Monday, June 29, 2015

Meal Planning for the Organized (and the not so organized...)

I am not the most organized person you will ever meet. I aspire to be, but somehow life seems to happen before I have a chance to break out the label maker and color coded plastic bins. With all that aside one thing I do try to stay on top of is meal planning in our house. Between having three kids with various extracurricular schedules, a husband in the military, and being involved in our church I find when I don't make a conscious effort to meal plan and prep we are making that trip through the drive thru way too many times. On top of all that I have been trying to get in shape after this last baby so eating cleaner and being more mindful of my food choices has become increasingly more important. Enter, my meal planning binder.

Isn't she pretty? I know I'm a sucker for a brightly colored and geometrically designed office supplies. As made very apparent by the stock load of pens, markers, pencils and various items lurking in my desk drawer.  But that's another topic for another day. This particular beauty came from Target and was only, wait for it $5! Inside it houses everything I need to plan out my meals. Seeing as though I have a problem finding the time to meal plan consistently I plan for the month, but if you are a person that can't see past Friday don't worry I haven't forgotten about you. Weekly meal planning can be just as efficient in this system. 

Now when you open her up I have a pencil pouch with everything to make the job more enjoyable and fun. Pretty Pencils, colorful pens, a basic calculator, and a green highlighter (because I prefer to highlight my list at the store instead of cross out items) are pretty much all the supplies you need. In the front before my dividers I put the current week's shopping list and monthly meal plan calendar so it is the first thing I see. Since I do most of my grocery shopping every two weeks I put a little post it note in the corner of the shopping list that has the produce I would have to pick up the week I don't shop because if I bought it too early it would spoil. 

Then comes the dividers. You can divide them up however you would like but these categories work the best for me. I needed a place to put all those Pinterest recipes that I used to have to print over and over again because I would misplace them. Yep, I was killing way to many trees. This way they are all organized and if I get in a rut when I try to fill in my menu plan I have a bunch of go to ideas that are right at my fingertips. Easy peasy right? These dividers (also from Target, can you tell I spend way too much time there?) have lines on the back so I wrote down items that I didn't necessarily have a recipe for, but are staples in the rotation. That way I don't forget about them. You know, your go to recipe that you forgot you had? Again, if you don't get dividers with the lines on the back don't worry I have a fix for that too. I didn't always have these stylish things in my binder. A master meal planning list works just as well. 

The last divider is probably the most important and my favorite part of this binder, my meal planning resources. Have you ever started meal planning and wondered can I get ripe tomatoes this time of year? Or have you bought a fruit or veggie at the beginning of the week for a recipe at the end of the week and are disheartened because it has wilted before you have had a chance to use it? Well I complied a list of produce by the season and how long said produce will last into two worksheets that honestly I don't think I could meal plan without. It has saved me so much time, money, and heart ache because I know that if I am using produce that is in season I can find it available and it is fresh and will taste so much better then if I didn't. 

So that's it. That's my meal planning binder. Hope that it inspires you to do some more cooking and that it makes it simpler to do. Oh and yeah of course I couldn't let you go without giving you all the printables that I use. I'm really into watercolors and I love the designs by Angie Makes. She has some great free resources for graphic designers and novel dabblers like myself on her blog. You have to check her out. I used some of them in the printables. So enjoy and happy meal planning!

click here to download the meal planners

click here to download the meal planning resources 

1 comment:

  1. I'm going try this one more time ! I truly no it will save me time and more importantly $$$