This weekly menu planner is a system that will save you so much time and simplify your life. This post includes free printables and all the information you need to make your weekly meal planning a breeze!
If you are looking for a way to spend less of your precious time planning your menu and making your shopping lists you are not alone!
How many times have you sat down to make a menu for the week only to add the same things you made in the past few weeks? Then, if you are anything like me, you end up choosing to eat out because you aren’t very excited about the meal you have planned.
Or, maybe you are looking to get organized so that you have a menu. Does this sound familiar… you get home from the grocery store only to realize you forgot key ingredients for your planned menu?
We have all been there!
If you are tired of wasting time and are frustrated planning your meals you are in the right place. This weekly menu planner is just what you need and the weekly menu ideas will solve your problem!
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Weekly Meal Plans On a Budget
There are times when you just need to eat on a budget. It can be tough to remember all of the meals you planned to make when it comes time to go shopping. All too often ~ this leads to grocery shopping where you forget important ingredients.
The best way to create weekly meal plans on a budget is to sit down and plan them out. Making sure that the dishes for the week are all included in your plan is key to avoiding the expense of eating out. Not to mention the unhealthy options that are likely to be available when you are in a hurry!
The second most important way to meal plan on a budget is to have an accurate shopping list. There is nothing worse than getting ready to make a meal and realizing a key ingredient didn’t make it home.
The problem is… all of that can be so time consuming. Keep reading for a great solution and the perfect meal plan template to get you started!
The concept of creating a weekly menu is not a new one. That being said, I am a planner and organizer through and through.
I created my process for weekly menu ideas after years of doing it so many different ways. I know you will love this efficient and time-saving weekly menu planner template. Using this weekly menu has saved me hours every week!
You probably have one or many boards saved to Pinterest for recipes you want to try. Most likely you have some saved on other social media platforms too. You may have seen some you liked on some cooking shows. You probably have several cookbooks you meant to use at one point or another too. Is any of this true for you?
I am going to walk you through my process of weekly menu planning step by step. You will be able to put all of those good recipes to use. It even includes a grocery list to help you out and save time!
Organizing Your Recipes
So, there are a ton of recipes just waiting for you to make them.
They have been calling your name… Let’s get a plan together so you can try them out.
The first step in any recipes you have printed or in cookbooks is to set up a system for marking your different recipes. I like to use tabs (like you may have used in textbooks in college) to mark mine. I use a different color for each type of protein. Walmart has some great options HERE.
Go ahead and grab a recipe book you have been wanting to use. Now, find the first recipe you want to make. Go ahead and mark it. If you don’t have tabs yet you can use pieces of paper with the protein written on it. Use this same process to mark side dishes, desserts, snacks, breakfast and lunch recipes too.
For your digital recipes you should create boards where they are organized the same way. Don’t worry too much about getting them all done before you start. Just be sure to work through it as you go. It will save you a ton of time as you make your weekly menus.
Now you are ready to plan your proteins for your menu!
Planning Your Proteins
The best way to be sure you actually make the meals that you plan is to have some variety throughout the week.
In other words, include different proteins and avoid having the same one on consecutive days. If you like all proteins, try having a different one each night of the week. Doing this will accomplish several different things. First, you will have variety in your meals. Second, you will be much less likely to abandon ship on your menu if you aren’t eating the same things over and over.
Don’t get me wrong, having some tried and true recipes on the menu is great! Just don’t plan the same recipes every week. Mix it up and have some fun with it!
Now, sometimes being adventurous with the proteins just isn’t an option due to allergies, diet or picky eaters in your home. If that is the case you can still keep it interesting by rotating your proteins so you don’t have the same one two nights in a row.
If you are only able to have limited proteins try preparing them different ways to avoid any monotony in you menu.
Weekly Menu Template
Be sure to click on the image or button below to download your free Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery List Template! The way that I use these is the key to the simplicity of the plan!
Using these templates will make your life so much simpler as you worth through your weekly meal plan!
The Weekly Menu Planner and Grocery List Template provide everything you need to get started with a cohesive meal plan!
The best part of this Weekly Menu Template Kit is the great design, functionality, binder covers and the system for how to use it!
Print your downloads at home or at your favorite print design company. Print as many sets of the Weekly Menu Template and Shopping List Template as you will need. I suggest starting off printing 8-10 sets.
As you fill each one out be sure to use the box for your menu number on both the Weekly Menu and Shopping List. See the image below.
As you add your weekly menu templates to your binder, place your shopping list template right behind it or as the next page in the binder. Be sure to put the same number on both sheets. This is very important.
As you increase the number of menus you will want to be sure they are with the corresponding grocery list.
Weekly Menu Ideas
You’ve organized your recipes, planned out your proteins and you are ready to get started with your ideas!
Start with the meal that comes first to mind. Do the meal you have the most ideas for. If this is all new to you, don’t worry! It will all make sense as we work through it. For simplicity we will start with breakfast.
Be sure to mark the recipes you are planning to use so you can go back and add your ingredients in the shopping list template!
Meal Planning: Break it Down
Let’s walk through HOW to create your meal plan and how the grocery template works!
Example for your Meal Plan
As you decide which day you will have each meal mix up your ingredients so you don’t have the same things day after day. Earlier, I mentioned limited options and that does mean more repetition in your plans. Focus on having your similar proteins every other day if you are on a limited diet.
I have included an image of my breakfast options for a week where I was on a limited diet below.
As you can see in the example above, I eat egg white VERY often on my current nutrition plan. This image provides options for how you can use the same basic ingredient and still create some variety in your weekly menu.
If you don’t have any restraints on your nutrition this will be even easier.
Plan Each Meal
Go through this same process for each meal.
Add your desserts at the end of the meal you are having them with or after.
Don’t forget to plan for snacks as well! Planning snacks will ensure your shopping list is accurate, help you avoid buying extra groceries and save you from late night runs to the store.
Go ahead and download the templates and get started! Be sure to keep this post open to walk you through the process from start to finish.
Grocery List Template
Great! You have your weekly menu done! Way to go! Now for the MOST IMPORTANT PART.
Add your ingredients from your menu working through each day, across your menu, day by day. In other words, add all of Monday’s menu ingredients to your list. Then move on to Tuesday, then Wednesday and so on until all of your ingredients are added.
IMPORTANT: Don’t leave anything out! Even the seasonings. This is SO important.
Now, add the corresponding Menu # on the top right side of your shopping list in space provided. Trust me… don’t skip this step!
This seems like a lot of work as you go through this for the first time but you will save SO much time in the future with this process! Every time you create a menu it will go a little bit faster.
Organizing Your Weekly Menu Template
You have two design options for printing your weekly menu template in the free download. You pick which one works for you! A cover, binding and back cover are included in both designs! You can use both or just use your favorite design.
Want to make your life a little simpler? Alternate the two designs options in your binder to make quick identification of your weekly menus even easier!
Now, add your weekly menu in your binder with the shopping list right behind it.
Next, go ahead and make some more weekly meal plans! Go through the same process ~ start to finish!
Recycle Meal Plans Later!
Just imagine… In 3 months or next year when you need to get your menu for the week done, you can just start back at the beginning or pick one of your favorites! Even better, your shopping list is ALREADY MADE!
You will be SO GLAD you did this!
Fun extra tip alert ~ create a section of your binder for special meals, holidays and meals with guests! No more trying to find old meal plans from meals you have made in the past!
Grab your free download now and spend time doing the other things you want and need to do. No more wasted time every week planning out your meals!
This post was all about how to save time by using our weekly menu planner and grocery list template. Get your free download today and start spending time where it counts!