How These Simple Meal Plan Templates Help Us Save Time, Money and Eat Healthy
Ok, confession time.
Have you ever had one of those days when you are so frazzled that when 6 pm rolls around you think, “oh $#@! what’s for dinner!?!” Or, you just get so busy and consumed with other things that your inspiration for making a healthy meal is just zapped? Yeah. Us too.
Cue the inevitable scramble to pop something in the microwave, run through the drive through, grab some takeout or have something delivered. All while adding an extra (unnecessary) layer of stress. We know how crazy life gets when you’re trying to juggle everything. We also know there are shortcuts and easy (like, super easy) ways to hack quick and healthy meals without tasting like a boiled shoe.
The first step, though, is making a plan. Like anything really. So, to help you save some time (and probably some cash), we created these simple meal plan templates to help you map out what to eat ahead of time. Seriously, writing your meal plan out will help you stick to your healthy goals (science says :). We’ve found it’s the easiest way to eat more plant-based and Mediterranean foods each week.
Whether you need to just plan for dinner or all your weekly meals, we’ve got you covered. We even threw in a bonus monthly calendar and list for your favorite recipes. These templates are formatted as 8x10 images so you can pop them into frames and write on the glass with a dry erase marker (our favorite way to use them). Or, you can print them on regular paper (just check your printer settings to fit the image to the whole page) and post it in a noticeable place in your kitchen, pantry, or dining area.
How-To Use the Templates
We usually plan out our week’s meals on the weekend before hitting the grocery store. After taking a quick inventory of what ingredients are on hand, what needs to be restocked, which family favorite recipes we want and what’s in season, we jot down the menu items on the Dinner Plan Template. Knowing which nights will be “late nights” helps us figure out which meals fit with the daily activities. The notes column is a good place for back up meal ideas (hello loaded veggie quesadillas) - especially for when things change during the week (which happens more often than we’d like to admit -ugh).
If you’re really ambitious, try planning out a few weeks at a time and rotate throughout the month (hint: use the Monthly Meal Plan Template for this). The pros in the foodservice industry call this a “cycle menu” (where the same menus are reused every few weeks) and can help save time in the long run.
To take your planning a step further beyond just dinner, the Weekly Meal Plan Template can help you map out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This is especially handy if you are trying to kick start your healthy lifestyle, have a food allergy, are trying to lose weight, stick to a specific budget, or want to waste less food. We especially like the Weekly Meal Plan Template to help figure out where the fruit and veggie gaps might be. Does each meal have at least one? Are there different colors used throughout the day/week? See how you might be able to get a few more in there (even if it’s in your water!).
The Favorite Recipes Template was almost an afterthought. But, after realizing our own favorite recipes were scattered between cookbooks, emails, websites, and notecards - having one place to write them all down helped us remember some oldies but goodies that were lost in the stash.
We’re so excited to share these freebies with you. Let us know how you use them - we can’t wait to see what you create!
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