Blog Meal Planning

How I Got Started Meal Planning (and how you can, too!)

Real talk: I used to think meal planning was stupid and a waste of time.

When it came right down to it, my biggest problem was that I really didn’t know where to even begin meal planning:

What if I didn’t want to eat what I had planned?

What if I made too much food?

What if we decided to meet friends that night instead?

What if something else sounded better at the grocery store? 

Couldn’t I just wing it?

Now, I look back at myself and laugh; meal planning has, if anything, made my life easier! Now I know what I will be spending that week at the grocery store, I know what we’re having for dinner that night, and I know just how I can ‘pivot’ to a different dish if something comes up or we change our minds last minute.

While I thought meal planning was hemming me in, it was really freeing me up in ways I could never have expected.

I’ve been writing on this page about just how I plan meals for our week since I started it, in 2016. But my meal planning journey began after my first daughter began eating solid food, when I was tired of throwing meals together at the end of an already long day, and hated how I would sometimes reach for the easiest thing to give her when I didn’t feel like cooking (she ate a lot of banana and avocado dinners back then)

In this post, I’ll be dropping all that knowledge into one big, fat list.

If you’re new to meal planning, there’s info here to get you going. If you’re in a rut, I got you covered there, too. And if you just need some inspo to figure out what the heck you’re actually cooking this week, I have cheat sheets and idea lists galore!

For those ready to begin meal planning:

My Top Three Meal Planning Basics

This Is the Ultimate Pantry Essentials Checklist

How to Start Meal Planning

How to Decide What To Cook

9 Best Quick and Easy Cookbooks Every Busy Cook Needs

Cook ‘Family Meal’ Just Like a Chef

‘Don’t Throw That Out!’ Repurposing Leftover Ingredients

If You Meal Plan Already, But Want Inspiration

The 5 Minute Meal Plan

How to Get Out of a Meal Planning Rut

The Fastest Way to Convert Recipes from Metric to Imperial (and vice-versa!)

I hope these will be helpful for all you meal planning beginners!

Want to know your BEST mode of meal planning? I’ve got a handy quiz you can take that’ll help you figure it out! Tap the big ole’ button below:

Ruthy Kirwan

Ruthy Kirwan is a recipe tester and developer living in NYC with her two small kids and hard-working husband. She created Percolate Kitchen in 2016 to help busy people get their act together in the kitchen. Learn more at

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