Create A Weekly Meal Plan in 20 Minutes

If creating a meal plan for your family makes you want to pull your hair out, you are not alone.  Meal planning can be such a chore but can make your life so much more simple if you take a few minutes and do it.  

There are also a lot of misconceptions about meal planning.  Like, since I meal plan I must make these elaborate meals every night for my family and let me say emphatically, that is simply not true.  

A meal plan at its core is just a plan for how you are going to feed your family.  So, let’s create a weekly meal plan together in 20 minutes and I promise you, you’ll dread the words “what’s for dinner” no more!

Create a weekly meal plan in 20 Minutes

Grab your 52 Week Meal Planner (seen above) on Amazon here or on our website here.

Create A Dinner Winner List

Before you even start meal planning, sit down with your family and come up with a list of dinners that are always winners.  Those meals that everyone loves and are so easy to cook, you don’t even need a recipe.  Meals like spaghetti, homemade pizza, tacos, or hamburgers.  You can add to to the list over time as well.

Simple Purposeful Living 52 week meal planning journal flatlay

Grab a Meal Plan Journal

We love a spiral bound notebook so that over time you can flip back through and use those old meal plans when you get in a dinner rut.   You can grab our best-selling 52 Week Meal Planner (seen above) on Amazon here or on our website here.

Grab your family calendar and check your weekly schedule before you meal plan

This piece is critical, you don’t want to plan a meal that takes a lot of prep work on the night you are running carpool.  Thursday night is notoriously busy for us so I plan an extra simple meal on that night.  Sandwiches, leftovers or frozen pizza usually!

set a timer - holding a timer

Choose a 20 minute block of time & set a timer

I normally sit down on Friday afternoons but there is no magic day.  Some choose Sunday afternoons, others like to wait until the grocery store ads come out so they can plan meals according to deals.  You just need time to do it.  Put it on your to-do list for a specific day and do it!  Set a timer.  Read this article about why setting a timer makes you way more productive.

Choose 5  meals for Your Meal Plan

We eat at home every night of the week.  We usually eat out one night a week, eat dinner with friends, have leftovers or enjoy a snack tray supper on Sunday (read more about that here) which fill up the 2 remaining slots.  Planning 5 dinners means we don’t plan meals that will just go to waste.  

How do you choose dinners?

Dinner Winners List.  Remember, that dinner winners list you made, pull that out and pick a few tried and true meals from it.  Remember, every meal doesn’t have to knock it out of the park.

Ask your family what they want.  This also helps with picky eaters wanting to eat.  Read all my picky eater tips and tricks here.

Consult the meal planning ideas printable (shown below).  Print it off, there are 50 meals to choose from!  You can get your meal planning printable by signing up here.

Look at past meal plans.  Keep all your meal plans in one spot in the 52-week meal planning journal, you can grab it on Amazon here or on our website here.

Try Theme Nights.   Sheet pan night, salad bar night, sheet pan night, slow cooker night, sandwich night and so on!

make a weekly meal plan in meal planning journal

Make your grocery list that matches your meal plan

If you use the Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner, then you can jot down your grocery list on the adjacent perforated page.  Make sure to check your meal plan twice, so you don’t forget any ingredients.  Add in any breakfast, lunch, and snack staples you need as well.

If you don’t like grocery shopping, want to save money, or you are running short on time, try online grocery order and pick-up service.  

Take a look at the meal plan every morning

I keep my meal plan on my fridge with a magnet, while my coffee is brewing in the morning I take a look at what’s for dinner.  I grab out any meat that needs to thaw and put anything in the crockpot that needs to cook.

7.  Enjoy dinner with your family

When it comes time to make dinner for your family, make what’s listed on the meal plan.  If something comes up, you can easily switch to another planned meal.  You are in the driver’s seat and your pantry and fridge have all the necessary ingredients for the week so it’s okay to make a switch.


best selling Simple Purposeful Living 52 week meal planner

Need some more help with your meal plan?

Aldi 7-Day Meal Plan + Grocery List

25 Simple Dinner Ideas 

Quick Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

12 Easy Meals to Make with Shredded Chicken


Just Remember-

Meal planning helps you to know exactly what you are going to have for dinner every night of the week, less stress and more time to do what matters with those that matter.  You can do it!  If you need help getting started, download my free meal ideas printable with over 50 meal ideas by signing up here.


Want help with meal planning?  

I wrote down this recipe along with the rest of my meal ideas for the week in the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  Get yours here.   Join the Meal Plan Simple on Purpose group on Facebook for more meal planning ideas and support.  Join here.


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

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