Menu Planning in 3 Easy Steps!

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Today I’m sharing how I tackle weekly menu planning and “on the diet” menu planning. What is “on the diet” menu planning you ask. Whenever my husband and I are doing one of our work-out programs T25, Insanity, P90X etc. he always wants to make sure that whatever we’re eating is “ on the diet”. To be honest I get so tired of him asking, “Is this on the diet?”. The first time through a program it’s pretty easy to just follow the meal plan how it’s laid out. But we repeat programs so sometimes I like to mix it up a little.

weekly menu planning

Basic Meal Planning

Yes, I’m that OCD mom that has a weekly menu hanging on her refrigerator. I like to make just one trip to the store a week and know that we’ve got enough food to last the whole week. I also don’t want to be stuck at the end of a busy day of dropping B off at school, working, picking him up, doing homework and activities wondering what’s for dinner. To be honest I’ve been making my weekly menu before we even had B when it was just me and my husband. It’s a great way to avoid multiple trips to the store and those annoying circular conversations of “what do you want for dinner”, “I don’t know what do you want”, “ I don’t care” and so on. I’m flexible with the menu so if I don’t feel like cooking we can eat leftovers or go out and that’s one more meal I don’t have to think about next week.

 Click above for a Free Printable Menu Planner

Step 1: Fill in dates and any events- This will help you know if you’ll be eating out or need something quick and easy.

Step 2: Fill in meals- We usually have leftovers and eat them for lunch the following day. I like to pick a meal from each main dish category (beef, chicken, seafood, vegetarian) and then we usually have a leftovers or breakfast night. I cook Sunday-Thursday and we eat out Friday & Saturday.

Step 3: Make a grocery list- Now you can just go down your menu to see what you need from the grocery store and get everything in one trip!


“On the diet” Menu Planning

To make staying with “on the diet” meals even easier I created a little menu planning system.

You’ll need:

  • Colored half-sized index cards
  • Mailing labels
  • Storage box

I went through the different menu plans from the various workout programs we’ve used and chose our favorites. I created labels (click here for printable labels) with each meal name & program, so I’d know where to find the recipe. I used recipes from these meal plans: P90X, Insanity, T25, and Brazil Butt Lift. I sorted the cards by color then assigned each color a main ingredient type: beef- red, poultry- yellow, seafood-blue, other-dark green, snacks-purple, breakfast- light green. I put each label on the front of the color card it went with. On the back I wrote the list of ingredients.

This way I don’t have to try to find each recipe in each nutrition guide to make my grocery list. I can pull one of each color card for main dishes, some snacks and breakfasts then flip them over to create my grocery list.

Quick & easy meal planning! I’ll be sharing my menu each week on my weekly menu page. You’ll be able to tell when we’re “on the diet” and when we’ve loosened up! What other ideas have you used to make meal planning easier?

2 thoughts on “Menu Planning in 3 Easy Steps!”

  1. Leslie, I LOVE your blogs! Your last one even got me thinking about working out again 😉 I LOVE you ideas and how organized you are. I struggle with meal planning, this system is awesome and simple once you get it all together. Thanks for taking the time to share your awesome ideas.

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