Are you tired of trying to figure out what’s for dinner at the last minute ever day? With this free meal planning printable, you can end those last minute scrambles to put something together.
Using a weekly meal plan can save you money and time. It can help you avoid those last-minute restaurant and take out runs. And it’ll ensure you’ve always got a meal plan no matter what your schedule.
If you’ve never made a meal plan, be sure to read my meal planning for beginners post. You’ll find that meal planning is an easy way to save money on food costs. This meal planner printable will save you time by planning the week ahead.
How to Use the Weekly Meal Planning Printable
As you can see, the free weekly meal planning printable is easy to use. There are 3 lines available for each day. This means you can plan all 3 of the day’s meals. Or you can just plan dinner or whatever you need. If you only need to plan dinner, then use the lines just for the dinner menu.
You might find you need to plan for dinner only during the week. On weekends you might want to plan every meal. Use the printable however it works best for you.
List the meals you want to have for the week on the left. Then put the ingredients you need for the meals on the right. I usually do my planning and shopping for the week’s meals on Saturday or Sunday. That way I’m ready to use the planner right away Monday morning.
Note: You can use this planner in conjunction with our free freezer printable worksheet. Just put “freezer” next to a meal if it’s one you’ll be taking out of the freezer. I do this on days when we’re very busy and I know I won’t have time to prepare and cook a meal.
Weekly Meal Plan Ideas
I like to use a variety of meal options for my weekly meal plans. As I mentioned, some meals come directly from the freezer meals I’ve stored. Others will be meals I need to prepare and cook before breakfast, lunch or dinner.
And still other meals will be meals we can eat on the go. For instance, I might have a variety of breakfast meal ideas like:
- cereal or oatmeal that people can serve themselves
- French toast or pancakes
- quiche or an egg bake recipe
- scrambled eggs or hash browns
- cereal bars or pre-made (or pre-baked) muffins in we’re really in a hurry
- fruit salad with nuts or other protein source like cheese
Lunch ideas can be determined in a similar way based on your schedule. Here are some lunch meal ideas:
- subs or sandwiches – make your own or create a meal
- soups, stews, chili and/or salads
- leftovers from previous nights’ dinners
- easy made casseroles
All of these lunch ideas can be planned and made fairly easily. But what about dinner? Here are some dinner ideas.
- your favorite casserole or hot dish
- pasta dishes such as lasagna, fettuccine alfredo or similar
- hamburger dishes such as meat loaf, sloppy joes or hot dishes
- beef dishes such as pot roast, beef stroganoff or beef stew
- chicken dishes such as lemon chicken, grilled chicken breast sandwiches or chicken and rice
- pork dishes such as pork chops or pork tenderloins with side dishes
Using Your Meal Ideas
Use your family’s favorite meal ideas to fill up your list each week. Be sure to rotate out meal ideas so you’re not doing the same meals every week. You may want to make a list of 15 to 30 meals you can alternate using during the month. This way no one gets bored with meal selections.
You could even have take-out pizza or other take-out meals on your list if they’re within your planned budget. Just put “Pizza from Carbone’s” or your other favorite take-out meal on your list. Then keep a note to remind yourself that you’ll have to make a stop to pick it up on the way home.
Another way to make meal planning easier is by double dipping. My family uses double dipping to save money and time on meal planning.
Double Dipping Your Meals
Here’s how double dipping your meals can save you time and money. Let’s say that on one night you make pot roast for dinner. Make a big enough meal that it’ll serve your family for two nights. On night 1, have the pot roast. On night 2, put the leftovers in a pot, make a gravy sauce and serve beef stew.
Or let’s say you serve chicken and potatoes one night. On night 2, use the leftover chicken to make some type of chicken casserole. Double dipping is a great way to make your grocery dollar stretch. Your leftovers will get used up and you’ll have an easy-to-prepare meal.
There you have it – some great ideas for using your meal planning printable. Customize the ideas listed here to fit your family’s meal preferences and dietary needs. Using the meal planner printable is just one of the many smart ways you can save money at the grocery store.
Let’s talk next about how you can store your weekly menu planning printable.
Home Management Binder
I have a home management binder that I use to keep my life more organized. I love my home management binder and use it to store my weekly menu planner. It’s a great way to keep all the important information you need all in one organized place. We have a free budget binder printable that you can use to start your home management binder.
Add your freezer printable worksheet and meal planning worksheet into the binder. Just get a basic 3-ring binder from any store. Organize your finances, meals and grocery shopping in the way that works best for you. Add other areas of home organization as you see fit.
That way you have all of your home management information in one place.
Or, you might choose to hang your weekly menu plan on the refrigerator. That way it’s there for everyone to see and know what the plan is for upcoming meals.
Weekly Menu Plan
Here it is – our free weekly menu planning printable. Use this printable to plan your meals for the week. Plus, it has a handy grocery list on the side that you can use while making your meal plan so you don’t forget anything at the grocery store.
Click here to download the color meal planning printable. Just switch your printer settings to black and white if you prefer a black and white printable.
If you are using a binder, there is room to 3-hole punch the sheet. You can also just print the sheet and post to your bulletin board or hang on the fridge as a reminder.
Using a weekly meal planner can be a great way to make meals more enjoyable. No more running around at the last minute, rifling through cupboards to find something to eat. And no more last-minute restaurant trips that can wreak havoc on a budget.
Your weekly meal planner can help reduce stress, save money and can even help you eat healthier. By planning healthy meals in advance you can avoid last-minute unhealthy meal choices.
Do you use a meal planning worksheet? If so, how has it helped you save money and be more organized? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.