I think that in order for any household or grocery budget to work, there must be a meal plan.
Whether it’s a full month, perfectly typed out and framed in an 8×10 hung on the kitchen wall, or just a sticky note with random chicken scratch ideas jotted down – a plan is a plan and it needs to exist.
On the flip side, meal planning is not a skill that comes easy for many people.
For some, the mere idea of coming up with dinner ideas is a nightmare. For others, they don’t want to be limited and trapped by what’s written down.
Lucky for us, there are tons of different ways to meal plan and there IS a method that will for you!
Take this meal planning quiz to see what your meal planning personality is, and which meal planning method fits you best!
Meal Planning Quiz
Directions: Pour a cup of coffee or tea. Then, for each statement below, answer true or false. If your answer is true, read on to see what your meal planning personality is. If your answer is false, move on to the next statement! You’ll find a list of resources to help you with each meal planning personality at the end of the quiz!
TRUE / FALSE: I want shop the sales and markets and plan my meals around what I come home with.
Your personality type is Backwards Meal Planning, which allows you to shop first and then make the menu based on what you bought. This works best for those who like to take advantage of whatever markdowns they find or just simply pick up whatever looks good at the store that week. This personality doesn’t want to be told what to buy or feel limited to the ingredients in recipes. Ideally, you can shop as you want and still have a general meal plan to follow by the end of the day.
TRUE / FALSE: I don’t know what to plan because we won’t be at home to eat.
Your personality type is Traveler, which means you’re simply not at home to eat your meals. You could be on the road, on vacation or having a picnic with friends. Without a stove, refrigerator or counter tops at your disposal, meal prep can be difficult and this personality gets easily stumped within these limitations. Ideally, you’d have suggestions for healthy meals that don’t require any special equipment but aren’t lacking in flavor either.
TRUE / FALSE: I need snack ideas for my kids – lunchbox, after school, game time, on the road, etc.
Your personality type is Soccer Mom since feeding your on-the-go kids is your biggest challenge. You want your kids to eat good food, but you’re stuck in a rut with ideas. You also need nutrient-dense food that passes every kid test known to man. Ideally, you’d have an assortment of meal and snack ideas at the ready, and all of them would still be appealing (both taste and visual) when left in a container for half the day.
TRUE/ FALSE: I know how to plan, but I struggle with keeping all my ideas in one spot.
Your personality type is The Brainstormer, because you have tons of ideas but they’re never where you need them, when you need them! You have a list in your purse, in your planner, on the fridge and probably right on top of your big stack of sticky notes. You have no problem coming up with ideas, but can’t quite harness them altogether at the same time. Ideally, you’d have a system that kept all your awesome ideas in the same spot.
TRUE / FALSE: We’re gluten-free and on a budget.
Your personality type is Allergy since you’ve got to worry about the budget AND someone in the family having an allergic reaction to dinner. You want to serve healthy food, but you’re not sure if what you’re buying is safe. You turn to foods labeled “gluten-free” as a guide, but the cost of these convenience foods is starting to add up. Ideally, you’d love some whole foods meal ideas that take allergies into consideration.
TRUE / FALSE: I work outside the home and need fast ideas for dinner.
Your personality type is Workerbee. You’re a busy bee alright, and consider yourself lucky if the family is fed before the sun goes down. You don’t have much time to prepare dinner, but still want your family to eat healthy foods. You’ve got some time in the morning, but you’re not sure how that helps you come dinner time. Ideally, you’d love to come home to dinner waiting for you on the stove.
TRUE / FALSE: I struggle with breakfast, and everything that goes with it.
Your personality type is Primer, since the first meal of the day is your arch nemesis. It needs to be easy, hearty and frugal and you have no clue where to begin. You’re content serving oatmeal every morning, but the kids might revolt if they see another bowl of grey mush. Ideally, you’d love to have a variety of fast and healthy breakfast ideas already set-up for you before the alarm goes off.
TRUE / FALSE: I like lots of variety in my weekly meals.
Your personality type is Variety for the mere fact that you don’t want to eat the same thing twice. You like Asian, Mexican and French but can’t quite seem to fit it all in without feeling like it all takes too much work. You struggle with finding the balance between simple, yet exotic. Ideally, you’d have your own system for meal planning that let you include as much or as little variety as you wanted.
TRUE / FALSE: I don’t want do meal plan at all.
Your personality type is Hands Off. You know the benefit of a meal plan, but the entire concept stresses you out. You don’t want to plan, you don’t want to brainstorm and you certainly don’t want to write a shopping list. You want someone else to do all the work for you so you can go through your day stress-free and not have to worry about dinner. Ideally, you’d love to just shop and cook.
Knowing what type of meal planner you are is half the battle. Finding resources to help you meal plan within your personality is quite the challenge too!
Try Frugal Real Food Meal Plans
Frugal Real Food Meal Plans is an all-inclusive meal plan geared towards getting the grocery budget under control while learning to eat real foods. Each month includes 31 dinners, 12 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 4 desserts, prep list and shopping lists. Plus the quick start guide shows you how to get the most out of the plan, helping you eliminate expensive (and unnecessary) items from your shopping cart and putting leftovers to good use!
Regardless of your meal planning type, Frugal Real Food Meal Plans can work for you. Download a free 14-day sample and give it a test run. When you enjoy the delicious meals without the stress to plan them, sign up for a month-to-month membership. However, the best price comes with a 12 month membership – it’s comes out to just $9.99 per month!
LOL, I hear you Amy!!
Excellent article. I already subscribe to your Frugal Meal Plans as I do not like meal planning or shopping list making or thinking about what to eat at any time! But your thought provoking questions and the various solutions provided in this bundle made for a great article.
Alright, I diagnosed myself with the “Variety” meal plan description, with “Allergy” co-morbidity! Now what? I thought there was a solution for every type… but I am not seeing individual solutions, just the frugal whole food meal plans. I like the idea of it and might try the two week trial, except my reservations are (1) we like REALLY exotic foods, I’d be shocked if a pre-made meal plan included the kinds of recipes we like to add into our circulation, and (2) I’m sensitive to gluten AND dairy AND eggs. Never have I ever found a pre-made meal plan that fit all 3. So I think learning a “system” is probably the way to go for me. I’m seeing a lot of articles on your webpage about benefits of meal planning, but I am not finding any nuts-and-bolts “how to” articles. Am I just trapped in the maze and missing them? Is that what you cover in your bootcamp class, and if so, when is your next one?
Kyare - Team Crumbs
Valentine, the great thing about our meal plans are that they are made to be adjustable to your personal needs! If you want you could use this article to make your own meal plan https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/make-meal-plan/ or try the 2 week free trial just to see how our premade meal plans will work for you!