saving money on your menu, here are our favorite money-saving tips:
- Have a budget / get food spending under control
- Save money on healthy groceries
- Meal prep to save money (make a schedule of when this will happen each week and stick to it!)
- Cook at home
- Find cheap dinner ideas – sign up to $5 Meal Plan if you need help or My Freez Easy
- Try to plan for a month at a time vs just a week at a time
- Stick to both your weekly meal plan template AND your grocery list!
- Use a cashback app like Ibotta to save money on your groceries
Final Thoughts On Meal Planning Templates
If you have been thinking about starting meal planning but weren’t quite sure to start, we hope that you feel more confident about it now.
There are lots of meal planning templates out there, and you should easily find one to suit your needs.
No need to stick to one either, as you can mix it up and figure out which one works best for you.
And don’t feel like you’re cheating if you try out some cheap meal delivery services– you can add them to your meal plan if they fit your budget, and let someone else do the prep for you once in a while!