Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan!

Meal planning can seem very overwhelming, can’t it?

When I think of meal planning, I think of hours of my time, magazines and cookbooks piling up, stressful searching of the internet and Pinterest, and messy, complicated lists.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So many of us WANT to plan our meals but we don’t know where to start.

I’m here to help! I don’t consider myself an expert in meal planning at all, but I know enough to know what NOT to do and what makes it easier.

My methods might not be the ones for you and that’s okay. But, maybe you can pull a few tips out from this series that will help you make your meal planning easier and more streamlined.

First things first – please know that we are going to take this SLOW. In fact, I will give you some tips today and I probably won’t have the next Meal Planning post up for this series until a week from now. And you can always come back to these and go at your own pace.

How to Get Ready to Meal Plan


1. Make a list of your favorite meals and recipes.

This doesn’t mean you have to search the internet for new ones. They might not even be things that are “recipes” (ex. grilled cheese and tomato soup). Just make a list of your family favorites – the ones that you know you and your family will eat. You know, the usuals.

We can get “fancy” later and add some new recipes, but for now, just keep it simple.

meal list


2. Extra credit: Put those recipes into categories.

Depending on your food preferences, these categories might include chicken, beef, seafood, chicken, soup, meatless, casseroles, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

This step isn’t necessary, but if you are a little OCD like me, it will help prevent you from having chicken 4 nights in a row. 🙂


That’s all. This is the only thing you have to do to get started.

Keep a list on your refrigerator and when a favorite recipe comes to mind, put the name of it on your list. It might take a while and that’s okay. You can use your recipe box, your saved links in your email folder and Pinterest.

I recommend somehow having the actual recipes/ingredient lists easily accessible. The next step will be plugging these into a calendar. So, as you think about that and as you make your list of recipe names, be sure you can find them back when we move to the next step!

Click here to read Meal Planing Step #2: Make a Calendar


 To check out or purchase the food books in my main picture, visit Amazon:

Cooking from the Farmers’ Market

Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy

Cooking New American

American Classics




  1. My October 2016 Meal Plan - Real Food Eater - […] Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan […]
  2. This Week's Meal Plans - 1/11/16 - Real Food Eater - […] you need some help on how to start meal planning, check out my posts on Meal Planning Step 1:…
  3. Frugal Real Food Meal Plans - Real Food Eater - […] you’ve been following my Meal Planning series recently (see Step 1 and Step 2), then you know meal planning…
  4. Meal Planning Step 2: Make a calendar - Real Food Eater - […] now that you have your recipe list made (see Meal Planning Step 1 if you haven’t already), now it’s time…

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