How to do Weekly Meal planning in a Small Space

Chelsea and Maverick cooking in an RV kitchen

Since we’ve moved into the RV, one of the most asked questions is where we keep our food in such a small space. We get so many food-related questions. How do you cook? Where do you keep all of your food? What system do you use for meal planning? Cooking in the RV was an adjustment, but it is actually easier than I thought it would be. It just took a little creativity and some practice.

I’m not a huge fan of grocery shopping. I prefer to do all of my shopping in one place and only do it once a week. When we first moved into the RV, this was really challenging. On more than one occasion, I bought too much and couldn’t find space for all of our stuff. After a lot of trial and error, weekly meal planning, and figure out a storage system that worked for us, we’ve cut our shopping down to once a week.

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meal planning and food storage in a tiny space

Here are some tips for meal planning weekly when you have limited storage space.

  • Plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 5 days (or however many days you plan to eat at home). Invest in a weekly meal planner that you don’t mind keeping out on the counter or fridge.
  • Buy 2-3 snack options for the week. Pick something a majority of you like or let each person pick one snack they will have all week. For us, I typically buy goldfish, cheez-its, popcorn, nuts, or trail mix that Mads, Mav and I snack on or that I can pack in their lunches.
  • Buy foods or ingredients that can be used for multiple meals. I buy frozen pancakes and a tub of yogurt and rotate them between breakfast and lunch throughout the week. I typically buy meat in bulk (this week was hamburger) and make recipes around it.
  • Focus on foods everyone likes and everyone can share
  • Plan out leftovers. We don’t eat leftovers, so I buy/cook smaller quantities. If you like leftovers, plan your lunches or dinners around it so you buy less food.
  • Work around your go-to staples. Staples are things you ALWAYS have on hand. For us, it’s fruit, rice, pasta, oatmeal, cheese.
  • Drinks take up a lot of space in the fridge. We put a few bottles in at a time and tuck the rest under the bed or in a storage space. If you don’t have a lot of space to store bottles, focus on water and get drink packets or flavor drops you can add to switch it up.
  • Boxes store easier than bags (think tetris). When I buy snacks, pasta, or cereal, I get boxes and I can stack on top of each other. Our pantry is small, but deep, so it allows us to use the space better
  • Use baskets or trays to store loose items like granola bars, spices, drink packets, etc. You can stack the trays on top of each other or buy wire racks to make shelving.
  • Use fruit baskets or produce bags to store fruit and veggies that do not need to be refrigerated. If you have wall space, produce bags are functional and can make cute decor.
  • Bento Boxes are a great way to pack lunches that will cut back on the amount of small, packaged snacks you have to store. For kids lunch ideas, check out my “kids lunch” story highlight on Instagram.

Consider your lifestyle and family needs

These suggestions may not work for everyone, depending on your budget and pantry/fridge space. Tailor your meal plans/grocery trips around your lifestyle and storage space. With two littles at home, grocery shopping multiple times a week is not exactly ideal, so these tips help me keep my grocery trips to once a week. It may be better for you to make 2-3 trips a week. Whatever fits your family needs.

We eat the majority of our meals at home and we eat relatively healthy. I try to be conscience of fruits and veggies that need to be refrigerated and what I can leave on the counter. Getting a mix of the two helps to better utilize the space we have.

Pinterest is your best friend!

When meal planning, I find multiple recipes that can use the same ingredients. If I buy something special for a recipe, I try to use it all that week instead of saving it. For example, if I need shredded sharp cheddar for hamburger helper, I will find another recipe that uses sharp cheddar so I can finish off the bag. I like to have as much room in my fridge/pantry as possible before my Sunday grocery trip.

Don’t let your small space intimidate you

Everyone’s home is so different. Meal prep, cooking, and food storage doesn’t have to be intimidating. It just takes time, practice, and a little creativity to figure out what works best for you and your family. If you live in a tiny space and need some storage suggestions to maximize your space, check out 7 Tips for Organizing an RV Kitchen. These tips are great for all kinds of tiny living spaces, not just RVs!

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9 thoughts on “How to do Weekly Meal planning in a Small Space

  1. Such great tips! I really hate grocery shopping too 😅 I try to go as little as possible. I like to buy meat in bulk as well and freeze it. Normally will last us quite awhile!

  2. Great rea, Chelsea! So many helpful tips and ideas for a small kitchen (and minimal trips to the store). Your comments around staples and buying ingredients for use in multiple meals are spot on!

  3. These are such great tips! We finally put everything into containers in our pantry and fridge and it is a GAME CHANGER! Seriously saves so much space!

  4. We have been trying to weekly meal plan for a while! This is so helpful, Chelsea!

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