Food & Nutrition

A Guide to Meal Planning and Creating a Grocery List

Writing out a meal plan is something a lot of people don’t do each week. However, it’s a great way to know how to prepare your meals and stay on track with your overall goals.

Meal planning is the first step to meal prepping. In other words, you need a good plan to create a grocery list and know what you’ll be prepping.

I know that deciding what to cook can be a struggle throughout the week. That’s why writing it out gives you a clear plan of action for the week to refer back to later on. 

The four main reasons for creating a meal plan

  1. Productivity: Figuring out what to make each day can be stressful. Meal planning takes that away by creating a guide in advance.
  2. Consistency: You’re setting yourself up to stick to the plan in writing and keep your goals on track. 
  3. Save Money: You will be going to the grocery store with a clear plan. It will prevent overspending on things that will go to waste.
  4. Accountability: A plan is the best way to make sure you have targeted actions. Sure we all want to eat better, but a plan in writing allows you to hold yourself accountable to stick to it.

How to create your meal plan for the week

To begin, take a look at my meal plan and grocery list printable. Feel free to download and print it out to start creating your guide for the week. You can also take a blank piece of paper to jot things down.

Writing it down doesn’t mean you have to stick to completely. You can modify it, change it completely or skip a snack if you’re not feeling it. The meal plan is just a great way to know what to shop for and meal prep in advance so you’re not stressed.

When you plan the entire week it also makes the grocery shopping and cooking a breeze. It’ll take away the overwhelm of thinking about what to buy and overspending on things you won’t use.

For my meal plan, I like to stick to two different breakfasts during the week to keep it simple. For lunch, I pick 2 as well, but factor in leftovers from last night’s dinner. Dinners are always something different each night. Then my snacks are things that will hold me over until my next meal without being too much food.

When it comes to deciding what to put on my meal plan, I search on Pinterest or use the Tone & Sculpt App. It helps to find meals that are simple to make with components to use for other dishes throughout the week.

Creating a grocery shopping list

With a meal plan in place, you then have to grocery shop. Grocery shopping is also another big thing when it comes to writing out your meals.

Going to the grocery store can set you back a ton of money if you go in without knowing what the hell you plan on eating. Creating a list prior to shopping sets better intentions. You will shop better and save money by doing so.

You’ll want to try checking out things on sale at your local markets or stores. It may lead you to shop around at a few different places, but this will ensure you’re spending well. You can also choose frozen veggies if the fresh produce is pricey!

Meal plan and grocery list printable

Tips for meal prepping

  • Prep in bulk and freeze portions. For example, if you’re making turkey meatballs, you can always freeze some leftovers for future meals. 
  • Know that you may have to meal prep 1-2 times a week if you have a lot of fresh ingredients. Chicken is one of those things that you wouldn’t want to cook on Sunday and wait to eat on Friday. 
  • Buy in bulk, but only what you need. I’ve bought a huge salad mix at Costco and barely touched it because I only had planned to eat a salad once. When you’re planning your shopping list, make sure you know ingredient quantities so you’re not overdoing it. 

You can also refer to my Meal Prepping Guide to get a better idea of the best methods for preparing out meals stressfree!

Meal planning is one of the best ways to save time and money, while also keeping your health in check. It’s the first aspect you need to pay attention to if you’re aiming to meal prep each week. You can use this guide to take the stress away and get on track to crushing more of your goals. 

If you have any questions or suggestions for writing out a meal plan, share it with us in the comments!

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