Free Meal Planner Printable
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy and the journey into finding the right meds took me through a spiral of memory issues, fatigue, and other health issues that made taking care of my home difficult. Even after finally finding the right medication regimen years later I found that my memory had suffered traumatically and that trips to the grocery store were impossible without some form of planning. That is why I began using meal planners and grocery list to help ensure I got more bang for my buck and make shopping less stressful.
In this post I wanted to offer this free meal planner that has been useful in helping me plan my meals and make planning healthier meals for my family simple.
This FREE Printable Meal Planner is perfect for planning your meals out for the week and it helps you to stay on track by helping keep a track of your daily recommended fruits, veggies, dairy, and more. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to get the FREE Version!
Benefits of using a meal planner
I mentioned already a few of the reasons I enjoy using a meal planner but there are many different reasons why using a meal planner is beneficial. Here are a few of the top reasons.
Using a meal planner is a great way to save you time at the grocery store by planning your shopping list ahead. You wont find your self rummaging through the store trying to figure out what you need, what you are out of, or what you forgot because you will have it all conveniently written down on your shopping list.
Portion control used to be a big problem in my home before I planned my meals. If you were used to cooking for a large family for instance, and you have kiddos that are no longer with you, you may still be cooking an unnecessary amount of food. By planning your meals you will know exactly the right portions to make as well as how much food to buy for your meals.
Reduces the amount of food waste
This benefit goes hand in hand with portion control. If you are buying too much food, you will often find you have a lot more food waste. Items like bananas, are among the top foods wasted in homes.
By planning your meals you will only buy the amount of food needed thus reducing food waste. Your pockets and your trash will be happier for it.
Reduces the stress of cooking last minute
As a mother, I would say one of the biggest things I found myself struggling with is, cooking at the last minute. With all the responsibilities in the home, from working, to cleaning, and caring for my family, the day could fly by and it was time for dinner before I knew it.
Without proper meal planning you may often find your self scrambling at the last minute to throw together meals which can cause a lot of stress and unneeded headaches. By planning your meals out for the week you will not only have ticked off the above benefits on this list but your family will have healthier home cooked meals that won't cause you all that unwanted stress.
One of my favorite things about meal planning is how much money I can save by sitting down and planning out my meals for the week. When you shop without a plan you are more likely to by unneeded items.
By planning your grocery list and meals you are less likely to buy items that you already have or items you simply do not need, thus savings tons of money for other needed expenses.
Meal Planning Tips
Now that we have gone over a few of the benefits of using a meal planner let's go over a few tips to help you use your meal planner. These are some of my favorite tips that have helped make meal planning not only less stressful but fun.
1.Check your pantry, fridge and freezer - One of the biggest mistakes I found myself making on shopping trips was buying items I already had in my pantry. So before you go shopping you should do an inventory check of your pantry, fridge, and freezer and plan your meals after.
2. Plan your meals around sales - Since meal planning is already a great way to save money as I mentioned in the benefits list, why not taking it one step further and check your stores flyers for sales that are going on around your planned shopping dates. You'd be surprised how much extra money you could save. Just remember to make your plan only around the items you truly need.
Believe me it is tempting!
3. Start with what you know - I am all for trying new recipes and foods but there are some recipes and foods I am not familiar with and when you are new to meal planning I wouldn't recommend you taking on more than you can handle. Later on as you get used to meal planning try incorporating new recipes.
4. Encourage your family to share - Ask your family what they like and incorporate some of your families favorite ingredients and recipes into your meal planning.
5. Do your meal planning on the weekend - This is just a little trick that works for me. I like to plan my meals on my least busiest day, which happens to be Saturday. I plan out my meals then and have them ready for Monday through Sunday.
Free Meal Planner Printable
Now that I have given you a little insight to the benefits of meal planning and some of my favorite tips. Below is your free gift. Click on the image to download your free planner. Happy planning!
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