Everyone has their own system as far as meal planning goes. And some don’t have a system at all and it works flawlessly for them. I, however, am a systems person and over the years have done many things to try and make dinner run smoothly. Over time I learned some things really worked well and others did not. For example: I could eat the same seven meals every week of the year. This would eliminate any meal planning and streamline my food storage needs. My husband would die at the thought of eating the same seven meals, he needs variety!

So, to meet his need for a variety of foods, but my need to know in advance what we’re eating I came up with this system.

I chose six categories of food that our family enjoys. Within these categories I listed meal examples. (Anytime I come across a new recipe that looks enticing I place it in its respected category, or it gets thrown into All-American!)

Once a week I sit down with my weekly calendar and I write in what day we will be eating what category. After looking through the grocery ads I get a better of idea of what is on sale and what meal within the category we will be eating.

I do my grocery shopping based on this plan.

During the week it is nice knowing what we are eating on any given day, but with complete flexibility. Sometimes, my husband is craving a certain category and I easily swap category days. I know to cook meals that offer the most leftovers on Monday or Tuesday so Steve has lunch options throughout the week.

There is one day that is the same category every week. Friday is pizza night. We make pizza. We buy pizza and cook it our house. We buy take out pizza. Depends on the week, but never failing, we eat Pizza on Fridays.

It’s a pretty easy system that is impossible to screw up. It’s so easy I was talking to Steve about it and he had no idea this system has been in place for over a year, he just knows he’s enjoyed a year full of variety! He even made me walk through our meals last week to see if we truly follow it, and we did. And if we walked through the week before that and even the week before that it would reinforce my argument.

Come up with your own categories and start planning!

Download the meal plan:
Download Blank Meal Plan
Download Meal Plan