Meal planning saves time, money and effort for busy families. It can seem overwhelming but with the right tools it can be really easy and help you make sure that you are feeding your family well, spending your budget wisely, and keeping track of what you have on hand. These different types of planners all help you meal plan in different ways depending on what is right for you!
This Carrie Elle Meal Planner is the one I am currently using to do my meal plan for each week. I shared it on Instagram recently and people loved the gorgeous design! It is great because it breaks down by month, week, and has tear out grocery lists to take along with you. It is really perfect if you want to have a book solely dedicated to meal planning. The dates come blank so you can pick up whenever you want to start your meal plan without wasting dated time that has already passed. One last detail I love is the cover! It is super sturdy and wipes clean if you get a little of your dinner prep on it.
If paper just isn’t your thing and you live, breathe and eat by your phone, then go digital with your meal planning using the Plan to Eat App. It is comprehensive and gets great reviews! You can collect recipes from anywhere into your Recipe Book, then drag-and-drop your recipes onto your Planner, and finally print your shopping list or access it on your phone. This is really a great time saver and you always have access to your list no matter when it is or where you are!
I use my Erin Condren Life Planner as my general meal planner, and man do I love it! While I am writing down everything we are doing during the week and who needs to be where, I find it helpful to jot down my meal ideas since I have a good concept of what type of time frame we will be working with that night. I use the Carrie Elle Meal Planner above for the more detailed stuff, but I absolutely love the vertical layout in the Erin Condren planner to start my meal planning process! I couldn’t do a post about meal planning without including it!
Thw My Menu Weekly Meal Planner is a good option if you want something that breaks down your meal plan in a lot of different ways. If you want to be guided on how to create a very detailed account then this will be perfect. I also really like the pocket folder for your grocery store reward cards. That is super convenient.
If you happen to be meal planning for a specific diet, this 21 Day Fix Meal Tracker is an excellent choice! It gets rave reviews from the 21 day fix community because of the way it allows you to track what you are eating and your activity, but also can be used for other diet plans. Make sure to give it a look if you are tracking calories, or other special dietary needs.
If you want something to help you meal plan that is a little less formal then the Bloom Daily Planners Weekly Meal Planning Pad might be perfect. It is just simply a notepad that you can tear off, fill out and hang on the fridge or where ever else is handy. It doesn’t have the benefit of being spiral bound to keep all of your thoughts and previous meal plans on hand, but if you are looking for quick and easy then this will fit the bill.
This Kate Spade planner is just so cute. If you are going to get organized then you might as well look good doing it right? It is not a formal meal planner but just a normal planner that would allow you to keep track of your activities right along with the meals you will be planning for week. When using a normal planner I like to do this on the monthly view so I can see at a glance what we had the past couple of weeks to be able to plan best for the future.
I have been a huge Skinny Taste fan for a long time! I am so excited that they came out with the Skinny Taste Meal Planner. It is packed with not only a planner but tons of resources and recipes for eating healthy and is extremely well done! This is something comprehensive and perfect for someone seeking a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes simple is best, and this Magnetic Meal Planner is a great little gadget you can stick to the side of your fridge and then use dry erase markers to complete for the week. I like using dry erase since I tend to change my mind and find things to add or take off the grocery list often. While it is not a traditional planner, it might be the best solution if you have a hard time keeping track of paper or don’t like the bulkiness of a book.
Big Oven is a great free app that allows you to save recipes and create shopping lists from them. While it may not be as comprehensive as some other apps, it is free so you can’t beat the price! There is really no downside to giving it a try and it makes the perfect compliment to a paper planner!
Do you have a favorite method for meal planning? I would love to hear in the comments, or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram (@thepinningmama) and tell me all about it!