This meal planning is not for the faint of heart. This is for people who are serious about saving time and money. It’s a little daunting at first, but once you complete this project you will thank me for encouraging you to do so! What I like most about this method is that it takes the “thinking” out of meal planning. I hate thinking about what meals to make and coming up with a list off the top of my head and I get easily overwhelmed when the time comes to start planning. With this meal planning binder, I can hand it to my husband and ask him to pick out meals that he would like this month. It’s wonderful! Eventually I will involve my children in this process because meal planning is such an important skill as an adult.
This idea was provided by a wonderful blogger named Ursula Carmona at www.homemadebycarmona.com. Please go to her website because there you will find all the free templates as well as more information on how to get started. There is even a video, so you just can’t go wrong checking that out.
I’m sharing how I took her idea and made it my own. That’s what’s nice about this menu planner! You can customize it to fit your lifestyle and your needs. I invite you to join me this year in a better meal planning system. You truly won’t regret it!
You can find these at Walmart, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, or online. You’ll also need a printer and paper handy for printing the free templates.
Now I’m going to take you through the contents of my menu planner.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I made this page myself to make it easier to find everything.
WEEKLY MENU PLAN
I have 8 weeks worth of weekly menu planning pages which accounts for roughly 2 months.
There are 4 pages of breakfast ideas.
There are 4 pages of lunch ideas.
There are also 4 pages of dinner ideas. The different colored tabs are for organizing the types of meals. Green is chicken; yellow is beef; pink is meatless; and orange is crockpot meals.
Clearly I haven’t started this yet. But this will be arranged in groups like the dinner ideas. One row each for veggies, fruits, potatoes, salads, rice, and bread.
Of course there has to be a section for desserts! I haven’t had the chance to arrange this yet, but it’s in the works. One row each for pies, cakes, cookies, cold treats, warm treats, and pastries.
These ingredient pages were taken from the original template. I took customized it to make enough room for sticky notes.
There are 8 pages of these to accompany the number of breakfast meals from the breakfast ideas section. This will make the grocery list part of meal planning painless. Instead of fumbling through my recipes for ingredients for each meal, I have everything listed right in this folder. I could even take the sticky notes and place them right on my grocery list.
There are 8 pages of lunch ingredients as well.
And lastly, there are 8 pages for dinner ingredients.
These recipe pages were downloaded from Emily Ley. She has many free printables that you should all go check out here. I like to hand-write my recipes, but you can always type them out and print them. Whatever suits your fancy.
HOME BASE BINDER™
This binder is also from Emily Ley. You can purchase your own here.
WEEKLY MEALS and GROCERY LIST
After completing my monthly meals in the meal planning binder, I transfer the meals to this binder. It makes it easier for me to look at each week when making a list of groceries. I plan meals for an entire month, but I go to the grocery store once a week. The first week, I buy food for two weeks. The second week, I buy just produce. That way I’m saving food from spoiling (because produce spoils the fastest), and if there are any good deals on things I know I’ll need for the next couple of weeks, I can buy those on sale. So, what are those number for on the grocery list? They are the aisle numbers at my local Aldi. This just makes life easier for me to sort what I need by where I can find it in the store.
I hope this has been useful information for those of you who are looking to start 2015 on the right foot while saving tons of time and money. Please feel free to share your menu planning binders once you’ve completed them in the comments section below. I would love to see how you have customized your binders!