Meal Planning 101! We’ve got tips and ideas that will take your dinner time from stressful to done.
If you are anything like me, dinner time is stressful and not fun. Like my least favorite time of day. I have noticed that if I meal plan for the week that things go a lot more smoothly, even if something unexpected comes up.
Today I’m going to share some FREE printables that will help you get a meal plan together. I’ll also share my favorite tips and tricks for meal planning. Make sure you leave a comment letting me know what your favorite tips are. We gotta help each other out right?
Family Dinner Binder:
First things first. You need a Family Dinner Binder. I made one of these years ago and it is a staple for me.
What you need for your Dinner Binder:
- 3″ 3-ring binder
- sheet protectors, I prefer the clear view ones.
- Free Printable “Family Dinner” cover page.
- Free Printable meal prepping and shopping pages
- Page Dividers if you’d like to make this more then a dinner recipe book.
Family Dinner Meal Planning & Recipe Book Cover Page
- Place the Free Printable cover into the cover sheet.
- Print off copies of the meal planning and grocery shopping list. Which ever ones will work best for you. I have options of single page Grocery List and Weekly Meal Planning, or you can get both to 1 page. Use whatever will work best for you.
- 3 hole punch these copies and place in 3 ring binder.
- Print off all those recipes you have and love on Pinterest. Place these into the page protectors. Don’t you love how easy it is to print off recipes now?
- If you have time, you’ll want to type up all your family favorite recipes and place those in the binder as well.
Now meal planning is a lot easier!
Here are my favorite Meal Planning Tips:
Pick a Meal Planning Day
One thing that has helped me is choosing a date and time when I can meal plan. For me this is Sunday evening. I’ve heard others like to go the day of grocery store ad sells.
Picking a day and time gives me a change to look at my week and start to plan out what nights are busy and may need a quick meal or if I have time to double a recipe to save for a freezer meal.
Print off Weekly Meal Planner.
Here is my Weekly Meal Planning download for your personal, non-commercial use.
And here is the Meal Planner and Grocery List single page.
Give each night a theme.
It makes it a lot easier to plan something to eat if you have a theme to go off of. Theme ideas are:
- Pasta Night
- International Night
- Grill Night
- Pizza Night (It deserves a night right?!?)
- Crockpot Night
- Instant Pot Night
- Soup Night for winter/Salad Night for Summer
- Leftover (Yep you can call this dinner!)
- Meatless Night
- Freezer Meal Night
A typical week for me looks like this:
Monday Grill Night: Jalapeno Turkey Burgers
Tuesday Crockpot: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Wednesday Pasta: Manicotti
Thursday International: Fettuccini Alfredo
Friday Pizza: Grilled Pizza Bar
Saturday Leftovers: Kids eat leftovers and mom and dad go on a date night. 😉
Sunday Soup: Broccoli Cheese Chowder
Print off Weekly Grocery List
Here’s my Weekly Grocery List for your personal noncommercial use.
Make your shopping list.
Once you have your meals planned out make up a shopping list. This is another place where the dinner binder comes in handy. You should have each recipe in the binder with the meal planning and grocery list.
Go through each recipe ingredient by ingredient. First, check your pantry and food storage to what supplies you have and which ones you need. Add needed items to your list. Sometimes my list is already pretty full from items I’ve jotted down throughout the week.