Are you ready to start saving money with meal planning but not sure where to start or what you’ll need?
This guide of the top resources for meal planning will give you everything you need to create a successful meal plan.
Basics of Meal Planning – 5 Steps to Get Started
Before we dive into what resources will help you meal plan, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand the basics of the meal planning process itself.
Successful meal planning comes down to 5
- Take inventory – Survey your pantry, fridge, and freezer to find out what ingredients you already have.
- Find and organize recipes – Pull together your favorite recipes. Then use an app or recipe box to keep them organized.
- Check sales flyer – Check your weekly grocery store sales flyers for good deals on ingredients you need or can stock up on.
- Plan around what you have and what’s on sale – Look through your recipes and pick the ones that contain ingredients you have or that are on sale.
- Plan around your schedule – Factor in your daily schedule to make sure you’ll have the time and energy to cook.
Now that you know the basics of meal planning, it’s time to make sure you’ve got the resources to make your meal plan a success.
Resources for Meal Planning
Meal planning itself is a pretty
Knowing where to go to find new recipes, ways to organize those recipes, how to get the best deal on groceries, and having the right tools on hand will make your meal planning more successful.
Where to Find Meal Planning Recipes
There’s no shortage of recipe books, food blogs, cooking channels, and even paid services. But it helps to have a place to start. These are my favorite places to find new recipes.
Meal Planning Cookbooks
As much as I value having recipes a click away with Pinterest, I still enjoy the look and feel of a good cookbook.
These cookbooks don’t just give you recipes, but tips and tactics to meal plan like a pro.
- Damn Delicious Meal Prep by Chungah Rhee
- Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia
- Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot® Cookbook by Carrie Forrest
Meal Planning Recipe Blogs
If you like adding new recipes into your dinnertime plans, these blogs are a great resource.
Not only will you get some great recipes and meal planning tips, but most of them are easy on the budget too!
YouTube Meal Planning Channels
Sometimes it’s helpful to watch someone as they walk you through a process.
These are a few of my favorite Youtube channels. They offer much more than just meal planning, but I’ve linked to a few of my favorite videos and you can browse from there.
Done for You Meal Plans
I always have the best of intentions when I sit down to meal plan, but some weeks I just don’t have the energy.
At times like that it’s nice having some done-for-you options to fall back on. These services have more than paid for themselves in both time and money saved.
Ways to Organize Your Meal Planning Recipes
I like to describe my surroundings as an organized chaos. To the outside world things seem a mess, but I know exactly where everything is.
That said, it doesn’t really help when I sit down to plan our meals if I’m having to switch from one app to another or pull out random recipe cards from a cookbook or recipe box.
My preferred method of organizing is the Plan to Eat app. I’ve added all my handwritten recipes and can easily clip new ones from the web. Then when it comes time to plan, I just search for an ingredient and boom, there are my options.
Regardless of how you choose to organize, if you want to make meal planning easier, make sure you’ve got your recipes organized in a way that makes sense to you.
Here are some options:
Apps and Websites to Help You Get the Best Deals on Groceries
Whether you’ve got a large family or you’re budgeting groceries for one person, it’s likely you’re looking into meal planning because you want to save money.
While meal planning in general is a great start, taking advantage of grocery sales and getting cash back for your receipts will help you save even more. Use these apps and websites to find the best deals:
Help With Scheduling Your Meals
Picking out your recipes for the week is only part of a successful meal plan. If you really want to save time and money make sure you’re planning around your schedule.
That means picking meals based on when you’ll be home and how much time you’ll have to cook.
Also, picking recipes that use the ingredients you have on hand or can get on sale will save even more money.
- Weekly meal planning and list fridge magnet
- Monthly calendar to plan around your schedule
- Use Supercook.com or Allrecipes to search for meals based on the ingredients you have
Tools to Help With Meal Prep
I’m a bit of a sucker for kitchen gadgets, but I also like a clutter-free countertop.
These are my go-to meal prep tools to make dinnertime quick and easy and keep my counters nice and clear.
- Multi-tool (slicer, spiralizer, chopper, grater)
- Kitchen conversion chart
- Reusable storage containers
Seeing all these meal planning resources might leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Just remember it all comes down to 5
- Know what you have (inventory)
- Keep your recipes organized
- Check the sales
- Plan for what you have
- Keep your schedule in mind
The resources above will help you fill in the gaps and start meal planning and prepping like a pro in no time.
For more money saving, meal planning tips, check out How to Meal Plan on a Budget.