How I Meal Plan.

I get the most emails with questions about how I meal plan.  I figured it’d be fun to do a post on my weekly eating process: from meal planning to grocery shopping to recipe making.

The Planning

Meal Planning-3

Food is my hobby.  So I really don’t mind spending money on it.  Plus, food is important.  So again I say, I really don’t mind spending money on it.  I’d much rather wait until a movie comes out on redbox and pay $1 for it than go to a movie and pay $18…and then use the savings at the grocery store. I’d love to buy organic vegetables and wild-caught salmon every week. But that isn’t always realistic. For my husband and I, we try to keep the grocery bill below $125 each week. We eat out at least one dinner a week because I LOVE EATING OUT.

I plan four dinners a week.  Between eating out and eating leftovers, this works for us.  For recipe inspiration, first I think about what I’m craving and base a couple meals off that.  Then I search pinterest, instagram and my favorite websites/blogs (The Kitchn, How Sweet Eats, Kath Eats, Healthy Aperture, or Foodgawker).

After I know what meals I want to make, I make my grocery list and break it up according to Protein//Vegetables//Fruit//Grains//Dairy//Other (stole this grocery list layout from my mother-in-law and have been using it for 2 years now).

Meal Planning

The Shopping

We do our grocery shopping on Sundays.  This week we ended up spending $86.74, which is low for us.  I’ll take it!

Meal Planning-2

Meal Planning-4

The Meals

Sunday we had pan-seared salmon served with sauteed snap peas and a salad.  The salmon was seared on all sides in olive oil over medium heat.  The snap peas were sauteed in a little butter and topped with salt and pepper.  The salad was spinach with strawberries & blue cheese.  I used Brianna’s dressing because it is so delicious with strawberries and cheese.

Pan-seared Salmon with snap peas and salad

On Monday night and a weekend night, we had Charro Bean Soup.  This was actually the first time that I had ever made bacon myself.  We served the beans with grated sharp cheddar cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Charro Beans-6

Since getting married, most Sundays I roast a whole chicken so we can throw together easy lunches or dinners throughout the week.  For the roasted chicken with veggies we ate on Wednesday and the Greek yogurt mac ‘n cheese we ate on Thursday, I used chicken from that roasted chicken.

For the mac ‘n cheese, I used this recipe for Creamy Greek Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese from Running to the Kitchen.  I left out the bacon and goat cheese and added in spinach, corn and shredded chicken.  Creamy perfection.

Greek Yogurt Mac n Cheese

 The rest of the week we ate leftover and then went out to dinner for one night. 

For lunches this week, my meal of choice was veggie heavy breakfast burritos wrapped in whole wheat tortillas.  I also had scrambled egg quesadillas with brussels sprouts, salads topped with shredded chicken and more bean soup.

Some snacks included greek yogurt with fruit or a peanut butter chocolate chip mugcake.

Whole Wheat Breakast Tacos Whole Wheat Breakast Tacos-3

My favorite breakfasts of the week were peanut butter oatmeal, pumpkin breakfast bakes or Anne’s grain-free pancake.  I served the last two meals topped with almond butter and a iced chai tea latte on the side (made using Trader Joe’s chai tea).

Paleo Pancake-2 Pumpkin Breakfast Bake with almond butter

So there’s a look into my meal planning and grocery shopping process!  If you enjoyed it, let me know and I’ll do more posts like this.  I was getting tired of doing my typical “What I Ate” posts and thought we could use a little variety.  I’m planning on changing up my Wednesday posts to include different topics each week with the occasional “What I Ate” style posts. 

{P.S. Those Pumpkin Coconut Cookie Bars will be posted in the next two weeks.  I haven’t actually made them yet, but in my mind they’re BRILLIANT.}



  1. I love the line, “food is my hobby, so I don’t mind spending money on it.” Amen!! Everything looks amazing:)

  2. I am always interested to see how other people plan their meals. My process is similar except for in the summer. In the summer I usually pop into the farmer’s market on Saturday. If I find I good deal on something I usually plan meals around whatever I pick up. Like once this summer I got a 5 pound cabbage for $1. Then proceeded to make a GIANT pot of cabbage soup.

  3. Great post! I’m a mega meal planner, but plan quite differently because the husband and I eat a very routined way during the week (Monday is always big salads, Tuesday is always weekend leftovers, Thursday is always omelet night, etc) which makes grocery shopping a cinch because it’s pretty much always the same. Where things shake up are my lunches (his are always the same), so that takes a bit of thinking on my part. We don’t plan on weekends and always try to cook up a bonkers feast at least one weekend night. Nice to see someone else’s planning game!

    • Loving this setup…big salads on Monday because weekends are meant for overdoing it a wee-bit, leftovers Tuesday because you’re tired of them on Monday, and omelets because OMELETS! Such an smart approach to meal planning! LOVE IT!

  4. One of my goals (probably starting after the holidays) is to set a weekly food budget (and actually stick to it). I get carried away very easily in grocery stores and tend to overspend. I meal plan a little but know I could do better spending less if I really planned most of my meals out so I love the idea of changing up What I Ate posts, definitely helpful!!

    • Yeah…occasionally I’ll end up at Trader Joe’s mid-week just because I feel like going. Those trips are always super unstructured and dangerous…but SO FUN lol!!! (And thanks for the support on switching up the Wednesday posts, they were getting a little monotonous;))

  5. $86.00?! Wait until you have teenage boys! You’ll be shopping every day! Great post and great recipes. Heading to G+ now to share!!

  6. I happen to love your WIAW posts (especially the ones you did of the whole week!), but I also REALLY love this format too. It is fun to see how others meal plan/prep!

  7. I secretly love these posts even more than WIAW, because grocery shopping is something I look forward to (weirdos unite) because food is my favorite hobby and I love making things come together out of what I bought!

  8. Ah Kylie I loved this! Great change up from your usual WIAW posts, although I really enjoy reading through those as well :) I keep playing around with posting stuff like this every wednsday, something aimed towards daily meals/meal prep/etc for students but we’ll see! I also have a white chocolate pumpkin cookie bar in the works for this weekend! Excited to see your coconut pumpkin recipe!

  9. OK I have a proposition: you come meal plan for me and I’ll do the cooking and feed you the delicious food you planned. Eh?? Ehhh? No seriously, though, I am so impressed. I haven’t had time to do a weekly grocery trip in years so I typically plan really well the first week or two of the month and do a huge shopping trip and then survive on what’s in the freezer/pantry/takeout/impromptu shopping trips for the rest of the month. It’s….interesting.

  10. Thanks for sharing your process! I would love to be better about planning actual recipes. We often just buy the same stuff every week (protein, fruit/veg, dairy) and choose a recipe based on what we have. It’s usually something we’ve made a hundred times before, so it’s not always the most exciting. Sunday afternoons in the fall have become our favorite time to experiment with something new for dinner or make something really hearty, like homemade sauce and meatball, a soup, or stew.

  11. Girl, I know your handwriting is not always that neat. ; ) Just playin’. Good for you for being so organized.

    Thank for for sharing this! Looking forward to some of these recipes :) :)

  12. I love your pictures! They always make me so hungry.

  13. Yeah I’m not that organized. And I planned big salads for tonight and the BF wanted cereal. *sigh*

    This is inspiring though! I like that you only plan 4 meals…it’s always so overwhelming to me to think about planning 7 dinners, lunches and breakfasts, so I usually end up doing my “meal planning” at the grocery store lol

    Do you take your photos with artificial lighting? Like when you make a recipe at night do you take photos right away? That’s something I struggle with so I usually don’t photograph dinners, just desserts/breakfasts I can photograph with daylight. :)

  14. I keep wanting to make your dang pumpkin bake so badly, but every time I’m reminded about it, we don’t have bananas in the house! Dern.

  15. Pingback: Lunch Date Newsletter #10: Pre-Workout Fuel & Boozy Maple-Apple Pecan Crisp

  16. Pingback: Roasted Butternut Squash Omelet | Yeah...immaeatthat

Leave a Reply to cleaneatingveggiegirl Cancel reply

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