How To Rotate A Six-Week Meal Plan

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Meal planning really is a great idea. You can save time and money by meal planning. But it can also be time-consuming to do.

Sitting down every week and figuring out what your family will eat for the next week. Knowing you will probably cook most of the same things but your mind goes blank as soon as you go to write. Or even being burnt out on meal planning.

I get it. Meal planning makes my life so much easier but it is also overwhelming. Which is why rotating a six-week meal plan is a great way to simplify mom life.

Whatever simplifies motherhood wins in my book.

So how do we go about rotating a six-week meal plan?

First, you have six weeks of meals planned out. Once you have your six weeks of meals planned out you rotate them weekly.

You could do any amount of weeks that you would like. I say six because it’s a good variety. Three, four or even ten weeks would work as well. Whatever works for you.

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How I set a six-week rotating meal plan up

First Meal Dump

Get a notebook and write all the meals you already make down. Think of your family favorites. Write it all down. To help with this you can make themed nights, make meal categories or even write out the number of meats/proteins you use a week. Pull out your favorite cookbook for inspiration. I would hold on to this paper for future meal planning.

Themed nights

Chicken option

Easy night

Crockpot Meal

Taco night

Comfort food

Healthy

Soup night

Grill night

Categorize your meals

Cheap meals

30 Minutes or less

Healthy week

Paleo

Plant-based

Write out the proteins you normally cook

Chicken (2)

Beef (1)

Pork (1)

Meatless (1)

Second, write your list of meals

Take out another piece of notebook paper. Write out six different weeks and number underneath for how many days of the week you usually plan to cook. I try to do two days of leftovers a week so my number would be five for planned meals.

Make sure to make the week a good variety of different options. If your family likes to eat a certain meal once a week then put it down for every week. This meal plan is meant to work for you and what your family likes.

If you like to try new recipes or go out to eat on certain nights then leave a space for that.

Start filling in your weeks with the meals from your ‘meal dump’.

Week One

1. Meal one

2. Meal two

3. Meal three

4. Meal four

5. Meal five

6. Leftovers

7. Leftovers

Now You Have 6 Weeks Of Meals Planned

Week 1

1. Chicken noodle soup and fresh bread

2. Red beans and rice

3. Pork chops, sweet potatoes, and squash

4. Spaghetti and green beans

5. Tacos

Week 2

1. Chicken taco soup

2. Goulash and green beans

3. Pulled pork

4. Beef tips and gravy, mashed potatoes and carrots

5. Chicken fried rice with vegetables

Week 3

1. Roast with red potatoes and carrots

2. Sloppy Joes

3. Taco bowls

4. Chicken noodle potpie soup

5. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn

Week 4

1. Fajitas

2. Hamburgers and fries

3. ‘New recipe’

4. Creamy mushroom chicken, rice, and peas

5. White bean chicken chili

Week 5

1. Lentil soup and cornbread

2. Pork loin, zucchini and

3. Sriracha chicken tacos

4. Homemade hamburger helper

5. Pasta salad

Week 6

1. Baked chicken and vegetables

2. Pork Carnitas

3.’New recipe’

4. Homemade pizza

5. Gumbo and potato salad

Lastly, You Will Rotate Your Meal Plan

Each week you can go in order or you can skip around but you already have your meals picked out for the week. Just rotate your six meal plans however you would like.

This way you will have meals already picked out and you will just need to choose which week you want to use.

Of course, there will be times that you want to change it up but this helps save you time by having meals picked out. This rotating meal plan takes the guesswork out.

 

How To Rotate A Six-Week Meal Plan

 

Check this post out on Burnt Out On Meal Planning: What To Do When This Happens.

Doing a ‘meal dump’, writing out your weekly meals and rotating your six-week meal plan will save you time and simplify your life!

This is great for you during the busy season of motherhood.

You may have weeks where you decide not to use your rotating meal plan but in your busier seasons of life, you can pull it right out and not have to worry about figuring out what your family will eat. You will already have six weeks of meals planned out. And ready to rotate.

What ways do you simplify meal planning? I am always looking for new ways to simplify mom life.

 


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Author: Elizabeth Hill

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  • I totally need this in my life! Right now we meal plan and shop based on weekly sales. How could I incorporate this idea based on this shopping strategy?

    • This is actually easier than you think. If you pay attention the sales typically rotate as well. For many things, there’s always a handful of beef cuts, or a wide variety of vegetables. When i meal plan, I will typically “generalize” a handful of my recipies to make up for fluctuations in sales. Like I make a minestrone soup where the recipe calls for “seasonal vegetables, 3 lb”, or pehaps you could plan a meal where you could you any type of meat (you could even label the ingredient as a mystery meat, haha) like fajitas (where you could make those any type of meat, or even seasoned black beans, my favorite)

  • I totally need this in my life! Right now we meal plan and shop based on weekly sales. How could I incorporate this idea based on this shopping strategy?

    • Most grocery items, including meat, fish, and poultry, have about a six-week sales cycle. Meaning, that if “x: is on sale this week, it will be on sale six weeks from now. What I would do is make the list of favorite meals, but instead of plugging them all in a six-week meal plan now, I’d do one week based on the sale items you’re buying this week. Next week do the same thing with the items that are on sale. And so on. At the end of the six weeks you should have a meal plan based on sale items.

      Since animal protein tends to be the most expensive part of our food budgets, if you can, buy a little extra when it’s on sale, wrap in meal or recipe sized portions and freeze it. That gives you a little more flexibility in meal planning.

      Fresh produce is probably the next most expensive thing. Instead of planning a specific produce side dish with a specific main dish, I’m making a list of side dishes for the weeks that can vary depending on what’s in season and on sale.

  • There are only three of us but my son who still lives at home works nights. My husband and I are retired. We like to go to water aerobics two nights a week. So sometimes planning meals so we can all eat together gets crazy. I think your 6 week rotation might simplify things because I can plan for nights my son is off and slow cooker meals the nights we.go to Aerobics. I’m going to give it a try anyway. Thanks for the ideas.

  • I made up a list of 5 recipes based on the meats I would use ( ground beef, chicken, pork, fish, vegetarian & roasts/steaks. Leftovers are eaten the 7th day.) This gives me a full month of meals & I just repeat each month. Each meal is only eaten 12 times a year so we don’t tire of them. New recipes I want to try get swaped for an old one. I also vary my recipes by season- remove Chili & add BLTs for the summer & vice versa.

  • I made up a list of 5 recipes based on the meats I would use ( ground beef, chicken, pork, fish, vegetarian & roasts/steaks. Leftovers are eaten the 7th day.) This gives me a full month of meals & I just repeat each month. Each meal is only eaten 12 times a year so we don’t tire of them. New recipes I want to try get swaped for an old one. I also vary my recipes by season- remove Chili & add BLTs for the summer & vice versa.

    • Cathy, I love this idea!! Anything to simplify meal planning wins in my book! Thanks for the idea 🙂

  • I am intrigued by chicken noodle potpie soup! I hope you share the recipe soon! I have theme nights and that helps tremendously! M-Pasta, T-Pizza, W-Soup, Salad or Sandwich, Th-Breakfast for Dinner. F-S-S are not planned out. I’m going to try out your idea to help too!

    • I really do need to post that recipe! I accidentally created it and it is my favorite. And I love the theme night ideas! Great ideas!

  • We do this as well but our schedules are crazy with 3 teenagers and a firefighter hubby so we just plan a few breakfasts that can been made ahead and grabbed by the kids during the school week. Lunches are listed as sandwiches or leftovers plus two easy to keep on hand meals for weekends (or spaghetti). Then we put 5 dinners on the list and can eat them in any order during the week – this leaves us flexibility to make what works easier on a busy night. The biggest time saver for us is that for each week we have a matching shopping list that has every ingredient needed for all of the recipes on the menu (even salt and pepper). Then before going to the store the shopping list is printed and things we already have (like salt and pepper) get crossed off before we get to the store. This has saved so much time makingvthe shopping list because we don’t have to look at the recipes each time before shopping – only double checking fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure we actually still need the item. Each week’s list has basics on it like bread, lunch meat, milk, eggs, snacks for school lunches etc so those don’t get forgotten either. The last big saver is a freezer meal group where there are 4 of us and once a month we each pick one recipe to make. We prep it at home and make 4 freezer bags of the same meal (ie if I pick taco soup then I make 4 batches of that). When we get together we keep one of the meals we made and trade the other 3 for meals they made. Then I have 4 meals in the freezer for those uh oh we ran out of time nights that I can throw in my instants pot. They also work well for the uh oh I am running out of time to do the shopping today so I will put a freezer meal in the crock pot.

  • I just found your blog and I’m so excited to try this. Meal planning has been the bane of my existence for 2 years now. I have one super picky kid so I’ve lost my mojo in this area of homemaking. I’m really looking forward to diving into this planning tonight and being prepared for this new year!

  • I love this! I’m still figuring out my meal planning routine (I got married in January) and have been meal planning weekly so far, but I’ve wanted a way to simplify it. I love that you make room for new recipes – most meal rotations I’ve seen don’t have that.

  • Freezer meals are a life saver. It doesn’t take any longer to double a recipe. Cook one for Dinner and freeze the other for later. When you know you will have a busy day, put a freezer meal in the frig to unthaw the night before. When you get home from work put meal in oven, while it bakes make a salad or vegetable and fresh fruit, and rolls. Set the table and dinner is ready. Pinterest has many ideas for freezer meals. Including sites that tell you what does not freeze well and how to adapt your own favorite recipes. So one or more nights a week have a freezer meal. Works for me!

  • I simplify by thinking about supper the night before- this way I can thaw out meat overnight and do a little prep in the morning: especially with young kids it keeps my household running smoothly.