Meal Plan Templates {Free Download!}

Meal prep and planning has so many benefits! Whether you are looking to stay on track with healthy eating, save time in the kitchen, or trying to stick to a budget, meal planning can be one of the best tools in your toolbox! However, if you are new to it, meal prep can seem a bit challenging.

There are two main concerns I hear all the time from people who are interested in meal prep, and both can be barriers to actually implementing it. The first is a logistics issue. They are confused by how many meals they need to prep and by how difficult it can be to try to plan a schedule for their meals once they have them prepped. The second is a time issue. They aren’t sure how they can prep things efficiently and still not get bored. They don’t want to have to prep a ton of different things, but they also do not want to eat the same things over and over. Let’s face it, none of us want to spend our entire weekend in the kitchen!

If you are interested in learning how to meal prep, but don’t love the idea of eating leftovers ad nauseam, don’t know how to choose a recipe, aren’t sure how to schedule you meals, or all of the above, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with this one, simple tool!

For most of us, breakfast is less of a issue, and it is fairly easy to stay on track. Where most people run into trouble is lunch and dinner.

Keeping in line with my #MinimalistMealPrep philosophy, it was my goal to give you the most return for your efforts with the least amount of time necessary on your part. With that being said, I came up with a meal plan template that you can use in order to plan your lunch and dinner meals for the week! You only need 3 different recipes which make at least 4 servings each. Once you prep your 3 recipes, you can then rotate these 3 meals throughout the week without ever eating the same meal back to back!


 

Some FAQs:

Q. What if I am prepping for only 1 person?

A. All you have to do is choose 3 recipes that make at least 4 servings each and follow one of the templates below.

Q. What if I am prepping for more than 1 person?

A. If you are prepping for more than 1 person, you still choose a recipe with at least four servings, then duplicate for the number of people you need to feed!

Q. Can I use a recipe that makes more than 4 servings?

A. Absolutely! If a recipe has more than 4 servings, simply freeze the extra portions in individual containers for use another time when you may not have time to prep!

Q. Can I modify this template to work even if I only need to prep lunch and dinner Monday through Friday?

A. You sure can! For those who only need a plan for a 5 day work week, follow the template for days 1-5 and then freeze the other 2 meals for another time.

Q. What if I want to have a meal other than the one scheduled on my meal plan?

A. Since this is a 6 day plan, and there are 7 days in the week, you get the ability to have 2 meals where you can enjoy something off of the meal plan! You can use these meals for dining out, eating at someone else’s home, or for use with some other kind of meal at home (that isn’t one of the prepped recipes) a couple of times a week. The templates have the “open meals” listed on day 7, but regardless of where the open meal falls, you simply shift the order down by 1 meal and pick back up where you were on the template, and it will keep you on track! If you know ahead of time where these meals will fall, you can go ahead and adjust the blank template to suit.

For example:

Master Template:

Recipe number one = A
Recipe number two = B
Recipe number three = C

Day 1:

  • Lunch: A
  • Dinner: B

Day 2:

  • Lunch: C
  • Dinner: A

Day 3:

  • Lunch: B
  • Dinner: C

Day 4:

  • Lunch: A
  • Dinner: B

Day 5:

  • Lunch: C
  • Dinner: A

Day 6:

  • Lunch: B
  • Dinner: C

Day 7:

  • Lunch: Open Meal
  • Dinner: Open Meal

With 2 random meals off plan during the week, it would shift to this:

Weekly Template Example:

Recipe number 1 = A:        Write Recipe 1 Name Here          
Recipe number 2 = B:        Write Recipe 2 Name Here          
Recipe number 3 = C:        Write Recipe 3 Name Here          

Day 1:

  • Lunch: A
  • Dinner: B

Day 2:

  • Lunch: Open Meal
  • Dinner: C

Day 3:

  • Lunch: A
  • Dinner: B

Day 4:

  • Lunch: C
  • Dinner: A

Day 5:

  • Lunch: B
  • Dinner: Open Meal

Day 6:

  • Lunch: C
  • Dinner: A

Day 7:

  • Lunch: B
  • Dinner: C

Q. What if I don’t know when my open meals will fall, or I decide to have one of my open meals at the last minute and my plan is already structured?

A. Got you covered here too! If you don’t know ahead of time when your open meals will fall, the best way to do things is to fill in the blank template with your rough draft plan using pencil so that you can easily adjust if you change tour meal plans last minute! Then you’ll simply erase and bump down by one meal as outlined above!

See? So Easy! Ok, you are almost set! Simply download the #MinimalistMealPrep Meal Plan Template which includes both the master template and the blank template. The only thing you will need to do each week is choose your 3 recipes, print the blank template, then fill it in with the meals of your choice using the master template as your guide. Keep it on your fridge or counter for reference. Just remember to fill it in using pencil so if you have un unplanned meal off the original template, all you have to do is bump each letter down by 1 spot!

Grab thre PDF here: #MinimalistMealPrep Meal Plan Template

I highly recommend keeping a running list of meals to choose from on Pinterest. Y’all already know I make Dashing Dish recipes all the time. If you are a member of Dashing Dish, you can save meals to your recipe box right on the site and print grocery lists too! If you aren’t a member, many of the recipes are still available to you too, but you will have to save them to Pinterest or print them to keep up with your ideas.

If you know someone who might benefit from this template, pass this post link along to them!

If you use the template, snap a pic of it or what you prepped, use #MinimalistMealPrep and tag me on Instagram @CheeseGirlPA, or Facebook Kaci Cheeseman!


 

Reader Questions:
1/ Do you meal prep?
2/ If so, what is the hardest part for you?
3/ If not, why not?

Pssst… I’m asking for a reason! If you find something difficult, chances are others do too, so if it is a problem I can solve, I can address it in future posts! But… I won’t know if you don’t tell me! 😉

Coaching works! If you want 1:1 help with a specific goal, you can get more info here.

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