one step toward organized {free printable menu planner}

i’ve shared how much i love emeals (click the sidebar link to fall in love yourself), and today i’d love to share how i incorporate it into my weekly planning.  (and just being real here: if i don’t plan, at my house we have daily episodes of “what’s for lunch/dinner/snack???,” receiving a blank stare from me!)

chalkboard menu planner dancing with my father holiday

on Sunday afternoons when hubby is at basketball (and i ask him kindly to take our five kiddos with him), i take a peek at what’s in our freezer and pantry.  i look at the calendar and what will require slow cooking, quick cooking, and grab-what-you-can-and-go-ing.  then i head straight to my emeals app and see what great recipes i’ve got to work with this week.

i “skip” the ones that don’t work with our schedule and add any meals i’ve been wanting to try, need to blog, or want to implement for health reasons.  (i’ve been working on recipes to implement the milk kefir we’ve been making lately.)

next, i use a colored vis a vis marker to fill in any pertinent family activities on my weekly menu planner (which i’ve laminated for this purpose, and which hangs on our fridge with stickable magnets).  finally, i use a black marker to fill in the menu plan from my combined recipe pickings for the week.

i have a mental “breakfast staples” and “snack staples” list that includes things oatmeal with fruit and nuts and yogurt, grain-free granola, eggs, and smoothies, or celery with almond butter and raisins, bananas and milk, or a whole apple.  i add those to the menu planner as well, taking into account sports outings, mama-work-outings, and the like.  this goes on the fridge, and the recipes i’ve chosen go into page protectors and placed on my countertop cookbook holder.  then even if i’m busy or out at mealtime, the hubs and kiddos can peek at the calendar, grab the recipe, and go to work.

i’m including a downloadable holiday-version of my planner.  click here to download – here you go!  like it?

i’d love if you leave a comment with any helpful menu-planning tips, or how you’ll incorporate this into your planning!

dancing divider webb

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