Make a Master List of Meals – Monthly Meal Planning

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So, you’ve decided that you want to try once a month grocery shopping! It is such a great way to save money and headache every month when it comes to feeding your family. I love that I have simplified grocery shopping, because honestly I really do not like doing it. I think it’s because I have several little kids. The less I have to go to the store, the better! The first step in shopping once a month is making a master list of meals and monthly meal planning.

Monthly meal planning and creating a master list of meals is the first step in once a month shopping. Learn how to plan your meals for a month at a time.

Make a Master List of Meals for Monthly Meal Planning

This is going to be a pretty simple tip, but you need to have a really good idea what your family’s favorite meals are. What do you usually cook over the course of a month? Remember, you need to plan for all meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This will be your master list of meals that you can pull from when planning a monthly menu.

Sit down when you have a chance to really think. You can keep the list on your computer, or write it down in your home management binder. You need to have a nice rotation of meals. 

This will look different for everyone, but I am going to give you some ideas of the meals we eat in our house.


I don’t necessarily menu plan breakfast, but I like to have an array of choices available.

  • Bagels/cream cheese
  • Eggs/bacon/toast
  • Yogurt/granola
  • Pancakes w/syrup
  • Oatmeal/fruit
  • Cereal/fruit
  • Smoothies


  • Tuna 
  • Sandwich fixings
  • PB&J
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Salad greens
  • Veggie sticks
  • Chips
  • Egg salad



  • Goldfish crackers
  • Raisins
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh in-season veggies
  • Nuts
  • Apple sauce
  • String cheese sticks
  • Pudding
  • Jello

Baked Goods

  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Rolls
  • French bread
  • White bread

This is definitely not everything we eat, but it is a good idea of what we do eat and gives me dinners to pull for my menu plan. Your list will likely look much different, and that’s ok. Just start somewhere.

I have included a PDF with my master list of meals and links to recipes I use.mlofm

Ask everyone in your family what their favorite meals are. What snacks do your kids like to have? Don’t forget about yourself. Everyone’s master list of meals will look different, but this is an important item to keep on hand! Don’t skip this step.

Next week I will show you how to make a master inventory of every ingredient you will need to feed your family throughout the month. This is the next step in preparing for once a month grocery shopping!

Want all of this information and the printables in one place? Get my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping.

Once a month grocery shopping eBook

Photo Credit: Ambro /

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  1. I have a master list but I haven’t been using it for a long time, so I would have to add some new favorites to it.

    I used to meal plan and had theme nights, such as chicken night, or casserole night or soup and salad night, etc. I really need to get back to meal planning. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday. Looking forward to next week’s post!

  2. Joanie…I did a master meal plan a long time ago. You made me think maybe I should revisit this idea although I don’t mind grocery shopping. 😉 Glad you shared this at Monday’s Musings. I pinned and tweeted it to encourage others. Blessings.

  3. I have put my meals ideas into separate lists –
    Chicken Dishes, Beef Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes, Salads, Sides, Pork Dishes, Fish Dishes, Desserts, Snacks. I have decorated the lists with related pictures, put them in a file binder and added the monthly calendar chart, shopping list form and inventory sheets. I have taught my children what is a balanced diet and how to roughly cost the meals, and to add 3 vegetarian meals per week. (This helps with budgeting)
    Then my children are also able to plan our meals monthly whilst learning skills for life. They get their favorites in there too. We have a different meal everyday of the month with no repeats for the month. It is surprisingly easy, cheap and healthy.
    thank you for this new inventory chart.
    Kathleen (Australia)

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