Food + Recipes

Thoughts on Meal Planning

I’ve always had a strong relationship with food. I honestly think about it almost all of the time, haha! When I was little I would always be super pleasant until I got hungry… well, hangry really.

Actually wait I still do that… ;)

I started thinking about the way I ate and foods ability to nourish my body and soul as early as my college days. My friends and family began to describe me as a picky eater — but not in the way that term is largely used these days.  I ate ALL of my vegetables.  All of them.

When I became a mom I found myself not only responsible for nourishing myself and my husband, but these little amazing tiny dependent babies too.

It got way trickier.  Grocery trips got really expensive, like out of control expensive.  And we incurred an even smaller budget when I decided to work part time. I couldn’t just wing it anymore. I should never have really been ‘winging’ it anyway.  I started meal planning. And oh. my. gosh. did I ever hate it! I resented the time spent, and felt like I did it begrudgingly.  That is until I started seeing it’s true awesomeness, of course.

Meal times were less stressful because I didn’t have to think of what we could have to eat. I would just make it. Or swap some days around because I forgot to set the crockpot that day, etc.  I spent less money (and time) at the grocery store because I wasn’t buying only half the ingredients I need to actually put together a meal (only to have to buy the other half when I went to make it or regroup all together).  Less things went to waste. Planning ahead actually worked…

Imagine that.

Now, I don’t mean to make this whole experience sound positively magical.  There are weeks when I strike out: new meals are a bust or I just can’t get myself together. Hello, we’re human?  But by and large meal planning works, and I don’t ever make a trip to the grocery store without a meal plan and shopping list in hand.

I’ve used a couple different tools to help me organize meal plans and recipes over the past couple of years, and the one I used the longest was Pepper Plate.  I loved several of its features but ultimately chose to gravitate away from using it because 1.) it wasn’t being supported anymore which made me nervous to keep stocking away my prized meal plans and precious recipes there and 2.) I just found that good ‘ol fashioned pen to paper worked a whole lot better for me.  I will share my current methods with you, some more meal plans and some of my favorite places to find recipes later this month. But today I wanted to go ahead and share with you 10 weeks worth of meal plans (mostly dinners, but some breakfast/lunch ideas) that I created awhile ago — when I was still using Pepper Plate. There are technically 11 weeks, but there are lots of days missing here and there so I didn’t want to give a false impression.

Click the link below to download all 10 meal plans.

>>10 Weeks of Real Food Meal Planning Ideas <<

Nope, I’m not even going to ask you to promise your first born child to me. ;) When it comes to meal planning we could all use a little inspiration, so maybe don’t hesitate to share yours with me?

List your favorite places to find recipes in the comments below, annnnd GO! (Seriously though I need inspiration for next week something fierce.)

Photo credit: death to the stock photo

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Lauren @ Lauren, Etc.
    February 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    The Plant Strong Vegan has been a great place to find new recipes. Her butternut squash mac n cheese recipe is so delicious and my toddlers love it. I also just end up browsing Pinterest until I find something simple and healthy. One of my favorite one-pot meals is a copycat Panera recipe of their quinoa broth bowl. It’s gluten-free and can be made vegan, if you don’t top it with a hardboiled egg. I also always keep frozen chicken breasts and frozen veggies (green beans, asparagus, broccoli, carrots) on ahead for a quick meal. Dry rub on the chicken and bake while I steam up the veggies. I’ve yet to find a meal planner that works better than paper, pen, and my recipe box.

    • Reply
      February 3, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Great ideas! I will have to check out the butternut squash Mac n cheese recipe! And I love your go tos.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth ditty
    February 20, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your meal plans; I’m looking forward to perusing them, since I’m getting back into the swing of meal planning myself. Dinner: The Playbook (from the Dinner: A Love Story folks) is one of the best weeknight cookbooks I’ve come across. Everything in it is approachable and relatively quick, which is essential most nights for me at this point in my life. Thanks & good luck! :-)

    • Reply
      February 22, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Meal Planning Win + Fails | The Lovely Laura Life
    March 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    […] I last month I shared with you 10 weeks worth of meal plans and promised to share a little more about my meal planning process in general at a later date.  I […]

  • Leave a Reply to Meal Planning Win + Fails | The Lovely Laura Life Cancel Reply