Staying Organized In The Kitchen: Meal Planning

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Meal Planning Kitchen Organization

One of my biggest resolutions this year is to get organized. I plan to organize the house, my work schedule, and, of course, my road to a healthier life.

In order to save time and money as well as stay on plan with my healthy eating, I like to meal plan once a week. This helps me gauge how many calories I’ll need left over in the evening and helps the husband know what we’re having for dinner every night.

And because I’m already going through the trouble of writing out a meal plan, I also write out a grocery list and print the recipes I’m going to use in advance so that I can cut coupons and grocery shop right after I’m done.

My system is simple but very efficient and I’d love to share it!

Meal Planning and Recipe Organization

I don’t have a fancy planner or a calendar where I write everything down. Because in the past that simply hasn’t worked. And since I get most of my recipes online via my Google Reader (and all of those blogs I’m subscribed to) I simply pull up a Word document and use my simple template to write up what we’re having for dinner.

Once I’ve gone through the recipes I want to try I then fill the other days with recipes that are tried and true in our home. I like to mix them up 50/50 so we can try out various things and aren’t bored with the same old 30 minute wonders. Not that 30 minute wonders aren’t awesome!

Since I already have the recipes printed out I simply scan through them and see what we need to pick up from the store.

Here’s a breakdown of my meal planning:

  • Search for recipes to try online and in my cookbooks
  • Include up to 3 new recipes and write down what we’ll have each day of the week (Monday through Sunday) leaving a day or two for eating out
  • From the recipes and meals planned, write a grocery list of the items needed for the following week’s meals
  • Print out recipes if online and write down the ones that are in the cook books
  • Attach recipes to the back of the meal plan and grocery list
  • Once done shopping place list and recipes on fridge for easy access throughout the week
  • Save the recipes that worked in a recipe binder, recycle the ones that didn’t

Weekly Meal Planning Recipes

I’ve broken my shopping list into categories: Dairy, Meat, Dry Foods/Pantry Stocking, Vegetables & Fruit, Condiments, and Toiletries. Basics. But it helps out tremendously when I’m going through the aisles of the store.

Now usually I’ll take a peek at the ads as they come in the mail so I know what meat items are less expensive and usually try and use up what we have stocked away in the freezer before purchasing anything else. But sometimes we deplete our supply and make a Costco run for meat.

Weekly Meal Planning

 

With my list in hand and the recipes ready to go I’m ready to shop! Once that’s done I’m set for the week. Easy peasy.

Some great tips to remember when meal planning:

  • Be inspired to try new things by searching blogs, recipe websites, and cookbooks you already have
  • Try to utilize the left overs from one meal into another meal (even lunch!)
  • Shop from your list to save money and reduce wasted or expired food
  • Check out the weekly ads from the grocery store to see what’s on sale
  • Peruse the offerings of your local farmers market for tasty sides and snacks
  • Leave some wiggle room for spontaneous nights out – you never know when a fun night out awaits!

How do you plan your meals?

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Comments

  1. This is so useful! We do this in our home too. It’s especially important because my husband does the cooking, but I do the shopping.
    Tamara @ Silent Springs recently posted..Fireflies Yoga for Kids – Get Moving 2013! #GetMoving2013My Profile

  2. Rachel H says:

    This is so helpful! I too have to get more organized and have been contemplating if establishing a better meal plan would do it. We’re just so irritatingly busy I end up buying groceries that we don’t have time to cook. But after seeing how you did it, I am totally inspired! Thanks so much!
    Rachel H recently posted..Thank You Evening Star! {I ❤ Fairy Hobmother!}My Profile

  3. Kimberly D says:

    Meal planning is such a weakness of mine and definitely something I need to improve on. You have definitely given me some great ideas I can implement. Thank you!
    Kimberly D recently posted..Healthy Living- Take Control!My Profile

  4. Nikki says:

    I really need to start planning meals. We always end up running to the expensive grocery store down the street because we don’t have anything for dinner. Thanks for the tips!
    Nikki recently posted..The Learner Book Blast: Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and More!My Profile

  5. Leila says:

    Well, I thought I was organized with my menu, but dang, you are super organized! I do my menu quite similar to you, but don’t do the whole breakdown. Ideally, I would remember the layout of the store and make my grocery list based on the store layout, but alas, no such luck (at least not yet!)
    Leila recently posted..Children Birthdays and HolidaysMy Profile

  6. Nickida
    Twitter: nickicoupons
    says:

    I need to get more organized with my cooking menus this year. Thanks for sharing this great idea.
    Nickida recently posted..Old Navy Activewear – #CrowdtappersMy Profile

  7. Angela says:

    I am desperate to get well organized this month. Thanks for the great suggestions!
    Angela recently posted..Sweetheart Brownies RecipeMy Profile

  8. Amiyrah says:

    Great system. I plan meals weekly too, but don’t stick to the actual “day” for the meal. If I want to do pizza on wednesday instead of friday, I allow myself that liberty. If you’re really looking to get organized, be sure to check out my post on how my husband and I plan our whole year in one day, with only 4 steps. Link below!
    Amiyrah recently posted..How We Plan Our Year in a DayMy Profile

  9. Joanne
    Twitter: simplysaving4u
    says:

    Awesome tips! I shared it on my facebook page and on pinterest. Thanks!
    Joanne recently posted..January Is National Soup MonthMy Profile

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  1. [...] weekend I create a meal plan that turns into the grocery list I need for the next week. While meal planning this week I came [...]

  2. […] I prefer to plan a little and make the most of my pantry staples and weekly grocery trips to create meal plans each […]

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