Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meal Planning with Printable Worksheet

*Updated 5-5-2013 Downloads can now be purchased in my Etsy shop*
Meal Planner
Meal Planner with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

I am an organized person by nature and I love lists! Meal planning for me is one big organized list. When I go grocery shopping I like to have a plan in place and a list to follow. I have found that when I plan meals and make a list ahead of time, I spend a lot less money. It also makes it possible for me to only go to the grocery store once a week. With 2 kids, going to the grocery store is quite a task so going only once a week is almost necessary. Also, when you are going to the grocery store multiple times a week, you end up spending a lot more money in the long run.

I set up a spreadsheet for my weekly meal plan and shopping list. I have it set up so I can fit two worksheets on one sheet of paper. One half of the worksheet is 7 boxes, one for each day of the week and the other half is a place for my shopping list. At the bottom of the page is a box for anything else that I need to make that week.  See the end of this post for a free printable version of this worksheet.

I print off a bunch of these worksheets at a time and hole punch them and put them in a mini 3-ring binder. The inside pocket of the binder is where I keep my coupons. I still need to find a better way to organize my coupons but that is for another time. 

When I plan my meals for the week, I go through my binder of recipes to help give me ideas. This binder is one that I have put together over the last few years of recipes that I have clipped from magazines or printed from the internet. Each sheet in in a page protector to save it from my messy cooking.  If I find a recipe that I want to use that week, I put a sticky tab at the top of the page with the day of the week that corresponds with my list so that it is easier to find on the night I want to use it.  You can see these tabs at the top of the binder in the next picture.

It is organized into 11 categories, you can see these tabs on the right side of the next picture.  I have an index in the front that I have sorted alphabetically and by category. I have a subscription to a magazine called Simple & Delicious and when it comes, I go through it and rip out any recipes that I want to try and those get added to my book. The rest of the magazine gets recycled so that I don't have piles and piles of magazines to go through.

After I have made my list of meals for the week, I go through the list and figure out what I need to get at the grocery store.  When I make my list, I mentally go through the store and make my list so that everything is in order of how I will come upon them in the store.  This makes it much easier when I am shopping and eliminates any backtracking through the store for forgotten items. 

Once I am done shopping, I take my list and post it on the bulletin board in my kitchen.  The planned meals don't always get made on the day they are listed but I know that I have seven meals planned and the ingredients I need to make them.  Below is this weeks list of meals and the shopping list I used when I went shopping today.

I hope that this will give you ideas on how to make your shopping trips more organized and helps to battle those last minute panics of what to make for dinner.

*Updated 5-5-2013 Downloads can now be purchased in my Etsy shop*
Meal Planner
Meal Planner with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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Lauren said...

Could you put a link to share your menu planner with us!

Danielle said...

I just added a printable version of the worksheet. See the end of the second paragraph for the link. Enjoy!

thebeautifullystrong.com said...

brilliant!!! :)

Danielle said...

Thanks, glad you like the updated version. Thank you for the idea!

Anonymous said...

Is that printable free or only on Etsy?

Danielle Schaub said...

The printable is now only available in my Etsy shop.

Anonymous said...

So you want people to buy this and they can make it themselves!?! Nice blog and great ideas, but I will make this at home on my computer for free.

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