A Mindful Guide to Weekly Meal Planning

   When the two of us took a look at our monthly spending a few months ago, we realized pretty quickly that eating out & groceries were a huge bulk of where our money was disappearing to each month. We love trying new restaurants & cooking, but, where the problem lies was the amount of food we'd end up tossing (with lots of guilt) while doing a fridge clean out. We also found ourselves ordering take out because there was "absolutely nothing to make" (been there?). 

   This just didn't sit well with us. In our efforts to be more mindful of our spending & living habits, we have started planning out our meals for the week and making a grocery list to help us stay on budget. It's been making a huge difference-- saving us time and money, and wasting less food!

   I'm excited to share the exact meal planning document & grocery list that I use every week to help us stay focused and some tips for being more mindful of your meals!

click here to get a copy of our meal planning & grocery list document-- just save a copy to google drive to customize it! 

  Now that I've been using this menu plan format & list for a couple of months I also have a few helpful hints as you start to plan out your meals:

- Search Pinterest for fun new recipes to try. I love searching by theme (i.e. cast iron meals) or an ingredient we have on hand (i.e. recipes with sweet corn). Take a peek at what's on our to-cook list here.

- I also have a few food bloggers who I love looking to for inspiration for my weekly meals.

- When you're making your list, take a look at the digital grocery store ads to keep an eye on what's on sale. I'm not a great coupon-er, but some grocery stores make it really easy by letting you save them to your loyalty card. Every bit of savings helps and this doesn't take long at all. 

- Not sure how much an item on your list costs? Put in your best estimate & update your grocery list after shopping to help you get a realistic idea of if you're staying within your budget. I will just copy a tab & update, so I have a history of previous weeks- we also tend to buy a lot of the same items on a weekly basis, so half my list is already created when I do it this way.

OUR meal planning must-haves

- Set aside one hour a week to plan your meals & make your list before you go shopping. Sometimes it's something the two of us work on together, sometimes I just handle it. It's become something I look forward to on Sunday afternoons!

- When you find a recipe you love, be sure to save it! This is something I'm sort of old-school about. I have a beautiful wood recipe box & recipe cards. If Kyle & I both agree that a new recipe is a winner, we write it down & save it for later. We also make a note if we made any tweaks to it. 

  We'd love to hear any of your favorite go-to recipes or sources of inspiration. Leave us a comment below!