A Simple Guide to Weekly Meal Prep / Meal Planning

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.

Meal prep comes with so many benefits. 

I’ve been meal prepping and planning for a few months now and not only does it make weeknight mealtimes a little easier, but it also allows me to make sure we’re all eating healthy and it saves me so much money on my grocery budget. 

I will tell you, in the beginning, I thought meal prepping and planning each week would be a huge headache. However, after the first few times, it was second nature and spending one-day planning/prepping saves so much time throughout the rest of the week. 

Therefore, today I wanted to share with you my simple guide to weekly meal prep and planning in case, it’s something that you’ve been considering but haven’t been quite sure how to make it work for you. 

Pick a Day Where You Will Plan Out Your Meals Each Week

Friday evenings are for meal planning. 

In my house, I meal plan on Fridays. 

Fridays are my day of choice because it’s basically the end of my work week since I don’t work weekends anymore (unless I didn’t finish something throughout the week) and on Saturdays, one of the kids usually has some event AND Sundays are to relax and get my mind together for Monday. 

While I do realize everyone lives different lives, my suggestion is, when you’re selecting the day that you will plan out your meals each week make sure it’s on a day before you’re preparing for a family day or a rest day. 

The last thing you want to do is be in the mood for family time or relax time and have the nagging thought about what’s going to be for dinner for the week. 

See Also: Got a Roast? You’ve Got the Week Covered 

Dedicate a Day to a “Whatever” Meal

Saturdays are for “whatever” you want to make. 

Saturdays are typical “whatever” days at my house.

There’s nothing prepped/planned. It’s kinda a go with the flow day. 

If I have time to cook three times a day I’ll do it. If not, the kids will have a quick breakfast (i.e. oatmeal or cereal), a quick lunch (i.e. sandwiches or brunch), and a quick dinner (i.e. Salsberry steak or fish sticks). 

I typically just play it by ear based on what’s in the fridge/freezer and what we have planned for that day. 

By taking the stress out of planning/prepping for Saturdays I’m able to enjoy the weekend more. 

You don’t have to worry about forgetting to defrost something before leaving the house in the morning or finding that you’re missing an ingredient in the middle of cooking. 

Simply go with whatever you have available. 

Tip: When doing groceries each week if you find you have extra in your grocery budget pick up some easy meals for your “whatever” meal day so you always have easy stuff on hand. I like to keep staples such as oatmeal, eggs, chicken nuggets, Salisbury steak, etc on hand for the kids. 

Dedicate a Day to Try a New Recipe

Sundays are for playing in the kitchen. Since Sunday is the only day I and my partner are both off work, we utilize this day to try out some new recipes. 

When ordering groceries we’ll get some random meat or something that we haven’t had in a while and try making something new. Sometimes it goes exceptionally well and other times not so much lol. 

But we have fun and now that the kids are older they’re able to participate too. Plus, it’s a great way to try out new dishes before entertaining for the holidays so you can shock guests with new creations. 

Some recipes that have originated from Sunday experiments include BCC Wraps and Ground Lamb and Potatoes

Purchase Some Ingredients in Bulk

When you can purchase in bulk do it. For example, each Tuesday we will have a type of Mexican dish. Most likely it will involve hamburger meat or shrimp. 

Therefore, since it’s always on my list of meats each week I purchase a 3 lb roll of hamburger meat that can be cut into 2-3 portions and frozen and 2 bags of shrimp. 

It makes it so some weeks I’m able to spend around $50 on groceries for the week for a family of 5 and other times the extra meat is used to create a meal on Saturday. 

Do Your Grocery Shopping Online

Online Shopping with pick up or delivery will save you time and money. 

I’ve been online grocery shopping for a few years now and despite still making a list of things to get, it saves me time and money. 

Sure you could get distracted by the Weekly deals, but if you have a list and shop solely by that list, it’s less likely you’ll overspend. Plus, I like being able to compare prices of different brands and get the most bang for my buck.

The whole benefit of meal prep/meal planning is to avoid wasting food and cut back on your grocery bill. Online grocery shopping has repeatedly helped me do both of those things and I can’t recommend it enough. 

Conclusion: Meal Prep is Easy and Beneficial When You Have a Plan

When you have a plan, meal prep/meal planning is super easy. I’m all for saving money and eating healthy and meal prep/meal planning plays a huge part in allowing me to do both. 

Plus, if you’re a Food Lion shopper you’re able to take advantage of their MVP deals even when ordering your groceries via the Food Lion app.

With the holidays coming up I can definitely relate to needing to be more budget-conscious to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Shopping via Food Lion will help you Make More Merry. You can get good deals when making holiday traditional favorites and spice up your recipes without a lot of fuss.

Make more room at the table. Make more treats go around, and make more surprises. With Food Lion (#OurFoodLion), you can always #MakeMoreMerry.

Do you have any meal prep/meal planning tips that I missed? Make sure to tell me about them in the comments section below.  Guide to meal prep infographichPhoto Credit: Food Lion

Bonus: Under $100 Per Week 2 Week Meal Plan

I totally get that I probably just overloaded you with a variety of information AND you’re probably not really motivated to soak it all in and get started with meal planning. So, as a bonus (AND a motivator) here’s a 2-week meal plan to help you get started. 

Please keep in mind pricing is based on current pricing at Virginia Food Lions. Pricing may differ based on your location. 

NOTE: I’m not a breakfast/lunch person so the meals mainly focus on meal planning dinners since the kids have breastfast and lunch at school Monday – Friday. Also, I don’t eat pork so my meals typically consist of chicken, beef, and seafood. Drinks aren’t included, however, they can be added on and should still keep you under $100 per week. 

Week #1 Meal Plan:

Sunday Breakfast: Oatmeal ($1.69 – 10 pack) and Pop-Tart ($2.99 – 12 pack)

Sunday Lunch: Turkey ($3.99 – 9 ozs)  and Cheese ($2.00 – 12 individual wrapped slices)  Sandwiches ($2.99 – Honey Wheat Bread)

Sunday Dinner: Stirfry ($3.99 – Chicken Stirfry 21 oz, $1.99 – 12 fl oz Stirfry Sauce)

Monday Breakfast Snack: Bananas ($1.50 – 10 organic bananas)

Monday After School Snack: Crackers ($2.50 – 8 count Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers)

Monday Dinner: Whole Chicken ($5.07 – 3lb chicken)

Tuesday Breakfast Snack: Oranges ($3.99 – 3lb bag)

Tuesday After School Snack: Bananas 

Tuesday Dinner: Tacos ($7.68 – 48 oz hamburger meat, $1.69 – 8 oz Taco sauce, $1.60 – 12 count tortillas, $1.99 – .69 lb of salad, $1.49 – 1 pint of grape tomatoes) 

Wednesday Breakfast Snack: Oranges

Wednesday After School Snack: Granola Bar ($2.50 – 12 granola bars)

Wednesday Dinner: Hotdogs ($3.29 – 8 beef hotdogs)  and Fries ($1.79 – 32 oz of crinkle cut fries)

Thursday Breakfast Snack: Granola Bar

Thursday After School Snack: Crackers

Thursday Dinner: Salmon ($4.69 – 12 oz of frozen Pink Salmon)  and Rice ($6.99 – 5lbs of Jasmine Rice)

Friday Breakfast Snack: Remaining Fruit/Granola Bar

Friday After School Snack: Remaining Fruit/Granola Bar/Crackers

Friday Dinner: Shrimp ($7.99 – 16 oz of raw shrimp)  and Fajita ($2.99 – 6 oz of Chicken Fajita Meat)  Salad 

Grand Total: $85

Week #2 Meal Plan:

Sunday Breakfast: Oatmeal ($1.69 – 10 pack) and Pop-Tart (use leftovers from Week #1)

Sunday Lunch: Hard Boiled Eggs ($1.39 for 18) and Baby Carrots ($0.99 for 16 oz) & Ranch ($1.00 for 16 fl oz)

Sunday Dinner: Turkey Wings ($12.54 for 6 lbs)

Monday Dinner: Whole Chicken ($5.07 – 3lb chicken)

Tuesday Dinner: Taco Boats (Use remaining hamburger meat from Week #1, $1.69 – 8 oz Taco sauce, $3.49 – 12 count mini tortilla boats, $1.99 – .69 lb of salad, $1.49 – 1 pint of grape tomatoes) 

Wednesday Dinner: One Pan Chicken Breast ($5.99 – 24 oz of chicken breast portions), Green Beans ($5.07 – 3 lbs of fresh green beans), and Red Potatoes ($3.49 – 5lb bag)

Thursday Dinner: One Pan Chicken Breast, Green Beans, and Red Potatoes Leftovers (if low on veggies sub with leftover rice from Week #1)

Friday: Baked or Grilled Chicken Wings ($17.94 – 6 lbs)

Grand Total: $66

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A Simple Guide to Weekly Meal Prep / Meal Planning

21 Comments

  1. This is such a great guide!! Pinning this for later!

  2. Very useful! I need to start doing this next year to save time and money.

  3. Fatima Torres says:

    Prepping meals throughout the week can be exhausting at times. We cook daily and sometimes we run out of ideas.

  4. I really want to try to do more meal planning. It would help me just streamline everything so much. These are some great tips to accomplishing it.

  5. My weekly meal prep is a big thing for me and my husband . It save us time and money since we both working full time. This post give me some more ideas and motivates me more.

  6. I really need to get into meal planning. I love the idea of shopping online to meal plan as I always tend to forget an ingredient.

  7. Kathy says:

    This is a really good post. I’ve been wanting t o meal plan for so long, but never got around to it. I know I just need to make the time to do it.

  8. I do meal plan but I have never tried meal prep. I’ve seen some bloggers do it though and I would like to give it a try too. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Great tips here! Meal planning is one thing I would like to get better at… maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution?

  10. I would be needing this guide for Meal prep planning. It’s really best to make sure your family eats healthy food. Thanks for sharing!

  11. What a thorough post on meal planning and prep. I have to plan, or I eat junk. That cannot be, as I need to really focus on healthy eating.

  12. It’s my goal to get more organized and start meal prepping. I think it would totally help my grocery budget and big a big time saver. Plus, less waste from the produce I buy that I let go bad before I have a chance to figure out what meal to use it in.

  13. These are great tips about meal planning. When my kids were small, I used to be a lot better about meal planning. Since there were 7 of us, we each picked a supper for the week. (The baby magically always chose pizza.) It had to meet my requirements (protein, vegetable, etc.) and no repeats during the week. It really cut back on the complaining since no one wanted to hurt another person’s feelings, and they knew that their night was coming up.

    1. Beth,

      That is a great idea of having everyone pick out dinner. Hmm. I may have to give that a try myself.

  14. This was such an informative post. I love that you included an example of a meal plan, too. I don’t have kids so my life is less stressful and hectic than yours. But i still plan ahead to some extent, buy in bulk, try new recipes on the weekend. Great tips!

  15. these are such great tips and ones i use to help me with my meal planning too- they truly help take the stress away each week

  16. I definitely need to get back to meal planning! My main obstacle was growing tired of the same food day after day. Some foods don’t prep or keep well, and that was a big obstacle for me!

  17. I haven’t done it in a while because I just don’t cook that much. It’s only my husband and I. When the kids were home though it saved me a lot of money over time. These are great tips!

  18. I love this! I find that when I’m meal planning our budget stays in the black, plus we eat a lot healthier! And to top it off, I’m not stressed out each evening trying to figure out what we’re eating!

  19. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    I do this a lot. It really helps to save money when you plan meals in advance. I like the idea of adding a new recipe each week too.

  20. I am working on doing this more. I hate to cook, so anything to make it easier is a win. I need to start writing things down.

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