saavy,  yummy

the plans for the meals

I think I first shared my meal planning worksheets (the ones I print from Russell and Hazel) over two years ago. And guess what? I still use them weekly to plan out dinners!

Here’s this week’s planning list. I love this format because it keeps all of my plans for the week in one place! If I have recipes that I’ve printed out, I’ll staple them to this sheet as well.

Basically the routine goes like this:

1) Figure out dinners for the week – search recipes, inquire about current cravings from Mr. M, add old standards, think about what’s already in the fridge/freezer and plan around it.

2) Add ingredients to buy on the sectioned list.

3) Visit the grocery store on Monday night after work.

4) Cook according to schedule, or modify as needs arrive and push meals to the weekend if needed. (You know.. the work late nights, the last-minute dinner plans with friends nights, or “omg I totally can’t think of cooking tonight” nights.)

We don’t have the luxury of lots of time to run to the grocery store after work, so the once a week shopping is really the best option for us. It also helps keep us from buying lots of random stuff at the store. Notice that chips and soda and cookies aren’t on the list. That means that they rarely get purchased with any normal schedule. I mean, sure, ice cream gets grabbed as well as awesome sodas or random new cheeses. But we usually do that on weekend trips to the store… the “fun” food trips… so it limits the excess purchasing.

I don’t know why this form makes planning lots of fun… but it really does help me get excited about making dinner every week!

Does anyone else use this planner? Or maybe another one that could help people stick to meal planning week after week?


  • Sugar Scientist

    I’ve tried a big variety of meal planning organization sheets, but have never found one that I loved enough to keep using. Good old index cards work for me — plan out however many dinners I need for the week (leftovers and veggies for lunch), write down a list, and when I get home from the grocery store, I just stick the index card up on the fridge so I remember what meals I’m supposed to make.

    I can’t wrap my head around grocery shopping without a list (like my mother) – I’d wind up with all yummy-tasting food that I shouldn’t be eating! Like you, I always go in with a plan, which means I am never purchasing junk food or frozen meals.

  • Amy Ramos

    I love this planner! I may have to use it for my weekly grocery shopping trips.
    I use the same methods as you do. Look through cookbooks, blogs, ask what hubby has a craving for, etc.
    We have been going through alot of what is in the freezer and just getting the basics.

    We use a mini white board on our fridge to plan out our dinner meals. We usually have leftovers for lunches (or sandwiches). Breakfast will be either cereal, toast, oatmeal (for me) or smoothies (for me).

    We allot every other Thursday for hubby and Friday for me as payday subway lunch.

  • talda

    i might have to borrow this! i’ve been meaning to actually get in the kitchen to cook dinner more often but can never really get my act together. thinking of what to make for dinner is hard! i think if i were a bit more organized like this, i would actually cook more often.

  • CycleGirlGman

    Oh, I really like that form! I do mine a little offhand and with the help of my go-to items as well. I am super excited to start using the form! My goal is usually to be in and out of the grocery store in under 45 mins – any more time than that and I know I didn’t plan my list well, and I usually end up with spare items during those trips.

  • Megan

    One of my goals for this year was to be better about meal planning, so this is perfect! At the end of last year we gave it a shot and because it was ‘new and fun’, we were all excited about planning… for about a month. Then we lapsed back into our usual routine of making a dinner decision when we get home from work, running to the store (usually picking up random odds and ends we don’t need in the process), ending up eating dinner really late – or worse, ordering take out because we’re too lazy to get to the store in the first place. I printed out a couple of these sheets because I think having it written out like this will be a huge help – thanks! On a side note – can I have your dinners for this week? They sound fantastic!

  • HamiHarri

    Up until I went on maternity leave, I used this same sheet that you posted about those 2 years ago…hehe…so great!

  • Jen

    So you’re saying that it was 2 years ago that I saw the original post, thought “that’s a great idea!” and I still haven’t printed out these sheets? I need to get on the ball!!!

    These are genius. Sometimes a good template is all I need to get organized, like my checklist grocery list from real simple.

  • EP

    I love this…I just need a digital version, since my shopping list is attached to my recipe app on my ipad. But I still have to use the notepad to list out the recipes. Damn it! It’s time I figured out how to make my own app!! :)

    I love stuff like this because it just makes the Type A side of me so filled with joy :D