Meal Plan Template: How to Plan, Shop & Cook for the Week

Last modified on March 25th, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Deciding on a week’s worth of meals has never been easier, more fun and time saving with our meal plan template, teaching you how to plan, shop and cook for the week. Let’s put those pins to good use.

When Philip and I aren’t cooking, we’re writing about food, photographing food or planning the food we’re going to be cooking, writing about and photographing. While it may seem like we’re constantly developing recipes for the blog, we still have in between meals, on-the-go breakfasts, lunches, snacks and weeknight dinners to plan for, which sometimes even leaves us in a food rut. Enter meal planning.

In simple terms, meal planning involves deciding what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for an entire week, then shopping and prepping the ingredients before you begin cooking.

While this sounds like a lot of work, meal prep isn’t a quick solution and requires inspiration, planning and dedicated time – work smarter, not harder when it comes to meals. Plus, the payoff is a lot more than a Pinterest-worthy dish. Here’s why you should download + print our meal plan template:

Meal planning involves deciding what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a set amount of time, then shopping and prepping before you cook.

More Time, Less Stress: There’s nothing worse than coming home after work starving and standing in front of the fridge wondering what’s for dinner. Meal planning ensures you have a meal waiting for you, or at least a plan and a well stocked pantry.

Less Food Waste: Okay, we lied, food waste is worse. When you meal plan you’re not splurge shopping or grabbing ingredients that don’t pair well. When everything in your fridge has a purpose it’s easier to use up all the ingredients.

Better Food Choices: I LOVE packing a lunch for work, and on those days we don’t meal plan, I’m forced to buy a lunch that’s 5 times the prices of what it would cost if we made it, and 5 times the amount of sodium that really isn’t necessary. Meal planning our dinner and planning leftovers for lunch ensures I don’t have to stress in the mornings and make for better food choices.

Variety of Meals: Whether it’s Mexican, Italian or a classic burger and fries, we too find ourselves in a food rut. Meal planning allows us to try new recipes from magazines, cookbooks or return to old favourites that encourages us to mix up our dinner routine.

Saves Money: When you write a grocery list and stick to the list, it’s easy to save money when you’re not tossing bags of chips, cheese and meat that probably won’t see the light of day, into your cart. Staying on track helps you budget your dollars and in turn make better food choices.

Scroll down to download + print our meal planning template.

Meal Plan Template: Planning

Before you begin slotting in all the incredible dishes you’ve pinned or recipes from your favourite blog (ahem), there are two things that need to be done.

The first is taking note of what you can use up in your fridge and pantry and meal plan around those ingredients. And the second, is taking a look at your personal/work calendar and slotting in days where you may be out or have a special occasion. For example, jot down the work lunch you have on Wednesday and your friend’s birthday dinner on Friday night on your meal plan template – these are days you won’t need to cook.

On the nights that you are cooking, figure out what the meals are intended for. Do you have a project at work this week that’ll have you home a few hours late? Are you going for drinks Thursday night and coming home to a late dinner? Or will you need to cook the night before to ensure you have lunch in the morning? Batch cooking, new recipes or selecting dishes that share similar ingredients are a few tips for making your meals go further.

Meal Plan Template: Shopping

We know you’re ready to race off to the market in anticipation of all the delicious and exciting meals you’ll be eating this week, but you’ve got one more thing to do. Using your completed meal plan template and your market list template, go through each recipe and dish you’ll be making and make your shopping list.

Dividing your list by food category ensures you don’t miss anything, saves you time since you won’t be running back and fourth between aisles and really helps you evaluate what you’re eating. Example, if your grocery list if heavy in the grains and dairy department, make a conscious choice to add a few additional fruits and vegetables as snacks or reincorporate a few more side dishes into your week. Remember, your meal plan template is not carved in stone, you can make changes.

Scroll down to download + print our meal planning template.

Meal Plan Template: Cooking

You’re meals are planed, you’ve made a market list and just returned home from grocery shopping… now what? It’s time to actually meal prep. Setting an hour or two aside on Sunday can make weeknight cooking easier and more approachable.

If you’re short on time, making a large batch of a specific dish, roasting a chicken and breaking it down, or simple prep tips like cutting onions and garlic, cleaning your lettuce or making salad dressings and marinades. These simple tips can really save you in the kitchen and assist in making you follow through, instead of buying your lunch or ordering takeout for dinner.

While meal planning is one of tasks that may seem daunting at first, once you continually make it part of your kitchen routine, you learn what not to do, where you can improve, and how to customize the process to fit your planning, shopping and cooking needs. After all, the hardest part of meal planning is all in the repetition.

Scroll down to download + print our meal planning template.

We challenge you to download + print our meal plan template and set half an hour aside to round up your favourite recipes, write a list and start your week off right. Our favourite night of the week to meal plan is Friday, with a glass of wine after we’ve taken note of any unused ingredients we have in our pantry. Starting on Friday allows us to shop smart on Saturday morning and really start our meal planning on Saturday or Sunday. Whatever day works best for you to start your meal plan, go for it.

Bon appetit,

Chef Sous Chef


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  • Reply
    March 18, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Love this! I use similar templates for my clients and for our household. I am really pushing this these days as I feel really strongly about all of us being more mindful of food waste. I especially love your tip about Friday night (with wine) planning. Keep up the great work, I love everything you two are doing ❤️❤️

  • Reply
    maura miller
    January 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    hello cant figure out how to download food plan template! any help would be great

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      January 7, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Maura,

      If you sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of the article, it will automatically send you the meal plan kit. Thanks!

      • Reply
        Maura Miller
        January 7, 2020 at 2:49 pm

        hello, I just received the email! thank you so much! Cant’t wait to try it out!

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