Want to simply your meal planning routine? You’ve come to the right place! Welcome to our series on Creating Your Own Meal Planning Binder. Here’s what you may have missed:
Day 1 – Introduction
Day 2 – Using Pinterest to Organize Recipes
Day 3 – A Tour of My Binder
Day 4 – Nightly Meal Themes
Day 5 – How to Choose Recipes
Day 6 – Putting It All Together
Day 7 – FREE PRINTABLES exclusively for our email subscribers!!!
Day 8 – Formulating Your Monthly Meal Plan
Day 9 – Time to Go Shopping!
The Flexible Meal Plan: An Alternative
I am convinced that everyone can be successful at meal planning. It is all about finding a system that works for you. No two families are the same, so it is important to tweak and alter your system until it fits your own personal needs and preferences.
For example, some folks function best by having no surprises. They find order and security in always knowing what will happen next. For them, traditional monthly calendars work well for meal planning. They can choose their recipes and assign each a specific date on the calendar so they know exactly what to expect.
However there are some who hate regimented schedules. They want to have the freedom to mix things up a little bit. This is where the Flexible Meal Planning System comes in. You can choose 25-30 meals for your month, purchase your non-perishable and frozen items just like before, but still have the flexibility to decide on a weekly basis what your meals will look like. Instead of a calendar, they use a spreadsheet with a list of recipes they have prepped, checking them off as they are used. Here’s how it works.
Choose Your Recipes
1) Begin by selecting 8-15 of your favorite recipes, choosing those with similar prep work whenever possible.
2) Decide how many times you will make each one, for a total of 28-31 meals.
3) Choose your side dishes.
Write Your Plan
Instead of using a calendar, write your meal plan on a spreadsheet with space for checking off each meal as you serve it. You can find one in our free printable meal planning binder (shown above), or create your own using Excel (as below).
Your spreadsheet should containing four boxes to the left of the recipe name as shown above. Add an “X” or check mark each time you serve one of the meals listed. This allows you to easily see what you have already served and what you have remaining throughout the month.
If there are dishes you don’t plan to serve four times, simply shade in the boxes you don’t need during your planning session. In this example, I plan to serve Tex Mex Soup four times, so I have four white boxes. However I plan to serve French Dip only once, so I have shaded in three of the four boxes. Easy as that!
I hope you have enjoyed this series! Please email me at momsbyheart at gmail dot com with any questions, suggestions or comments.
If you want to learn more about meal planning, you can find my book on Amazon for just $4.99! Includes all the free printables you need to make your own meal planning binder, along with techniques for shopping and meal prepping and over 75 recipes. Get Operation Dinner – How to Plan, Shop & Prep for Easy Family Meals.