Monthly Meal Planning

Are you looking for a guide to monthly planning? You are in the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of monthly meal planning and provide tips on streamlining the process.

Plus, grab your free copy of our Monthly Meal Planner download to keep track of all your menus and recipes!

Free monthly meal plan template

This Monthly Meal Plan Template is a handy Google Sheet resource I created to help you organize your meal planning for each month. Planning monthly menus is made easy with this user-friendly tool.

Streamline meal planning with this 12-month monthly meal planner google sheet! Each month has a tab separated into weekly and daily portions, giving you more time to enjoy your meals.

Example of a monthly meal planner on google sheets.

Why would you meal plan for a month

1. Save time by planning and avoiding last-minute decisions about what to eat

Instead of spending 30 minutes to an hour each week on meal planning, why not dedicate some time upfront and plan out the next month’s meals all at once? Batching your work this way saves you more time in the long run.

2. Save money by buying in bulk

Now that your meals are planned consider buying enough of each ingredient to last a month instead of just one week. Doing this will drastically reduce the cost per serving since you purchase bulk!

For instance, buying a 1-pound bag of rice typically costs just $1.00; yet when you opt for the more significant 50-pound option, your cost drops to about .50 per pound—nearly half! The savings can start adding up when stocking staple items in bulk.

3. Reduce stress by taking the guesswork out of daily mealtime decisions.

By meal planning and prepping in advance, you can save yourself from a lot of hassle. You won’t have to waste time debating with others about what should be eaten for dinner or how it will get done since all the meals will already be planned. Just pick your pre-determined meal and shop accordingly – no exhausting back-and-forth negotiations necessary!

4. Eat healthier meals as you can pre-plan your meals with fresh ingredients Instead of relying on processed foods or takeout options from restaurants or fast food chains.

Empty calories or those lacking nutritional value are a dime a dozen. Prioritizing nutrients takes effort, and the first step is planning your meals. By mapping out your menu, you can ensure that you are including your protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

5. Reduce food waste.

Meal planning for a month is an effective way to reduce food waste. According to the FDA, Americans throw away up to 30 – 40% of the food they buy, which is equivalent to throwing away $1,500 to $2,000 worth of food each year. By planning, you can buy exactly what’s needed for the month and reduce the risk of spoiled food.

How do you create a monthly meal plan?

Example of monthly meal planner

Collect your favorite recipes.

To make monthly meal planning a breeze, I love to save my favorite recipes from recipe creators and compile them into one list. This way, when it’s time for me to plan out meals each month, I can easily access all of my top picks in just one place!

Start with two weeks.

Don’t make the mistake of going into monthly meal planning with the idea that you will need to come up with 30 different ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To get started, create two unique weeks of meal plans. Then replicate those variations to the subsequent two weeks for an alternating weekly eating schedule!

Breakfast

If you gravitate towards routine, opt for one breakfast choice each week. On the flip side, if you’d like to switch up your breakfast routine occasionally, select three meals each week! This way, you’ll get a little variety without feeling overwhelmed with decisions.

Lunch 

If you plan, you can save yourself time and stress regarding lunch. Choose 2-4 options for the entire month that will work for your schedule – then use some of your dinners as leftovers for the next day’s lunch days!

Dinner

When selecting dinner options, narrow it down to three or five recipes. Bear in mind the concept of “cook once, eat twice,”–which means you could opt for one dish that can be used as two dinners and/or leftovers!

Snacks

Snack time is the perfect chance to add healthy portions of fruits and protein into your diet. Aim for 1-2 snacks daily, and you’ll be sure to maintain a balanced diet!

Tips for monthly meal planning

1. To avoid food waste, start with an inventory of what is already in your pantry or fridge.

2. To save time, consider meal prepping twice a week or batch-preparing for the entire month and storing it in the freezer for later.

3. Incorporate a variety of proteins, such as plant-based proteins like legumes and nuts, as well as lean meats and fish.

4. Choose recipes that meet the MyPlate guidelines by including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein sources.

5. Include healthy snacks throughout the day to keep hunger at bay and energy levels up.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to meal prep for a month?

It is possible to meal prep for an entire month however, anything that is not frozen within 3-5 days of preparation will start to spoil.

Should I meal plan for a month?

Meal planning for a month is an excellent tactic to keep your life on track, yet it will demand significant effort if you plan to prepare the food ahead of time. As you determine what works best for your needs, I suggest you, at minimum, consider your having a plan.

Is it OK to meal prep for 7 days?

For optimum safety, it is recommended that if you plan to meal prep for seven days, the food intended for consumption beyond the next three days should be stored in your freezer. This will prevent any potential risk of food poisoning or spoilage.

Is it possible to meal prep for a month?

It is possible to meal prep for an entire month however, anything that is not frozen within 3-5 days of preparation will start to spoil.

Should I meal plan for a month?

Meal planning for a month is an excellent tactic to keep your life on track, yet it will demand significant effort if you plan to prepare the food ahead of time. As you determine what works best for your needs, I suggest you, at minimum, consider your having a plan.

Is it OK to meal prep for 7 days?

For optimum safety, it is recommended that if you plan to meal prep for seven days, the food intended for consumption beyond the next three days should be stored in your freezer. This will prevent any potential risk of food poisoning or spoilage.

Final Thoughts

With this guide and google sheet, you can become a meal-planning master!

Remember to start by creating your list of recipes, setting up an inventory of staple ingredients, and mapping out two weeks of meals. Once you get the hang of it, monthly meal planning will be a breeze!

If you follow the plan, you’ll save time, money, and energy that would have been wasted throughout the month. This way, extra focus can be directed to what is in front of you instead of your hunger.

Lastly, grab your copy of the monthly meal planning google sheet and subscribe to my email list to receive weekly tips like the one above.

Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

1 thought on “Monthly Meal Planning”

  1. I am trying to figure out how to download the free monthly meal planning template. Can you help or send me the link?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *