Making a meal plan rotation can be super easy and reasonable. Here are 3 reason to do it, how to get started, a customizable template package to help you make your first Meal Plan Rotation, and a few meal plans.
Why Keep a Meal Plan Rotation
- Affordable– budgeting for groceries is a million times easier when you stick to a meal plan
- Saves time– leaving you able to enjoy your time more and less time stressing or pondering what to eat. PLUS helps you not end up ordering pizza or visiting a drive thru, or dining out.
- Don’t get bored– Some people stick to the same few meals everyday, Kyler keeps us from doing that. I like to make a list of all the foods we like/I can cook, categorize them by type (soup, salad, smoothies, Crockpot, BBQ, etc) And then we pick them out on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis.
How to Start Any Meal Plan Rotation
The way I started my meal planning rotations is by first listing all the meals to make. Never mind what season it is or how much your grocery budget is at that time. List what you like and what you can cook. Next, I like to categorize by what kind of recipe it is- soup, crockpot, salad, chicken, pork, etc. (As you will see below). Then, on 1-2 week basis or a month to month basis, I review the type of whether we are going to have (in Montana that is pretty important in the winter), and I ‘randomly’ pick what we’re going to have on the menu. When I meal plan, I try to pick recipes that have similar ingredients.
- BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken or pork
- If I’m doing chicken fajitas, I can use leftovers for fajita pasta and/or salad.
- If it’s going to be really hot, what veggies taste best on the grill or in the air fryer?
- What ‘staples’ do you need for a variety of salads? Lettuce, cucumbers, beans, dressings…
Making it a Meal Plan Rotation
There are 2 ways to start the meal plan and then making it a rotation. Option #1- Look at your list of dinners, and write them down in order Monday-Sunday on a separate sheet of paper. On a second sheet of paper, prepare your first draft of a grocery list. Option #2- Print out the list of dinners for meal planning template, put them in a clear binder sleeve, and stick it on your fridge! Use a dry erase market to designate the dinners to have for that week. I put dots next to all the dinners Kyler and I chose for that week, then I cross them off as we finish those dinners.
Creating the Rotation
Pick 4-7 dinners from the list of dinner print-out. The reason I say 4-7, is that you need to allow for human behavior: leftovers, eating out, changing your mind, easier nights like making grilled cheese instead of crockpot chili, etc.
Making the Grocery List
This might sound outlandish- or maybe I developed this system when I worked as a cashier at a grocery store, but when I choose our dinners of the week, I have a multi-step process for drafting a grocery list. Which is why I also have not included a customizable grocery list printout in this blog post.
I write down all the grocery items that we don’t have for our recipes. I simply write them all down at once, and then make a second list with the grocery items organized by type of item and which store. I compare prices or I simply know from years of experience for which store is the better store to choose from. And it cuts on time spent in the store. I also arrange them by department and sometimes the order in which we travel through the store.
Other Ways to Save at the Grocery Store
- Be fast– The more time you spend in the store, the more that ends up in your cart
- Don’t go when you’re hungry or distracted– everything will sound good to you at that point.
- MAKE A LIST! If you don’t have a grocery list, more items will go into your cart.
- Maybe don’t go with your husband- Kyler likes to add things to the cart that aren’t on my list. Sometimes he does this when I am not looking. 🙈🙈
- Consider going to Costco- here in Montana, Costco has been the cheaper and healthier option for buying certain grocery items- such as produce, quinoa and nut butters. Here is my Costco grocery list.
- On the flip side, Amazon and Thrive Market are great options too! Especially for strict diets.
I have a Thrive Market Membership for $120/year. Learn more about Thrive Market by reading about My Thrive Market Experience– or just cut to the chase and use my special link to get 25% OFF your first order!
Disclosure: I am a Thrive Market Affiliate and this post contains affiliated links- this means that I earn a commission if you choose to purchase a monthly or annual membership by them using these links. The products listed in any of my blog posts that promotes Thrive Market are only the ones that I have ordered and really enjoyed. Read full disclosure here.