Weekly Meal Planner & Grocery List

home + family recipe Mar 08, 2015
This handy-dandy Weekly Meal Planner & Grocery List has saved me so many headaches. It's made meal planning simple! I also share 9 meal planning tips!

Weekly Meal Planner & Grocery List

It's here! It's here! I'm so excited to share my newly designed Weekly Meal Planner & Grocery List! This simple tool has saved me SO MUCH TIME when it comes to meal planning!

Years ago, I was given a similar pad of planners.  However, I ran out and couldn't seem to find anything like them anywhere. So, I just decided to create my own and add the components I thought were missing from my original one -- and share them with you.

The two questions I get asked most often when I tell people that we have five kids -- aside from "Are you crazy?"-- are, "How do you feed everyone?" & "How do you get all that laundry done?" Well, I talked about how we divide up our laundry and get it all done in this post about "Getting Your Groove On." However, meal planning is my secret to feeding everyone!

Meal planning has saved me so many headaches over the years. Here are a few tips on how I plan out our menu & how I use this handy-dandy Menu Planner & Grocery List.

The funny thing is since I know families who have lots of kids, five doesn't feel like that many any more (plus we used to watch a lot of 19 Kids & Counting)!

Why Meal Plan?

Meal planning saves you money! Forming lists off the top of your head on a consistent basis often leads to extra grocery store runs or over shopping.

Meal planning saves you time! We can all use more time, right? Sitting down to plan your menu for the week helps you to shop more efficiently.  Plus, when it comes time to make dinner -- you have a plan!

Meal planning saves you stress! There is nothing worse than getting home from the grocery store and realizing that you forgot an ingredient -- or several.  Planning your meals and creating a grocery list off of your meal plan helps reduce the chances of forgetting things.  Of course, my mommy brain sometimes makes me forgetful.  But all the more reason I use this planner!

How to Meal Plan

Look at your calendar! I always start my meal planning by looking at what I have going on for the week.  I make little notes in the corner of my Menu Planner.  If my hubby is going to miss dinner one night due to late meetings or travel, I mark it down (I may plan something easier that night).  Do we have nights when we have practices, youth group, or some other activity that requires a quick easy, maybe even portable, meal? Write it down! Plus, you can plan ahead if you are having guests over that week.

Plan out your meals for the week! Once you know who you're cooking for and what nights require earlier or easier meals, it's time to plan. I have two different systems that save me oodles of  time: My "6 Week Meal Rotation"s & my "Easy Meals List."  I described them in this post in the meal planning section (I'll try to write more about them soon). Basically, whatever list of recipes or recipes books that you are using to create your meal plan for the week from, assign nights for each meal.  Note: I don't always cook the assigned meal on the assigned night.  Sometimes I end up mixing it up a bit.  :) But I do make the meals that I shopped for.

Think about fresh, more perishable items! This may sound strange at first. But since you are going shopping for an entire week's groceries at one time, it's best to plan your meals that have items that won't last long in the refrigerator for early in your week.  If I buy pre-cut mushrooms for a recipe, I know they only last a few days in my frig.  So, I might plan that meal for the first day or two in my meal plan.

Create your grocery list using your meal plan! Once you have planned out each meal for the week, be sure to look at the recipes to see what you will need.  Check your pantry and frig to be sure that you aren't doubling up -- or tripling up as I've done before -- on items you already have.

Add other needed items to the list! I have a large whiteboard hanging in my pantry.  I've used Sharpies to create categories & then dry erase pens to write down needed items.  Let me explain:

Stores:  I have several stores that I shop at over time.  Trader Joe's, Vons, Costco, Jimbo's, Sprouts, Target, etc. I have these stores listed at the top of my pantry whiteboard.  As we use up items or need items, we simply write them on the board with a dry-erase pen under that store's name.
Days: Since my grocery list usually gets marked up & tossed after I'm done shopping, I have the days of the week written down in the corner of my board where I transfer my Meal Plan for the week.  Another tip here is that if you get a magnetic whiteboard, you can just cut your list in half once you get home and place your Menu Planner on the whiteboard with a magnet.  You can also do this on your refrigerator door.
Lists: I use this whiteboard for other little lists and reminders as well.  It's a good place for writing things down that you don't want to forget (depending upon the size of the board, of course).

Download for free here.

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