Learning how to meal plan can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. At the most basic level, meal planning is about looking at the week ahead, figuring out how much time you will have to cook each day, and making a plan to help make your week run a little smoother.

Step one – plan the week

horizontal weekly planner on marble coffee table

The very first thing I do when meal planning is print out my weekly planner, open my calendar on my phone, and add all those key details. For me, this means writing when I drive carpool, what afternoon/evening activities are happening, and if there are any special days (birthdays, anniversaries, school events) that aren’t part of our usual week, or need extra planning.

Once you have a general idea of what’s going on that week, start thinking about what days are going to be busier than others and plan leftovers or super easy meals for those nights. Yes, you can start by just planning dinners. You can choose to plan every meal, but if you are just getting started with meal planning, just planning dinners is a great way to get in the habit.

Step two – plan the meals

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