Want healthy meals your kids will love?

How to Meal Plan


Meal planning is the best way to ensure your family is eating nutritious balanced food.  It can get overwhelming if you haven’t ever done it or don’t know the best way that works for your family. I have you covered with all the basics to get started!

meal plan calendar on a meal plan and a person filling it out in front of an open fridge

Why Meal Plan?

  • To make sure your family is getting nutritious meals that taste good!  As parents we want our children to get the most nutrition as possible so that they can grow into healthy, strong, disease-free adults.  We also want them to develop healthy habits along the way so they will make good food choices on their own someday.  Providing healthy balanced meals is one of the best ways to do this.
  • To help you decrease the amount of money you spend on food.  If you know exactly what you are going to make for your meals, you don’t end up buying extra ingredients that you won’t use.  Also, making seasonal recipes decrease on costs because you are buying things at a better price when they are in season. You also will also find yourself eating out less!
  • To save you time, effort and stress!  Knowing what you are going to make ahead of time allows you to prepare by having ingredients on hand, letting food thaw if needed, and saving you from the 4:30pm ‘What am I going to make for dinner’ crisis!

Meal Planning Methods

There are a lot of different methods to meal planning.  These are the methods we have found to be the most successful.

1) Weekly Method

  • Begin by taking an inventory of ingredients you already have on hand.
  • Choose meals for each day of the week and make a shopping list that reflects the ingredients needed to to make these meals.
  • The next week, go through the same routine, plan out your shopping for what you plan to make that week, and so on.

2) Two-Week Method

  • Begin by taking an inventory of the staples in your pantry and freezer foods that you have.  You will do a large shopping trip at the beginning of the month.
  • For the first week of the month, plan meals for for that week and make a shopping list that coincides with the meals you planned and what you already have.
  • When you go to the store, buy what is on your list, but also look for deals.  If something is on sale, stock up to use that item later in the month.
  • To plan your second week of the month, there is no shopping involved. Instead, take a careful inventory of what you already have that needs to be used up and plan your week of meals around those foods only.

3) Monthly Method

  • Choose 30-40 of your favorite recipes that you can rotate through. You can add in a new recipe or make something twice if your family really loves it, but generally you stick to your tried and true 30 recipes.
  • Take a brief inventory of staples and basic ingredients before you go grocery shopping.
  • Start the month with a large shopping trip, buying anything that won’t go bad and perishables to last for 1-2 weeks. After that, just refer to your meal plan and shop weekly for needed items.

4) Freezer Cooking

  • Take a few hours to plan your meals and make your grocery list.
  • Shop for everything you will make.
  • Cook all of your meals.
  • The goal is at the end of 1-2 days you will have freezer meals for almost a month.

Simplifying Meal Planning

  1. Seasonal Meal Plans.  Plan your meals by what is in season.  You will save money this way and also get the most flavor from your food.
  2. Create a fall back.  Make a meal plan that has all of your families favorites that you can use in a pinch.
  3. Make meals that can work together.  Try to plan your meals so that you can use leftover parts of one meal to supplement another meal.

Sample Meal Plans

It’s important to make good decisions about the food you bring into your home and serve to your family, but life can definitely get hectic and makes this a lot harder.  If you feel overwhelmed with meal planning on your own, we have done all of the work for you!  Our Family Fresh Meal Plan is complete with breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinners planned for you, an automatic shopping list created, and the ability to customize!


How to Meal Plan Pinterest Image

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Eating a complete and balanced diet food meals will surely bring you to best life you can ever had . In order to achieve a complete and balanced diet, in every meal, there must be a serving of fruits, meat, rice, vegetables and a glass of milk. In that way, fitness you deserve will surely be achieved.

Hi, i am trying to plan meals for my kids that are healthier. They been eating whatever and its not really good. I need advise on how to and plan weekly menu. Im so lost and its getting very stressful.

I would love to plan a whole months worth of meals, but I’ve got to get more organized. I guess I will start out one week at a time and try to build up to a month.

It’s good to have a balanced diet and treat yourself with sweet and sour delights. I like the way you have prepared the recipe. In order to keep you and your fit and healthy, balanced diet and regular visit to your doctor is necessary. I do the same and helping my family to stay fit and healthy.

Yes meal planning is very important in our family to ensure that we are consistently eating healthy food.
There are the odd times we indulge in the junky food but most times we stick to the good, wholesome and nutritious choices.
I like your idea about seasonal food planning. Makes sense as most produce is the tastiest and cheapest when it is in season.

I love this site and really would like to purchase your menu plan for my family. It is my goal after having had gastric bypass to stay healthy and prevent my children from the fate as me. My biggest issue is we are on a very tight budget. I typically spend $100.00 for a week for 4 and when my daughter is home from college I can really only add in an extra $25.00. My question to you is what is the cost of your typical weekly menu?
Thank you for your help.

Hi Meegan! It really depends on what part of the country you are in. But we are in Utah, and when I purchase everything for each meal plan, it generally costs us around $150 per week. You can take out the breakfast, lunch, and snacks however, and of course your grocery bill from the meal plan will only reflect the dinners. That will save you for sure!

I used to be terrible at this, but after trial and error I’m getting much better at the weekly plan. My next big goal is the two weekly goal 🙂

Hi Amy, has anyone ever tried to package the meals to go. My biggest problem is needing something I can pack in a box and heat and eat or have cold and eat. Like snap kitchen or my fit foods. Prepared and ready. Will your plan help me do this? Thanks. Lisa

Hi Lisa,
I haven’t tried any of those. however have you seen this new program: Fitly.org? They do the shopping for you, while using a healthy meal plan!

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How would this work if I am working full-time and my nanny prepares the food for the kids 5 days a week. I don’t expect her to cook, but she does heat up or prepare meals. Can this meal planning program be tailored to this lifestyle, or would everything need to be made ahead of time?

As a male, I want to make sure that the meals that I make are as easy and tasty as possible. I love making a schedule, since it helps me actually eat a lot more healthy.

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Can you easily change something on the weekly menu from a list of choices or is every week standard? Also, if I sign up for three months will my membership end? I do not want an automatic subscription.

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If I sign up for your meal plans, will I have access to the entire month in advance? I do my grocery shopping (besides fruits and veggies) once a month.


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