Sunday, October 4, 2009

How I Plan Meals: 8 Steps

Hi Friends! I hope you all had good weekends! We had a great one - I'll post the recap tomorrow! In the meantime, as promised, here is an eight-step description of how I plan mine and Austin's meals each week!!

1. Get it on paper. On Wednesday or Thursday (at the latest) I set up a list with all of the days. This gives me time to get to the grocery store by Sunday!


2. Check in. I talk to Austin to see if there are any dinners, lunches, etc. planned. For the ones we’re both attending, I mark ‘OUT’ as in eating out. For the ones it’s just one of us I mark ‘1’ – the other person still has to eat, right? I also note if we’re out of town as I have to pack different food for that (some things don’t reheat/pack/etc. as well as others). This week was pretty easy - only one out to eat on Saturday night!

Monday: (b); (l); (d)
Tuesday: (b); (l); (d)
Wednesday: (b); (l); (d)
Thursday: (b); (l); (d)
Friday: (b); (l); (d)
Saturday (out of town): (b); (l); OUT (d)
Sunday (out of town): (b); (l); (d)

3. Hit the recipe lists. I try to:
  • Mix it up – Mexican, Italian, etc. I try to avoid two rice dishes in one day or two sandwiches in one day.
  • Choose lunches that taste good reheated!
  • Use recipes with similar fresh ingredients
  • Make multiple servings of a recipe so that I’m not cooking SO much
**I don't normally color code -but thought it helped show you my pattern!

Monday: Sausage/Egg/Cheese Muffins (b); chicken fried rice (l); pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms (d)

Tuesday: English muffin breakfast pizza (b); cheesy chicken spaghetti (l); Veggie Pizza (d)

Wednesday: Sausage/Egg/Cheese Muffins (b); chicken fried rice (l); pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms (d)

Thursday: cereal (b); cheesy chicken spaghetti (l); green salsa chimichangas (d)

Friday: English muffin breakfast pizza (b); cashew chicken curry (l); Veggie Pizza (d)

Saturday (out of town): scrambled egg & sausage pizza (b); green salsa chimichangas (l); OUT (d)

Sunday (out of town): scrambled egg & sausage pizza (b); cashew chicken curry (l); Chicken Picatta (d)

4. Determine Servings. I make a list of how many servings of each recipe I need to make that week based on the info above.

  • Sausage/Egg/cheese Muffins – Make 4 muffins (for 4 servings)
  • English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas – Make 4 pizza muffins (for 4 servings)
  • Scrambled Egg & Sausage Pizzas – Make 2 pizzas (4 servings)
  • Chicken Fried Rice – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Veggie Pizza – Make 4 mini pizzas (for 4 servings)
  • Green Salsa Chimichangas – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Cashew Chicken Curry – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Chicken Picatta – Follow recipe (2 servings)
  • Cereal – make sure cereal/milk is on hand

Now I’m only making 10 recipes for the week (but 39 meals!).

5. Make a Recipe List. Copy/paste all of the recipes into one document. Makes them easy to find!

6. Make an Ingredient List. I copy/paste all of the ingredient lists into one document, and organize it by “grocery store” sections.

7. Ready to go. Now, I have ONE packet (word document) of all of the recipes in one place including the meal plan, how many servings to cook, and an ingredient list. From here, I simply check the pantry and refrigerator to see what I’m out of, and keep these items on the list. Then I add snacks (yogurt, cheese, crackers, etc.) and household items (shampoo, Comet, etc.) and my grocery list is ready!

8. Cook it up. Print out the packet, go to the grocery store, cook and divide servings into Tupperware (I use Rubbermaid takealongs, and weigh servings on a scale!). I keep the packet on the fridge so I can see at-a-glance what needs to be cooked and when we'll be eating what!

That’s about it! Let me know if you have any questions or if I wasn’t specific about something – and if anyone wants this week’s packet with recipes/ingredients/etc., email me at and I’ll email you a word document!

Off to read your blogs now! And again, will post the weekend recap, mostly pics, NO exercise, and a new breakfast recipe we both really liked! TTYS!


Anonymous said...

Girl, you are CRAZY organized! I wish I had that ability to be forward thinking! You totally impressed me with this post; thanks for sharing your meal planning awesomeness!

Big Pissy said...

You really ARE crazy organized.

Even seeing you in action is a little surreal.

And I'm used to it! ;-)

april said...

Thanks so much for this!! I seriously need to try it!

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of your packet for this week, please!

Mica said...

Great tips! You have meal-planning down to a science!

Lara (Thinspired) said...

I really appreciate this post! Every week I say I'll plan my meals and then I sit down to do it and just don't know where to start. I usually end up going through the next day in my head as I lie in bed at night. This is helpful :)

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I love how organized you are! I plan meals every week too. But I'm far from being as detailed as you are... And it sometimes shows...

Meredith said...

I do something very similar. It makes a huge difference in how much you pay at the grocery store. Having a plan is HUGE!

Victoria said...

I love how organized you are!! I bet it really helps to keep you on track! Thanks for listing this I will for sure need to learn how to incorporate this so that I can keep better track of what I am eating!

Lola said...

Thanks for sharing how you plan your meals, it's always so helpful. :) I can't get over how organized you are!

Pam said...

What a good way to stay organized. Great tips.

Shelli Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing! You are very organized but it looks like it pays off!!

Therese said...

When I grow up I hope to be just as organized as you!

OMG this was such an awesome tutorial! One of these days I'm going to get my sh*t together and start meal planning. Now with the hubbie eating a lot of the same foods it really would help.

Oh and good luck with this month's goals! I know you are going to rock them :)

Erica said...

Love it! I would feel out of control if I didn't plan out all/the majority of our meals. Love your process- I follow a very similar one

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

I love this! I am very organized myself, and you and I plan meals in a very similiar fashion. The main difference being the volume of food!

One thing I really like is how your are using word to preserve and print things off. I'd love to see what that looks like!

Here's my email:


Anonymous said...

This is great advice. I am so unorganized; I don't know if I could pull it off.

Can you send me the word packet?

Anonymous said...

I found your blog on the 31 august, just when i was starting my own blog & weightloss journey.
You are an inspiration!

I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

theskinnyjeans said...

I found your blog on the 31 august, just when i was starting my own blog & weightloss journey.
You are an inspiration!

I look forward to reading your blog in the future.