Looking for a cute weekly meal planner printable template: free download that includes lots of space for your latest recipe ideas, grocery shopping lists, and meal inspirations?
In this blog post, I’ll share free printable meal-planning templates that will help you tackle meal planning like a boss! This meal planner printable will be an instant mealtime game-changer for you!
As a busy mom, I know what it’s like to come home from work and attempt to cook healthy meals for my family. Sometimes, I’m doing the best I can just to feed them, let alone feed them healthy options!
I have found that meal planning was the single, most important thing I have done for my family’s health. We no longer eat fast food on busy weeknights but instead have our daily meals planned. We eat a more balanced diet because I dedicate a little bit of time at the beginning of each month to make a plan.
Printable meal planning templates are a great menu planning tool for the whole family or can help you reach your personal health goals. You have the option to plan out your entire week or a whole month. You decide how far in advance you want to plan.
I have also included a grocery shopping list template to help you be more efficient on your shopping trips! A grocery list template is a great tool to help you stay organized at the grocery store, saving you time and money!
The Benefits of Using a Meal Planner Printable Template
You are a busy mama! You have a busy life and a ton of responsibilities. You need helpful tools, like weekly meal plan templates and menu plan ideas to help you get through this chaotic season in life.
Meal planning was life-changing for me! I was never a planner, especially putting any thought or planning into our meals. This all changed when my son developed food intolerances that put a stop to our many fast food and pre-packaged dinners. I had to adapt and develop a whole new routine for preparing food and cooking for our family.
Our family runs on chaos and calories and meal planning with weekly planners has been a great way to add simplicity to our lives during this busy season.
It has not only helped my mental health and time management but utilizing weekly meal plan templates has lowered our family’s monthly grocery bill and minimized our food waste.
How to Create a Basic Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan has never been easier! There are many ways to begin meal planning, but I have found the easiest way to begin is to download the free meal plan printable and start the meal planning process using the step-by-step outline below.
If you are a beginner, it is important to start with simple meal ideas first! Choose easy meals with five or fewer ingredients and rely on recipes that you are familiar with. A meal plan is a great way to trim your grocery budget because you can focus on the grocery items you already have and build meals from that list first!
Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning
- Print the free weekly meal planner, along with the accompanying grocery list printable.
- Go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Take a quick inventory of the foods you have that can be used as recipe ingredients.
- Make a list of what meats, other proteins, vegetables, and pantry staples you have in abundance.
- Begin making a list of favorite meals and recipes from the list of foods you already have on hand.
- Next, make a list of meals you want to add to your meal plan but do not have the ingredients for. I always search Pinterest for a couple of new recipes and add them to my monthly plan!
- Next, begin plugging meal ideas into your weekly or monthly template. Dinner is the most challenging for our family, so I always start here! If you are new to meal planning, start by planning a week of meals, and then work your way up to a monthly planner.
- Once you have filled out your meal planner, it is time to make a grocery list. Review each recipe and determine what ingredients you will need and begin organizing your grocery list. This step is a great way to help minimize food costs and significantly save on your grocery bill.
Things to Consider When Using Your Meal Planner Template
Remember, to start with recipes you already have the ingredients.
Check the family schedule before finalizing your meal choices. If you have a busy week, opt for recipes that use a slow cooker or instant pot for those busy weeknights.
Don’t forget to include a leftover night! I build in a leftover night every few days, which helps minimize waste.
Challenge yourself to start with 7-14 days of meals and work your way up to using a monthly meal planner.
Do this same exercise for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Post your meal plan in the kitchen so everyone knows what is on the menu. It will prevent the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” question.
What Does This Free Printable Meal Planner Include?
This free downloadable template includes a printable monthly planning sheet and weekly planners for snack, breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas.
Each weekly planner includes a Sunday through Saturday, 7-day weekly schedule, with a Sunday start. The weekly and monthly planners can also be used with a Monday start. The layout gives you the flexibility to start on any day of the week.
These printable templates have plenty of space to jot down special notes and brainstorm new recipes and food inspiration. You can personalize your meal planner to include meal times, main meals, and side dishes.
There is a grocery shopping list section on each weekly meal plan and a separate grocery shopping list. Find what works for you and use it! Each of the weekly planners comes with a section for new foods and recipes. Use this section to jot down new dinner ideas or favorite foods to try the next week!
Should I Wait Until the Weekend to Start Using My Meal Planner Template?
Start now! It might sound crazy, but meal planning has become a key element of my self-care regimen. When I don’t meal plan I feel stressed and overwhelmed.
When I have a monthly meal plan posted in the kitchen, I feel calm and productive. I am ready to conquer the next task without the dread of trying to figure out what to cook for the next meal!
I know we are talking about food, but I swear there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from writing out an entire month of meals on a single page! And somehow, cooking has become a lot less intimidating.
Need Some Inspiration for How to Use Your Printable Meal Planner Template?
How to Make a Gluten-Free Meal Plan on a Budget shares the basics of meal planning and includes great recipes and food inspiration.
This guide features delicious recipes and food options that will inspire you to try something new this week!
You don’t even need to be eating a gluten-free diet to benefit from this meal planning guide. You’ll find inspiration regardless of your dietary preferences. Plus, there are some great tips for buying groceries and meal planning on a budget.
My final piece of advice is to start with the mealtime that gives you the most stress. For me, that is dinner.
Remember, the slow cooker, instant pot, and leftovers are your friends! Print your free printable templates here and get started today!