Aww, meal planning. You know you should do it. It makes you feel better, less stressed and you save money too. But do you do it enough? This free printable weekly meal plan template will help.
At our house meal planning is something we struggle with. So to help solve my own problem I created this weekly meal planner template. It is bright and colorful and hopefully it can help your meal planning for the week too.
Table of Contents
- 1 Tips for Meal Planning
- 1.1 1) Brainstorm a list of family-favorite meals and write them onto one piece of paper.
- 1.2 2) Choose one day of the week where you schedule the upcoming week’s meals
- 1.3 3) Stack the week’s recipes in a pile – ready to be used
- 1.4 4) Go through that week’s recipes and decide what you need to buy to cook them
- 1.5 5) Have the Weekly Meal Plan posted somewhere so everyone can see it.
- 1.6 6) Be Flexible
- 2 Weekly Meal Planner Template
- 3 Colorful Weekly Meal Planner Template with Snacks column
- 4 Benefits of Meal Planning
Tips for Meal Planning
1) Brainstorm a list of family-favorite meals and write them onto one piece of paper.
This is your Master List. You’ll use this list to populate your meal planner. Get your whole family to contribute so no one’s favorite recipes will be left behind.
To help with the brainstorming we created different columns. One for “Meatless Monday,” one for Mexican food, one for Indian food, one for Asian-inspired food, and more.
Having the defined columns helps you think of great meal ideas.
(It is a good idea to write the source of the recipe if you know it. For instance, write the name of the cookbook and the page, or write down the website you get it from.)
Our family loves the “Yum and Yummer” cookbook by Greta Podleski. Check out recipe for Fish Tacos with a tasty mango salsa. So good.
(If you want to get a blank copy of the “Family’s Favorite Meals” PDF (like shown below), you can click here or click the picture below.
You could try seasonal lists:
Some folks desire different meals in the summer than in the winter. If your family’s meal choices are heavily affected by the season, then go ahead and make different Master Lists that correspond to the season.
2) Choose one day of the week where you schedule the upcoming week’s meals
Pick a day of the week when you’ll do your week’s meal plan. For most people this is Sunday. But do what works for you.
3) Stack the week’s recipes in a pile – ready to be used
Get the recipes for the upcoming week’s meals and put them in a pile. (Then the night before you can scan the next day’s meals and see if you need to pull anything out of freezer.)
4) Go through that week’s recipes and decide what you need to buy to cook them
Right after you’ve chosen the week’s meals and you’ve pulled out all the recipes, scan through the recipes to see what you need to buy. Add them to your grocery list.
With structured meal planning like this you should be able to reduce the number of trips to the grocery store each week.
5) Have the Weekly Meal Plan posted somewhere so everyone can see it.
Having it visible sets expectations. And if you delegate someone else in your family to cook dinner one night, then they can look and easily see what they need to prepare.
And because you put all the recipes in a stack they’ll be able to find the recipe and get started.
6) Be Flexible
Sometimes you may realize the chicken you bought for Thursday night’s meal will go bad before then. So it’s okay to eat it on Monday and switch things up a bit.
Weekly Meal Planner Template
If you want to try this colorful free printable weekly meal planner template you can download your PDF copy of it by clicking here, or click the picture below. (It opens the PDF in new browser window.)
Colorful Weekly Meal Planner Template with Snacks column
Here is a weekly meal planner sheet with a snacks column. It was requested by a reader, and I thought it was a great idea so I’ve made this option for you.
Click here to open the weekly meal planner with a snacks column in a new browser window.
Benefits of Meal Planning
When you start meal planning and sticking to the regime you’ll find your meal time stress will decrease. You won’t be frazzled or overwhelmed wondering what is for dinner.
There’ll be less fast-food binges.
And because you have your Master List of your family’s favorite meals it won’t take you hours to decide what meals to schedule for the week. If you’re stuck, heck just close your eyes and randomly point to something on the page. Whatever you land on gets added to the meal plan.
The benefits of meal planning include saving time, eating healthier meals, less stress over what to have for dinner, reduced food waste and therefore it can save you money. So yes, meal planning is important.
Thank you, and I really hope this weekly meal planner template helps you as much as it has helped us.
What do you look for in a meal planner? Is there something you think I should add? Let me know.
Tim from LearnAlongWithMe.com
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