Have you ever heard of Summer and Winter Meal Planning? Learn about each to see what works best for you and get a free printable to help you plan for each!
Summer and Winter Meal Planning
Through the year I use 2 very distinct kinds of meal plans, summer and winter meal plans. Each season of the year has it’s advantages and disadvantages when it comes to meal planning and of course, I want to make the most with what I have throughout the year!
In this article you will discover both types of meal planning and the perks of each. I love to use both of these plans along with my Meal Planning Binder. The binder hold all the recipes and these plans are the outline!
Once a Week or Summer Meal Planning
- Do you like to plan grocery shopping trips around sales?
- Do you live in town or close to town?
- Do you like to purchase or use seasonal foods?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then Once a Week or Summer Meal Planning might be the best fit for you! The easiest way to start out the Once a Week meal plan is to grab your local Sunday newspaper and flip through the ads. Create meals for the week based on what you can find on sale. If you use coupons, base it off what you can get cheap with coupons that week. Plan your shopping trip on a single day so you only need to make one trip to the store and make sure that you buy everything you need for that week in one shopping trip.
As with any shopping trip, stick to your list and avoid impulse buys. One of the best ways that you can save money by meal planning is to create that list of your meals so you know exactly what to buy. No unnecessary foods added to your cart and hopefully no food wasted at the end of the week.
If you plan on purchasing seasonal foods, make sure to plan your shopping day on a day when the local farmer’s market is open or when you know the grocery store will have the best selection of local or fresh produce.
—Make the most out of your trip to the Farmer’s Market with these tips.
Once a Week meal planning is a great summer plan if you are like me and are a heavy seasonal meal planner and base many meals off what is fresh from the garden. Once a Week meal planning lets you take advantage of seasonal produce and fresh garden produce. If you were to do Once a Month meal planning in the summer, it would be difficult to plan meals around what garden produce you hope to have at the end of the month. With Once a Week meal planning, you can head out to the garden at the beginning of the week, note that you have a lot of zucchini that will need to be used that week, and make sure you adjust your meal plans accordingly.
–Be sure and track what you are growing and putting away from your garden to make your winter meal planning easier with The Gardening and Preserving Journal.
Once Every Two Weeks or Winter Meal Planning
- Do you like buying foods in bulk?
- Do you like using pantry staples in your meals?
- Do you have half a day you can devote to creating meals every two weeks?
If you answered yes to those questions, then Once Every Two Weeks or Winter meal planning might be the best fit for you. If you love finding deals on food in bulk and you prefer to create meals based on your pantry staples and what you already have on hand, then planning your meals Once Every Two Weeks works well.
To make this plan work best for you, you will need to start with a good inventory list of what you already have in your pantry (and freezer), that way you don’t get to a meal day or a baking day and wonder what happened to the last of the oats.
Once Every Two Weeks you will create a meal plan based on both sales and what you have on hand in your pantry. Again, make sure to plan your shopping trip on a single day to save time and gas. This plan allows you the flexibility to buy in bulk on your shopping trips for future weeks since you know you will have the room to store it and that you will use it since you based your meals off of your pantry inventory.
–Looking for more info on buying in bulk? Check out this post on What to Order From a Bulk Foods Coop
The Once Every Two Weeks meal plan works best in the winter, especially if you are a canner. Winter Meal Planning allows you to base your meals off of what you may already have prepared in your pantry and it saves you time and money by allowing you to buy in bulk. It also works better when there are fewer seasonal products to choose from and you are going mostly off of pantry staples.
With the Once Every Two Weeks meal planning, you should try to devote half of a day once during the two weeks to have a baking day. This will allow you to get the bulk of your baking done for the week in a single afternoon.
—Use your baking day to prepare a few freezer meals for your slow cooker and fill up your pantry staples.
Trying to plan better, more frugal meals for your family so that you always have a warm meal on the table and aren’t wasting money at the grocery store? You’ve got to check out my ebook Meal Planning Made Simple. Even if you thought meal planning didn’t work for your family, this ebook will help you find the perfect fit for your family’s style.
Do you use seasonal meal planning? What are some tips you have to share about meal planning?
This post on Summer Winter Meal Planning was originally published on Little House Living in October 2014. It has been updated as of October 2019.