Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meal Planner

In our family, the meal planning falls to my husband.  To lighten the burden a little, I made a template for him:

First Column: Meal
You'll notice that there are no days of the week.  We plan our meals, but we like to spontaneously eat out a couple times a week.  Leaving off the week day names gives us that kind of flexibility.  Our eating out is also the reason there are only six meals on the sheet.  Well, that, and the fact that seven would be too squished.

Second Column: Need
Here we list the items we need to buy for that meal.  Usually it's fresh vegetables, but it can also be stuff that we've run out of.  Being able to see what we need for the next several meals helps us plan our shopping so we don't end up walking to the produce store every night right before dinner.

Third Column: Notes
The note might be about the meal we're making, such as, "remember the corn" (which I seem to forget to make on rice pilaf night) or the note might be a reminder to take the steak out of the freezer and defrost it for the next night's meal.

I had so much fun drawing all the ridiculous little illustrations.  If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be the top view of the TV dinner on the TV tray.  I can't remember the last time I ate one, but I always thought they were *so* awesome when I was growing up.  Holy smokes, I just realized I remember when they came with FOIL over the meal, not plastic.  I'm getting so old.

If you'd like to use it yourself, it's available on my free downloads page.
102 Comments (comments are disabled)

Wheee! So cool! Thanks for this.
12/18/2007 11:42 PM

est said ...
this is so awesome! i need it for ashley's meal planning! i bet you can do something like this for crafting ;) thanks for this!
12/19/2007 12:04 AM

SisterDG said ...
This completely rocks - thank you so much for sharing with us all. Tell Andrew he gets my vote for Best Guy Ever for taking on meal planning.

. . . And I remember TV dinners with foil, too. I always thought it was so cool how there was a little cake baked right into the tray.
12/19/2007 1:09 AM

liz elayne said ...
this is so fantastic! thank you for sharing these as they might be just the thing to get us a bit more excited about planning meals!!!

warm blessings to you...
12/19/2007 1:18 AM

more said ...

you're so durned crafty!

(thankfully, i don't plan meals, they just sort of happen but i'm "in charge" as my BF is so annoyingly indecisive ;) )

happy eating!

12/19/2007 5:40 AM

Carrie Sue said ...
That is so clever, thanks for the template. Don't be sad, I remember the foil covers on frozen dinners, too! It just means you're "seasoned"... or over 30.
12/19/2007 8:01 AM

OldRound said ...
Too cute!
12/19/2007 9:00 AM

E to the M said ...
These are so cool, thanks!
12/19/2007 9:17 AM

Shannon said ...
pure creative genious. i am SO going to use this.
12/19/2007 9:46 AM

Javajem said ...
This is such a great idea! I'm totally going to try this - maybe I'll be organzied enough to get dinner on the table with these!
12/19/2007 12:17 PM

So cute...love it!
12/19/2007 12:49 PM

meg said ...
very, very cute.

octofrost has a special place on top of the piano, btw, along w/the card that goes w/him. my kids fight over him a little....

12/19/2007 1:05 PM

ambika said ...
I just printed this out and am going to totally use it.

The bf and I have such a hard time thinking in advance when it comes to food and I really think it's our downfall when it comes to a good diet. I think this will help and make it fun to figure out what we want & need.
12/19/2007 1:32 PM

Cassandra said ...
Ha! This is fantastic. I'm going to forward this to my husband right now! If I put burritos in the top spot do you think he'll get the hint? ;)
12/19/2007 1:48 PM

Cristina said ...
I've tried to do that one time, but everything was changed, maybe because i put the days on! I guess i could give a try again, i can't resist to that cute ementa ;)
12/19/2007 2:15 PM

Nico said ...
Too cute! I like to menu plan too, I plan by the month :) It helps to keep me organized and keeps the family from asking the all too annoying question "whats for dinner" ;)
12/19/2007 2:45 PM

branycbur said ...
these are so totally great...as the meal planner of my family, i thank you.
12/19/2007 4:48 PM

Inger C said ...
I love this! My husband has a 'system' of keeping the shopping lists in a binder - do I need to say it does not work? :-) He doesn't remember what dishes he shopped for... so I'm going to print this for him today. Me? I can't cook :-)
12/19/2007 5:15 PM

Elizabeth said ...
These are great! Thanks for sharing. You are a sweetheart.
12/19/2007 6:04 PM

ellie said ...
Super cute! I used to love TV dinners too!
12/19/2007 6:11 PM

normanack said ...
Rockin'! Awesome! Cool-o-rama! This will make it much more fun for me and the kids to plan meals.
12/19/2007 7:00 PM

Kuky said ...
How fun! My meal planning is so boring in comparison. But I have been thinking about drawing out my grocery list because of an episode of Curious George I saw. But that would take sooooooo long!
12/19/2007 8:02 PM

Sonya said ...
I LOVE this and thank you so much for sharing - it will be making an appearance on my fridge door for sure!
12/20/2007 12:46 AM

La Muka said ...
Is a good idea!!!
Muy buena idea
12/20/2007 4:19 AM

mimsylafree said ...
fantastic! i can't wait to pass these on to the meal-planner at my house. thanks so much for sharing!
12/20/2007 1:06 PM

Chelsea said ...
That is so cool! Thanks for sharing. I am so posting a link on my blog to share with my friends.
12/20/2007 4:48 PM

~E said ...
What a fantastic idea! It's so cute. Thanks for sharing. My grocery list can be cute now. ;)
12/20/2007 6:35 PM

{kimmymade} said ...
Wow -- This is so much more organized that my household. I'm ashamed to admit how much food goes to waste in my house due to lack of planning. Kudos!
12/20/2007 9:24 PM

Claudia said ...
Thank you. Meal planning just got better!
And it looks good on the fridge!
12/21/2007 9:12 AM

Bethany Oakes said ...
Thats fab Alice, Thank you... Just need all the recipes now please!
12/21/2007 10:37 AM

Katherine said ...
So cool! Thank you for sharing it.
12/21/2007 11:06 AM

Angie said ...
This is so great!! I always try to plan, but then go out for dinner a night here or there and I had given up for awhile - to complicated to plan. This definitely gives me a reason to try planning again!!
12/24/2007 2:38 PM

Anonymous said ...
Thank you! Thank you!
12/26/2007 2:32 AM

dawn said ...
Alice, this is soooo perfect! Thanks so much for sharing. We've been trying to plan meals as a family to lessen the "not again!" or "I'm not hungry" comments that I get at dinner from my kids.
12/26/2007 11:50 AM

Moxie said ...
I love it!

I totally agree- it's good to have a plan and kind of know how many days a plan will feed you, but I like flexibility, too. This is amazing!
12/27/2007 12:43 PM

avknits said ...
I. Love. These. So. Much. My sweetie and I share the cooking, and every week we each pick two recipes and shop for them--for 18 years we've been doing this WITHOUT A CUTE TEMPLATE. How did we manage? Life is going to be better now. Hearty thank yous!
12/28/2007 10:46 AM

Alice, I love it, and it's actually motivating me to start cooking and planning meals! Only one problem... I have no color printer and when I print it in black & white, it comes out a mere shadow... very sad. Do you happen to have a black & white version for Luddites like me?
12/30/2007 1:12 PM

Judy said ...
Much better than my used and re-used bits of notebook paper. My fridge will be so much cuter with your idea. Thank you!
1/1/2008 11:22 PM

nest_feathering said ...
Thanks so much for sharing your menu planners! It's much cuter than mine but I'd send you a copy of mine if I could because it requires thought only once. THAT works for me!
1/5/2008 6:12 AM

prairie daze said ...
woa. yes.
1/6/2008 10:54 PM

Thank you for this. It is much more organized than my scribble pad. Also, I will save all the past ones and maybe rotate through them.
1/7/2008 11:06 AM

Edith said ...
ohdeedoh brought me here and I love this meal planner. It's really cool. Thanks!
1/9/2008 8:16 PM

Maryjo said ...
this is so amazingly great! Thanks for sharing it.
1/13/2008 1:42 PM

twins-o-rama said ...
awesome, and so cute it almost makes this a fun chore...thank you.
1/16/2008 6:09 PM

Alice, you ROCK!! Thank you so much for the black & white... I will think of you every time I use it!

And thanks for the comments on my oh-so-nascent blog... very encouraging!
1/17/2008 2:49 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I am using your menu template and I love it. I bought a clear plastic frame that has magnets on the back and use dry erase markers to cut down on printing and paper. Thanks again.
1/20/2008 7:29 PM

What a fantastic idea, this should make meal planning at our house good fun. Thanks for the templates :-)
1/21/2008 4:00 AM

sue said ...
I read this months and months ago and just remembered about it, but of course I couldn't remember where I read it... so I did a google of: "husband draw shopping list fridge template" and it came up! thought i'd share that this stuck in my mind for a while and i came back to find you. funny the words i thought of!
3/28/2008 1:03 PM

Nita said ...
Such a creatively cute and functional way to plan meals. It actually makes me feel excited about cooking! :) I've been racking my brains on how to make meal prep more visually-interesting so that the hubby will help out more. This is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing this.
3/30/2008 8:45 AM

Rachel Pence said ...
This is so cute! Thanks!
4/30/2008 6:10 PM

Ann said ...
Just found this - it is darling. Great visual organization and so much more appealing than a list! Thanks!
5/29/2008 3:10 PM

Nysa said ...
I used your planner for the first time this week and it worked like a charm! If I don't make a plan, I forget to use the food I buy before it goes bad. This cute design is fun to have on the counter all week long. Thanks for sharing it!
6/5/2008 11:57 PM

Karen Bayard said ...
WON-DER-FUL! Thank you so much for this clever aid! I LOVE IT! My Friend Amanda Howland (bchronicles.com) sent it to me. She is quite crafty too. I am so happy for this forward!
6/26/2008 4:58 PM

aileen said ...
This is the best, I'm sharing this format with my clients, thank you so much!
8/28/2008 12:52 AM

Amy B said ...
thanks so much! This makes meal planning FUN!
9/3/2008 3:55 PM

Rita said ...
Thank you so much for this "happy" way to plan meals! : ) I love it!
9/4/2008 2:27 AM

Dacia said ...
love this! thanks!
9/4/2008 5:28 PM

Net said ...
Who would have thought that I could love you even more! This is fantastic! Thank you so much for making these available. Now, not only will I be more organised, but my kitchen will look Future-Girl cool!
Yay Alice!
9/5/2008 5:21 AM

Liz MacKay said ...
I love this idea! It's fun to look at and easy to understand. Thanks for sharing it.
9/7/2008 6:21 PM

caroline said ...
I love this idea. My daughter is starting to cook for the family and this would be a great reminder for her and for me of what we need and what to do to prep for dinners!
9/24/2008 11:04 AM

Veggiemomof2 said ...
I love them! Thanks so much.
9/26/2008 11:34 AM

Lisa said ...
Awesome! I'm trying to get organized, and meal planning is one thing I need to work on. This will really help - thanks for sharing!
10/1/2008 11:42 AM

leslie said ...
hello. i just followed a link over here. and am so happy i did. so happy. thank you so much for this. and it is cute, too. hooray!
11/13/2008 3:20 AM

Fiona said ...
fantastic! Thanks for sharing and happy blog birthday
11/17/2008 3:32 PM

jj said ...
Thanks so much for this! It might help me get the kids to pick a dinner or two so that complaints aren't just aimed at me all week :)
1/9/2009 4:53 PM

beth said ...
Just found your site and I love this!! Thanks for sharing your talents!

-someone who has less artistic skill in her whole body than you do in your pinkie
1/11/2009 9:58 PM

Karyn said ...
This is absolutely perfect. Thanx for the download!
1/29/2009 5:20 PM

Thank you so much for this I love how it has what you need column, makes meal planning so much simpler!
6/1/2009 9:09 PM

futuregirl said ...
Glad you like it, Andrea! :)
6/12/2009 10:58 PM

Kristin said ...
Very cute! Coming over from everything Rachael Ray. Can't wait to use it!
7/3/2009 3:26 PM

Melissa said ...
thank you for sharing this
9/4/2009 8:32 AM

Misty Bourne said ...
Hey there, futuregirl. I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE this menu planner you made. I found it a looong time ago and I think I'm going to use it when my current menu planner notepad runs out. :) I just did a blog post about why people should menu plan and I featured your template--I hope this is okay with you!

Thanks again for this--it's adorable and functional all at the same time! :)

1/9/2010 1:30 PM

Karyn said ...
Gorgeous and thanks!
3/19/2010 3:53 PM

Lauri said ...
This is perfect for me/us! I really like that you don't have the days of the week, because we have a hard time planning by the day for the same reasons you do. And I love the little spaces for what is needed and for notes. Thanks so much for this!
4/17/2010 1:08 PM

Clare said ...
Thank you! I love the flexibility of this template!
7/5/2010 9:09 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Clare ... Thank you for the sweet comment! :)
7/8/2010 12:51 PM

Melanie said ...
I found your blog a couple years ago specifically for this menu planner. I think SimpleMom (simplemom.net) mentioned you in one of her posts on menu planning. I forgot to bookmark your site and misplaced the copy of your menu planner I printed out. Imagine how excited I was to find my lost copy after we moved. And your website was at the bottom. Yay!

Thanks Future Girl!
8/27/2010 3:03 PM

futuregirl replied ...
Melanie ... Yay! Glad you found that last one. :) Thanks for the great comment.
9/27/2010 10:19 PM

cass said ...
This is just what I was looking for - Thanks so much
9/13/2010 7:54 PM

futuregirl replied ...
cass ... You are totally welcome!
9/27/2010 8:42 PM

Nonna Beach said ...
Thank you for this really cute menu planning printable. I have been in a cooking rut and was looking for something fun and easy to use to plan our menus and shopping list on one page !
9/14/2010 5:23 PM

futuregirl replied ...
Nonna Beach ... Yay! I'm so glad you like it! :)
9/27/2010 8:43 PM

Jennifer said ...
Very cute. Thanks so much for sharing this!
12/25/2010 6:32 PM

futuregirl replied ...
Jennifer ... You're welcome! Thanks for the sweet comment. :)
12/29/2010 7:39 PM

Donna said ...
This is fantastic! I am working with some 8th graders about eating more veggies and was trying to come up with a cool way to get them thinking--this should do it! Thanks a bazillion!
1/31/2011 12:27 PM

futuregirl replied ...
Donna ... I hope it works! Another thing that works: chesse sauce. That's how my mom got us to eat broccoli and cauliflower. :)
1/31/2011 12:44 PM

Gigi said ...
Thank you! These are great!
2/22/2011 12:02 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Gigi ... You are welcome! :)
2/28/2011 12:36 AM

Jacky said ...
Absolutely LOVE this planner, I have been looking for one for some time now. Thanks for sharing!
3/7/2011 8:42 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Jacky ... Thank you! Glad you like it. :)
3/7/2011 11:15 PM

Lena said ...
Saw this on the "A-list Mom" email this morning. Brilliant! I'm going to give this a try. Too often we buy too much for the week and food gets wasted.
4/1/2011 7:14 AM

futuregirl replied ...
Lena ... I hope this helps! Thanks for the sweet comment. :)
4/3/2011 1:45 PM

Rachel said ...
I featured you on my facebook a few weeks ago - this is an adorable printable! So useful and one of my favs! You should submit it to the contest on Kenmore on how to organize mealtimes/life!
5/3/2011 6:48 AM

Angela said ...
This is just so cute and different. I put a link to this page on my blog today. Thanks for sharing!
9/15/2011 3:30 AM

Damaris said ...
Thanks for the great template! So cute :-)
1/19/2012 6:18 AM

Amy Park said ...
So cute!
1/2/2013 10:26 PM

Sarah said ...
Thank you! I was looking for a cool one of these and now I found it. Heaps of nerdy ones out there!! x
6/2/2013 5:53 PM

Leila said ...
Lovely idea and the drawings are so cute - thanks for sharing! I usually just draw out a chart, but this is so much more inspiring!
9/25/2013 11:58 AM

Jo said ...
Thanks so much! Super cute and helpful!
12/13/2013 8:05 AM

Carina Bronkhorst said ...
Thanks for this inspiring meal planner template :)
2/2/2014 12:42 PM

Lora S said ...
Thank you SO much! I love this!! If you come up with other handy organization things like this I'd be willing to buy them!
8/14/2014 1:34 PM
futuregirl replied ...
Lora S ... Wow! Thank you for the sweet comment. :)
8/17/2014 8:31 PM