Meal Planning

6:29 PM

We're two weeks into our Fall routine - dragging the boys out of bed, packing school lunches, shuttling kids, soccer practice, etc. Our days are pretty jammed and if I don't have a meal plan for the week, chances are we're having frozen pizza or take-out at least once for dinner. With two young kids, I don't have time to make last minute trips to the store. I'm a planner. I need recipes and shopping lists (and a glass of wine doesn't hurt) to get me through the week.

I've discovered there are a TON of websites and apps out there offering to help make meal planning simpler. So I thought I would test-drive some meal planning sites and apps over the next few weeks and share my thoughts on what worked and what didn't.

Planning Tool Review #1: Real Simple's Weekday Meal Plan and Shopping List

What is it: download and printable list to organize dinners and shopping list

How it works:

  1. Decide on your weekday dinners and write them in the menu column on the left. I find menu ideas online, cookbooks and magazines. Real Simple suggests planning dishes that rely on perishable groceries (fish, chicken, fresh basil) at the start of the week and sturdier foods (pasta, eggs, frozen shrimp) at the end. I'll be blogging about some of my favorite sources for menu inspiration.
  2. Write down the ingredients you’ll need to buy for each dinner in the appropriate columns to the right. Use the miscellaneous section for other purchases, like lunch supplies and paper towels.
  3. Grab your list and head to the store. 
  4. If you're like me and can't remember what you actually planned, hang on to your list throughout the week.
The Skinny: It doesn't get more straightforward than this. This has become my go-to tool for planning and organizing meals for the week. I only wish it was an editable PDF.

Click here to download.

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