Making my weekly meal prep menu is probably one of my favorite things to do. Or is it meal prepping? Don’t make me choose! After 6+ years of being a self-confessed meal plan and prep addict, I’m very happy with the system I’ve developed for making a weekly meal prep menu. I’m excited to share it with you and hope it helps you to start making your own!
Making a weekly meal prep menu is an easy 5-step system:
- Take inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
- Determine how many meals you need to prep for the week.
- Once you know what you already have and how many meals you need to prep, it is time to plan the required meals based on what you already have.
- Make a grocery list.
- Go shopping.
Not only will I be sharing the step-by-step system I follow to make my weekly meal prep menu, but I will also be sharing the template I’ve used for years to make my weekly meal prep menu. I also included a sneaky bonus shopping list template, which makes navigating the supermarket isles extra quick.
This post is all about Weekly Meal Prep Menu!
Going Into Meal Prep Without A Solid Plan Is The Number One Meal Prep Mistake
So, you learned about all the amazing benefits of meal prep and want to give it a go? Wonderful! But, you don’t know where to start? Start with a solid plan aka a meal prep menu!
- Doing your homework before hitting the grocery store will avoid wasting money buying things you already have and wasting time wandering the isles aimlessly.
- Also, if you don’t make a meal prep menu before starting meal prep, you will struggle to be efficient in the kitchen. You are likely to prep too few meals or perhaps too many. Overall, you might feel stressed and overwhelmed.
I for one want to avoid a meal prep fail, so let’s make that meal prep menu, shall we?
To make my meal prep menu, I follow an easy 5-step system. This system focuses on reducing food waste, saving money, and reducing stress.
How To Make A Meal Prep Menu
1. Take Inventory Of Your Pantry, Fridge, And Freezer
I don’t know about you, but I like to stock up on bulk pantry ingredients, such as dried beans, grains, nuts, and seeds to save money. I also like to stock up on other pantry staples when they are on special! If I forget about these items when making my weekly meal prep menu, then these savings become a waste of food and money!
To make sure nothing goes to waste in my kitchen, I take inventory of my pantry, fridge, and freezer weekly. I usually do this before making my weekly meal prep menu. This way, I can make sure to prioritize using ingredients I already have.
2. Determine How Many Meals You Will Need To Prep
Before making my meal prep menu, I also determine how many meals I need to prep. I check with my husband about what his schedule for the week looks like. Does he have any work lunches this week? Is he going out with a friend for dinner? Then, I check my own schedule. Do I have any team lunches or am I meeting a friend for a meal? Last but not least, when will we have a date night or will we be ordering takeaways?
Based on both our personal calendars, I determine how many meals I will need to prep for the week (yes, I do all the prepping for both of us and love it).
A tip for those who have a lot of last-minute plans, but still want to meal prep:
If you tend to have last-minute plans often, but you still want to do weekly meal prep, I have a great tip for you! For the workweek, prep only 3 breakfast meals, 3 lunch meals, and 3 dinner meals. Most meals, when properly stored, easily last 4 days in the fridge. You can rest assured that if you skip one meal, you can still eat your meal prep at the next mealtime.
3. Plan Meals Based On What You Already Have
It’s almost time to make that meal prep menu!
But first, a tip for those on a tight grocery budget:
To save some extra bucks, I often check the specials at my local supermarket online before I start making my meal prep menu. This process doesn’t save a ton of money, but if your grocery budget is tight, this might be something to consider! You can then choose some recipes that include ingredients that are on special.
Now, it’s time to make your weekly meal prep menu. First, cross out all the meal times you don’t need meals for! Then, for those meals you need to prep for, choose your recipes based on the ingredients you already have (and those on special at your local supermarket). Also, keep in mind that some ingredients come in larger quantities than what you will need for one recipe. Try to use those ingredients in several recipes or freeze the leftovers for a future meal prep session.
Personally, I find it important to meal prep nutritionally well-balanced meals. I find that those make me feel most satiated. I thus plan meals that contain protein, starch, veg-and / or fruit, and fat.
4. Make A Grocery List
Once your meal prep menu is finalized, it is time to make a grocery list and purchase the ingredients you need to start meal prepping.
On the FREE VMPS Meal Prep Menu Template, you will also find a section dedicated to making your grocery list. You will notice that the list is separated into columns according to the isles of the supermarket.
I make my grocery list on Google sheets. This way, it automatically syncs with my phone and there’s no need to make a hand-written grocery list.
5. Shop For Fresh Ingredients
You did it!! Amazing! You made your weekly meal prep menu and grocery list. All there’s left to do is shop for the ingredients you will need to execute your meal prep menu!
How To Use The VMPS Meal Prep Menu Template
If you haven’t yet, download our FREE Meal Prep Menu Template here.
You have the option to either download the template as a printable pdf file or as a Google sheet. To be able to edit the Google sheet template, you will need to go to “file” and take a copy!
Please let me know in the comment section if you have downloaded this template and whether it has helped you. I’d love to hear your feedback.
Tips To Make An Exciting Meal Prep Menu So You Don’t Get Tired Of Meal Prep
Are you one of those people that loves all the benefits of meal prep, but hates to eat the same meal repeatedly? Here are some tips that can help you meal prep without getting bored:
- Choose recipes for meals you absolutely love to eat! If you prep meals that you are excited about, you are less likely to get bored of them. Personally, I could eat spaghetti bolognese everyday for many days, but don’t ask me to eat bland broccoli, potatoes, and a veggie patty.
- Repeat one meal maximum 3 times in your weekly meal prep menu! I’ve found that repeating a meal 3 times per week is the maximum amount of times I can repeat a meal, without getting bored.
- Build a freezer meal stash and defrost a different meal on the daily.
How Often Should I Meal Prep?
So, you made your meal prep menu and have your groceries on hand. You also made sure that your menu is exciting and you won’t get bored of it! Now, the question remains, when and how often should you meal prep?
After meal prepping for many years, I’ve come to find that meal prep only lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge, when stored in an air-tight container. It might be safe to eat for longer, but they are just not delicious for any longer than 4 days. Hence, I recommend to meal prep twice per week. On Sunday and on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on whether you managed to consume all your prepped meals by Wednesday. I tend to prep 3 x 3 meals on Sunday and then a few more meals on Wednesday. This way, I cook only twice per week and my meals are always fresh.
Easy Vegan Meal Prep Ideas To Get You Started:
Here are some easy vegan meal prep recipes, to get you started with making your first weekly meal prep menu:
These Easy Peanut Tofu Meal Prep Bowls are a meal prep life-saver! Peanut tofu, roasted broccoli, and fluffy rice. So EASY and YUM.
Plant-based vegan recipes are generally affordable! This One-Pot Cheesy Chickpea Broccoli Rice Meal Prep is just one super cheap vegan meal prep example. Give it a go, your wallet will thank you.
This vegan high-protein meal prep is simply delicious! Vegan mince fried with a sweet and spicy sauce served with tender broccoli.
To make the process of making a weekly meal menu even easier, here are some 3-day meal prep menu’s to try:
Save money, time, animals and, the planet with this 3-Day Easy Vegan Meal Prep! Each meal is Indian-inspired. Think Chickpea Pancakes, Dal, and Biryani.
Save money, time, animals and, the planet with this 3-Day Cheap Vegan Meal Prep! Each meal is Belgian-inspired. Think Waffles, Vol-Au-Vent, and Mash.
Looking to include more plant-based protein into your diet? It couldn’t be easier with this soy-free, high-protein vegan meal prep!
Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to let me know, by leaving a comment below.
This post was all about Weekly Meal Prep Menu!