September 19, 2010

Printable Weekly Meal Planner

I've been slacking lately, at least when it comes to meal planning.  I've gotten into a bad habit of waiting until mealtime to decide what to make.  When the kids ask me what we're having for dinner, I find myself increasing saying "Umm--I don't know yet" and then I realize it will take too long to thaw the meat and do all the prep work for us to eat a decent meal on time, so we either:  A) make something quick andeasy like pasta, or B) eat a late dinner (and eating at 7PM and putting the kids to bed at 8 isn't ideal!).  I have to get more organized, so I made a weekly menu planner, and I uploaded it to Scribd so anyone else who wants to  can use it, too.  Warning--it's not elaborate or fancy at all, though!  It's just very utilitarian and it looks like this:

Along the left column are the days of the week.  Next columns--space to write in what you are planning each day for Breakfast and Lunch.  Third column--Dinner Entree, Side dish 1, Side 2, Veggie and  Dessert.  The far right column has space to list snacks.  At the bottom of the page is a small (cut-off) grocery list so you can jot down ingredients you need as you use them up.

If you'd like to print the meal planner, you can do it here:

What works best for me is to go through the pantry, freezer(s) and fridge on the weekend to see what I have and what I might need to use up before it spoils.  I write it all on the blank backside of the weekly meal planner and brainstorm or research meal ideas, then I copy them onto the planner side.  I keep the planner on the fridge and check it each evening to prepare for the next day (put meat in the fridge to thaw, chop veggies, gather dry ingredients for breakfast...).

Even after a couple of weeks, I'm noticing a huge difference--we're eating better, we're eating earlier, and we're wasting less food.

Do you have any  printables to share?  If you do, upload them to Scribd or another free document hosting service and leave a comment with the link so we can share it.  :)

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