Jul 192013

I promised a post on Meal Planning last week – so here it is 🙂

Staying with yesterday’s post Words, I’m going to keep it short and simple. (I can always post more later, right? 😉 )

Meal planning is my #1 way to save money, reduce stress, and actually have good food to eat in my house. That said – I HATE MEAL PLANNING!!!!

For a family on an extremely tight budget ($250/month or $67.50/week), a limited diet (think pretty much Paleo), and without a lot of time/energy to cookit’s a frustrating process!  I find that this also makes it even more necessary to do, and when I put it off and don’t do it, it’s not good all the way around.  I also don’t enjoy cooking all that much either.

But I’ve found that meal planning helps this too!  I’ve tried many different systems to make meal planning easier. From Spreadsheets (check out a nice one here that incorporates your pantry, recipes, and more), to a few apps, to just plain pen and paper, and I’m now beginning to use Evernote.

My tried and true method is just a plain old piece of paper and pen.  It’s quick and easy. My biggest hang-up to meal planning is when I make it too complicated.  So if you’re just starting out – keep it simple!!!

For the last 2 months I’ve gotten back in the habit of meal planning this way.  But I’ve really wanted to make some time to write down all the different meals we can actually eat, so I don’t have to come up with meals off the top of my head (this is why we eat a lot of the same foods, and I get bored!).  So I started today.

I took my menus from the last 2 months that I wrote down, and entered each food/meal we’ve eaten into Evernote. I then included a tag for the type of meal (i.e Dinner, Side Dish), and the main ingredient (Chicken, Beef).  I’ve already been including new recipes I find online into Evernote so that I can refer to them anywhere and not forget them (I always forget what I have on Pinterest!!!).

I’ve also been typing my new menus into Evernote for the last two week.  Here’s what next weeks looks like.

Evernote, Meal Planning

My plan is that next week, I can use the tags in Evernote to browse ideas to place in the slots for each food. Hopefully this will help me to vary it up a little bit 🙂  I can also look through the new recipes I’ve found and add them in.

It’s still a work in progress but it’s helping.  I also print this out to put on the fridge, which is helpful when I’m standing there and can’t remember what I was planning on feeding Naomi for lunch!

If you are looking for some more resources for meal planning check out this weeks eBook Bundle of the Week below. This bundle is only good until Monday, July 22 at 8 AM, so check it out soon! Here’s some more info.


Bundle #29: Cooking Basics

This week’s bundle takes you back to the basics with 5 cooking resources to help you meal plan, create your own recipes, make homemade condiments and reduce waste. With a little planning, you can save time and money in your kitchen, and this week only get all 5 ebooks for just $7.40, or 85% off their list price!

With your purchase, you’ll get all five of these ebooks:

Get yours today!


Well that’s all for today 🙂

Leave me a comment and let me know what your Meal Planning strategy is.  What’s your motivation to keep at it?



(Affiliate links are used in this post. This means that if you decide to purchase a resource I’ve recommended that I get a small fee for sharing the resource with you. Note: I will only use affiliate links that I’ve personally used and honestly recommend! See Disclosure Policy)

  14 Responses to “Meal Planning”

  1. I love meal planning blogs! I run out of ideas, or get burned out fixing the same thing over and over again. I will definitely bookmark you site.


  2. Hum, my strategy right now is to wing it! I’ve tried all sorts of methods and fail at them after a week or two… I just try to make sure I know what’s going on more then 5 mins before dinner! Most of the time our breakfast and lunches are the same everyday (some exceptions though) so I’m more concerned with dinner!

    • Our breakfasts and lunches are the same as well usually. Sometimes I don’t include them on the plan, but I like to (especially typed ones) because as I work on it I feel like I’ve at least done something! 😉

  3. Good luck with your meal planning, Crystal. I totally understand the limited budget, and special dietary needs. Rory has been on a specialized diet her entire life. Thanks for sharing your ideas. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  4. I’m going to take a look into Evernote. I need to start planning my meals as well. I noticed that we’ve been spending way too much on food for things we don’t need. I need a great budget. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Great job! I will be watching your meal plans definitely! I will probably have a little bit of my blog on the same topic. But I am hoping to do multiple series. I love the layout of your blogs as well! The ability to look at the link and see your meal plan helps me a lot!

  6. I love it how Saturdays are “leftover days” lool. Same here. Nobody’s got time to cook on Saturdays! Great post, which keeps me wondering what I am going to cook for diner 🙁

  7. I start–and then stop. I’ll have to look into evernote. You’re the 2nd person I’ve seen say that they like it. Thanks.!

  8. I started at the first of the year putting out a monthly calendar with meals on them. I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but what a help it has been!! I never have to ask hubby anymore, “What would you like for dinner?” and hear the same response, “I don’t care.” I really like the idea of Evernote. I will have to check into that myself.

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