Meal plans are one of the best mom hacks I learned early on to save money on food and make meals easier for the family.
Meal plan templates come in handy, especially if you’re a beginner. If you haven’t made meal plans before, it may not appeal to you at all.
But it’s one of those things that if you do it over and over, it becomes a habit and becomes much easier over time.
In this article, we are going to look at the different meal templates that you can use.
11 Meal Plan Templates That Streamline Cooking
1. The Savvy Mama
I’ve created an epic monthly meal planner in the Savvy Mama Shop, which has over 30 pages to help you create a meal plan for your family and stay on track.
It’s such a cute monthly meal planner and printable!
You get tons of stuff included in it:
- Savvy Meal Plan Advice
- Example Themed Dinner Meal Plan Calendar
- Notes (5 copies)
- Weekly Meal Planner Template with Snacks
- Daily Menu Planner Template
- Monday Meal Planner
- Tuesday Meal Planner
- Wednesday Meal Planner
- Thursday Meal Planner
- Friday Meal Planner
- Saturday Meal Planner
- Sunday Meal Planner
- And 15 more templates to boot!
2. Printable Crush
Over at Printable Crush, you can get some meal templates that come in either a printable meal planner or a monthly meal prep template.
This is another great one if you like colorful templates and lots of space to write in various meal ideas, so it’s more than a weekly dinner planner.
3. The Resourceful Mama
I love the amount of space that’s available to write the different meals you have planned on this weekly meal planner from The Resourceful Mama.
This is helpful if you’d like something already filled in and ready to go instead of an empty DIY you’ll need to plan yourself.
4. Thirty and Handmade Days
If you prefer a less colorful weekly meal planner, you will like this one from Thirty and Handmade Days.
The thing that I love the most about this is that it’s a printable meal planner template with a grocery list.
Plus, this includes snacks, which is important to give yourself and the kiddos a little boost every day besides regular meals!
5. The Incremental Mama
The Incremental Mama has options upon options for meal printables!
They have colorful templates, plus added a minimalist meal template if you want to use less ink or a simplistic design.
Along with the weekly plan, they list a grocery list printable, a grocery list per store, and a few different designs for meal planners.
6. On Planners
I love the printable weekly meal planner from On Planners, it really makes you think of your meals as a mom.
it’s important for you to have 3 meals a day too!
It’s so well laid out and includes a section for monitoring your water intake.
The weekly meal planner from Kitchn is great if you like a simplistic design.
It also has a section where you can write what ingredients you need to use up, and also what you need to prepare ahead of time.
8. The Cottage Market
Over at The Cottage Market, you can get a meal-planning printable set, which includes a weekly meal plan template, grocery list, and more.
This is just one printable that they have in their post; you have other options to pick what suits your needs.
I like the weekly plan that has spots for 3 square meals a day, plus a shopping list to get everything you need!
9. Fab N’ Free
Fab N’ Free kindly created this black-and-white template to save you money on printer ink when you print it out.
Organize your entire week with this accessible weekly meal planning template.
10. Shining Mom
Shining Mom has put together this weekly meal planner bundle with 25 pages to help you put together your meal plan.
I love the vegetables scattered across the pages!
11. Kalyn Brooke Spreadsheet
Want an option that’s all digital planning and takes a few minutes to type up?
I’m more of a handwritten meal plan kind of lady, but I’m also a big fan of spreadsheets to organize things!
A meal plan spreadsheet could be what you’re looking for to have things planned out fast.
Check out this digital weekly meal planner and how-to guide from Kalyn Brooke is very helpful to get your meals planned out.
What is a meal plan template, and how do I use it?
A meal plan template PDF is printable and laid out in a way to help you plan your meals.
There are lots of different types of templates out there, so there’s no one way of doing it.
Generally speaking, templates are blank, with space for you to fill in what meals you are going to be having.
You can, however, get meal planning templates that have the meals already filled in, which is helpful if you want a ready-made one.
As mentioned, you can have a blank grocery list or use one that is already filled out for you. You could also use a combination of both!
Why should I use a weekly meal planner template?
So, why should you use a meal planning template? I’m a big fan of meal prepping and always encourage people to try it out too.
We all need to eat, but when it comes to figuring out how to buy food, create meals, make sure you don’t throw away food, etc, there’s a lot of effort that goes into it.
Believe it or not, a printable meal planner will actually help you save time as well as money.
It may feel like planning meals ahead of time will require more time and effort on your part, but it’s the opposite.
If you’re finding yourself what you are going to eat every night and stressing about it, meal planning will help.
Once you have a meal plan, you can shop for groceries much more efficiently.
You’ll know exactly what you need and won’t be buying things that you don’t need or won’t use.
It also helps to reduce food waste because you are only buying what you need for the week ahead.
How do you use meal templates?
The way that you use a meal plan template will depend on what template you have.
There are different templates for daily and weekly meal planner templates, or you can find a monthly meal plan template.
The type that you want to try out will depend on what you prefer, and it helps to match it up with how often you do your grocery list shopping.
If you have a printable meal planner template, then all that you need to do is write down which meals you are going to be having.
You can make it as detailed as you want, or just write down the name of the dish.
If you want to be really organized, then you can even write down what ingredients you need for each meal and tick them off your grocery list as you go along.
The key is to find a meal-planning template that works for you.
How do you plan a menu for a month?
Do you want to plan a menu for an entire month? If you have a big family and not a lot of spare time, it can be really helpful to plan for a month.
The reason that it’s helpful to plan for a month is that you can see what meals you have going on and move stuff around if needed.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to create the most amazing meals ever for your meal plan, but just plan the stuff you usually have.
The best way to plan a menu for a month is to write out all of your meal ideas.
Yes – every single one- you’ll need 4 weekly menu planners to fill up!
It’s a good idea to create a master list of meal ideas that you can refer back to often.
These meal ideas should be made up of the kind of satisfying meals that you usually eat, and anything new that you want to try.
It’s important to not go crazy and start trying to make fancy meals that will put you off.
Once you have your meal ideas, you can start to put them on your weekly menu planner and get all 4 weeks written out.
A good tip to utilize is to try and plan your healthy meals around the things that you will be doing.
For example, if your kids have sports training on one day, maybe they need a quick meal.
Or perhaps you know that at the end of your working week, you won’t fancy cooking and would prefer having something easy like a frozen pizza.
If you are really busy, you may want to look into InstaCart to save you time and find good grocery list deals.
How do I create a weekly meal plan?
If you want to create a weekly meal plan instead of a monthly one, it works in much the same way.
You will want to start with a master grocery list of all of the different types of meals that you will eat.
Once you have your list, you can choose some meals from it and put them on your meal plan.
It always helps to have a look at what food you already have in your cupboards and if that will cut down on what you need to buy at the store.
You can also batch-cook some meals or ingredients to save time during the week.
For example, if I’m making a pasta dish, I’ll make enough for two nights and have it on Monday and Wednesday.
Or if my weekly meal plan has carrots 2 nights a week (yum!), I’ll bake a big batch all at once to save time.
If you want to get really organized, you could even make your grocery list at the same time as your meal plan.
This way, you will only buy the things that you need and not end up with lots of food waste.
Should I meal prep too?
If you are brand new to meal planning and the idea of doing meal prep alongside it doesn’t appeal to you, that’s okay.
There’s no need to meal prep if you don’t want to, but there’s no denying that it will save you time and money alongside a weekly menu template.
Meal prep is where you prepare meals in advance. This is helpful for those days when you are tired and want to get takeout.
If you have already prepared a healthy meal, you are more likely to eat it. Meal prep can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
You can prepare an entire week’s worth of meals or just do some basic chopping and prepping so that meals come together quickly.
Whichever route you decide to go down, make sure that you enjoy the process. Meal prep should make your life easier, not harder.
There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you on your meal-planning journey.
If you have been thinking about starting meal prepping but weren’t quite sure how to start, we hope that you feel more confident about it now.
You can get a weekly menu planner and tons of different templates, and you can easily find one to suit your needs.
No need to stick to one either, as you can mix it up and figure out which one works best for you.
And don’t feel like you’re cheating if you try out some cheap meal delivery services.
You can add them to your plan if they fit your budget and let someone else do the prep for you once in a while!