It’s true. There are several ways to make bad meal plans. When we say “bad” we mean it would take you forever and a day to prep, assemble and cook to put into the freezer.

To help you avoid that, we want to give you our best tips for making a really great and doable meal plan.

How to Build the BEST Meal Plan:

At Once A Month Meals, we work diligently to help you save time on a daily basis by using freezer cooking. However, we also continue to advocate for your time in the way we build and curate meal plans.

We do our best to build meal plans that move you through a cooking day as fast as possible. We do that by strategically choosing meals based on the type of recipe and what appliances they use. You can look at any of our curated, premade meal plans to see what this looks like. This is also another way we help do the work ahead of time for you!

Why does this matter?

We do this so that your cooking day (the day you make all the meals at once) doesn’t take you literally 24+ active hours to complete.

For example:

  • 7 baked recipes (at 45 minutes per recipe) would take you all day to complete with the varying preheating times, and active oven cooking times.
  • 4 slow cooker recipes, cooked at a minimum of 4 hours each, would take you 16 hours to complete.

Do you see where we’re going?

Our Recommendation:

For a 15 Recipe Meal Plan that Doubles to 30 Meals

Choose at least half Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipes

A well-balanced meal plan contains at least half easy-to-assemble recipes. Make at least 7-8 recipes (of the 15) dump and go (easy assembly), meaning they are easy and fast to assemble. These will take the least amount of time on your cooking day to put together.

*You can find Easy to Assemble recipes by filtering for “Cooking Day Cook Types” and choosing “Easy Assembly/Dump and Go.”

Choose at least half “Other” Cooking Type Recipes

For the other 7-8 recipes (of the 15), we suggest you use no more than:

  • 3 baked recipes
  • 3 stovetop recipes
  • 2 slow cooker recipes

This is to ensure you complete your meal plan in a timely manner.

Using this method should allow you to complete your cooking day within 12-16 hours!

*That time is allotted for full  meal plans of 15 recipes, doubled to 30 meals. Smaller meal plans will take less time to complete.

Your Meal Plan’s “Cooking Day” should then look similar to this:

  1. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  2. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  3. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  4. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  5. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  6. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  7. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  8. Dump and Go (Easy Assembly) Recipe
  9. Baking Recipe Recipe
  10. Baking Recipe Recipe
  11. Slow Cooker Recipe
  12. Slow Cooker Recipe
  13. Stovetop Recipe
  14. Stovetop Recipe
  15. Stovetop Recipe