The Every Day Women's Guide to Meal Plan

The best free printable weekly menu planner

Quick and easy tips to get you started!

DISCLAIMER – This is the everyday practical women’s meal plan. I get anxiety just thinking about going on to Pinterest and looking at these beautiful put together, constructed meal plans (I bow down to you for doing it). This is not that type of article.

I started meal planning out of desperation. I was constantly out of ideas for dinner, missing ingredients and feeling stressed out. I was reading Simple Parenting by Kim John Payne, and the book mentioned that children love to know what to expect and having a nightly meal theme gives them comfort and makes dinner easier for you and the kids.

I had nothing to lose so I gave it a try! The kids loved it. They did not get bored, on the contrary, because I kept tweaking the meals until I had something that everyone liked. I ended up with better eaters which meant less complaining and a calmer happier dinner.

“Why I love meal plans"

  1. Quick – I’m a working mama of three active kids in sports. I’ve had to learn how to get healthy meals on the table QUICK.

  2. Healthy – I truly believe what we put in our body can either fuel us or deplete us. To me, it is important to have a balance of fresh fruits and vegetables with whole grains and a protein, without a lot of processed food.

  3. Simple – When creating a meal plan, I try to minimize waste and money spent on “unique” ingredients. I stick with staples that can have multiple purposes.

  4. Saves tons of money & time – Here is a secret, I only do meal plans once a quarter now. Yup, that’s right. Every season I change my themes, I review my menus, make any adjustments and update my shopping list. As I’m driving home, I do a mental run down of what I have in my pantry and decide what we are having for dinner based on that daily theme. Because I know that my shopping list matches my menu theme, I will always have the ingredients for at least one of the recipes. I save money because I go to the store less often, and food is not wasted.

“How to make meal plans NOT boring”

I hear my friends say that they couldn’t meal plan because they would get bored. I 100% get it. Meal planning is not for everyone, however if you find yourself at 5pm scrambling to figure out what’s for dinner, missing key ingredients and are tired of being stressed and frustrated, read on. Here are a few thoughts to keep meal planning exciting:

  1. Seasonal Menus – Every season, you switch your meal plan out. This allows you to adjust with the temperature, warm comfort food in the winter and salads and BBQ during the summer.

  2. Open Plan – This works well for me for breakfast. I have a list of breakfast ideas with all the ingredients on hand (see sample menu below). I don’t have set schedule I just decide morning of depending on time and mood.

“How to meal plan”

Everyone’s meal plan is unique to their family’s needs, budget and time. Here are a few steps to help you create your own meal plan:

Step 1 - Keep it simple!

Before we start, think about the following:

  • What do you love to cook?

  • What does your family love to eat?

  • How much time do you have to make dinner?

Step 2 – Pick your themes

  • We have provided you with some ideas to help you get started.

Step 3 – Pick your meals

  • For each theme pick 4-5 meals. My favorite way to do this is to go to Pinterest and type in Quick, healthy “fill in the blank”.

Step 4 – Test your meals