24 February, 2014

HOME ORGANIZER: MEAL PLANNERS

Home Organizer: Free Printable Meal Planners

I only recently started using a Meal Planner, and boy, what a difference its made!

Every night I used to stand in front of the fridge, doors wide open, gazing at the dwindling contents and wondering what on earth I could cook for dinner. Ugh! It was stressful trying to be creative each night. It was wasteful as there was always something I forgot to use up that ended up in the bin. It took twice as long to cook dinner as it took me so long to decide what to make.

Anyway, I've found planning meals at the start of the week means I don't have to think about it each night - I just start cooking whatever it says on the planner.

I've done up a few different printables, depending on how you like to organize yourself, but first, here is the Cooking Section Cover, with one of my favorite quotes from Julia Child.

Home Organizer: Free Printable Cooking Section Cover


1. WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER:

This is the classic Meal Planner with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Not only is it a really useful style of meal planner; it's a great tool for changing your family's eating patterns, such as going gluten or lactose free, as all the meals are spelled out for the entire week.

Home Organizer: Free Printable Weekly Meal Plan

2. FORTNIGHTLY DINNER PLANNER:

This is the planner that works best for me, and needs a little explaining. Our little family has never eaten heaps of processed foods, and now we are trying to eat even less, so most of our dinners are meat and veg in some form or another - like I was saying in my last post on Recipes here. I also like to buy as much seasonal fruit and veg (i.e. what's on special) as I can, so this changes every week. And, meat is the most expensive part of my shop, so I try to keep this under a certain dollar amount.

Anyway, I just plan out two weeks worth of meat that stayed under budget, and do up whatever veg we have in the fridge to match. For example, Thursday is fish night so sometimes I bake it, crumb it or just grill it with butter, salt and pepper, and sometimes we have salad, roast veg or steamed veg etc. Whatever works. 

I find this lets me be flexible but also takes the decision stress out of dinner. Also, the trick for me (so we aren't eating basically the same thing every night) is to have a well stocked pantry so I can whip up a sauce or spice rub easily.
Home Organizer: Free Printable Fortnightly Dinner Planner

3. SCHOOL LUNCH PLANNER:

I don't have kids at school yet, but I do have a husband whose lunch I pack sometimes, and it's hard work! I can only imagine what it would be like to pack three lunchboxes for fussy kids!

So I've done up a quick School Lunch Planner for everyone who needs it. I've just written Day instead of  Monday, Tuesday etc. so you can have one sheet for each child, or put two or three kids alongside each other on the one sheet, e.g. Monday - Jack, Monday - Imogen etc. I figured this would be more flexible with some kids going to playgroup and kinda a few days a week, whilst their siblings are at school each day.

If this one needs any changes - please let me know, as I don't have kids at school!

Home Organizer: Free Printable School Lunch Planner
4. KIDS FOOD DIARY:

Or, as I prefer to call it 'What My Fussy Child Actually Ate This Week'. Honestly, last week, Missy was subsisting on Weetbix and sulltanas - that's it. She wouldn't touch anything else.

The wisdom from local health nurses over here is to look at what nutrients a child is getting over a week rather than a day, and try to balance it up that way. Many kids eat very little at mealtimes but snack all day long, others will eat nothing one day and lots the next, so their patterns can vary greatly, which is absolutely normal.

So this printable is for those times you think to yourself  'Um, when was the last time Junior ate a vegetable...or dinner....' or just when you want to check up on what they are actually eating. Because, as we all know, even though you gave it to them, doesn't mean they actually ate it,  and it can be hard to remember what they ate yesterday, let alone last Thursday.

I only use this printable occasionally to check up on Missy, but this would be invaluable for tracking possible allergies, relationships between behavior and food, and, in summer when it is super hot, to keep on top of how much water they are drinking.

Home Organizer: Free Printable Kid's Food Diary

So there we go for today! Tomorrow I have some grocery and food lists to help everyone stay organized with their shopping and cooking. Let me know if you have any suggestions or improvements for the printables I've done so far too!

TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE MEAL PLANNERS - PLEASE CLICK HERE

All the best,

Eliza.

38 comments:

  1. I was needing one of these and so glad I came across your post! What gorgeous printables you have created! Thank you so much for generously sharing them. xx

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    1. Hey Chelsea, thanks for stopping by and the kind words :) off to check out your blog now!

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  2. Nice work! That is super organising. I really like the idea of the food planner to check up on what the kiddies are eating. It would say milk, milk, milk and more milk. ha ha.

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    1. Ours too - milk, milk, milk plus sultanas, vegemite sandwiches, cheese, ham, biscuits and grapes. Oh yes, and warm gloopy weetbix.....ugh!

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  3. Love these!!! The design is so pretty and love how useful they are. I really need to try these out so that I can get meals in order for us. Working full time, plus the blog, plus my photography....meals are a mess these days.

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  4. Hey Katy, glad you like the designs! I always find going back to basics helps me when things get out of control - hope the planners get you back on track. By the way, your photography is gorgeous! All the best, Eliza

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  5. How super cute are these! Thank you for sharing. I'm going to have to use the weekly one. It's cute.

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    1. Thanks Shailynn, so glad you like them :)

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  6. These planners are amazing....thanks for creating them and offering them to all of us for free!

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  7. Beautiful clean lines and colors. I need to start planning my meals out. I relate to what you used to do, opening the fridge and staring. I need a better plan and the weekly printable looks just right. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hey Victoria,

      So glad someone else does this too!

      Thankyou for the kind words and I hope the printable works out for you :)

      All the best,

      Eliza.

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  8. These are beautiful planners! Love your blog!

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  9. Thank you so much for this! I've been trying to eat healthy, but I think this meal planner will really help me to stay on track!

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    1. I hope so! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

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  10. I love these meal planners. Thank you thank you thank you!! Definitely going to use them.

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    1. That's awesome to hear Liz - please let me know how they go!

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  11. What an awesome idea! I've been in major need of good meal planners, and these are so pretty! Thank you so much for linking up at Thursday STYLE :)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Angela :) And thanks for hosting that linkup!

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  12. These look great! Bookmarked. I'm just about to head down meal planning lane actually. Perfect! X

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  13. Meal planning does make things much less stressful! Let me know how you get on Bec, and thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Thank you thank you! I always leave it to the day to plan a meal and it drives me nuts so this planner would be excellent. I also have a very fussy eater and so this is a great idea to keep track of what he's eating.

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    1. Well, hope the planners help you out :) Thanks for stopping by Eva!

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  15. I so need to get it together to do this to save time and and stress. They are fab. Thank you I will be back. Popping in from Mummy Mondays!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sarah, looking forward to having you back soon :)

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  16. Thank you for linking up at Tasty Tuesdays! I pinned your post to my Tasty Tuesdays board. I can't wait to see what you link up this week! http://wp.me/p466oG-18B
    Have a terrific week!
    Cathy

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    1. Thanks so much for all your kind words Cathy - and thanks for stopping by! I will certainly be at Tasty Tuesdays this week!

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  17. Thanks it's domething for me
    Thanks for linking up at "My Favorite Things- Linky Party"
    Have fun and don’t forget to join us each week!
    co-host
    Be Creative Mommy
    http://becreativemommy.blogspot.co.uk/

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  18. Great idea! I'm going to print out the planners tonight for sure. Thank you for sharing on Thank Goodness It's Thursday and I can't wait to see what you link up next time :)

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    1. Hi Jordan, not a problem linking them up, glad to hear you're using them!

      All the best,

      Eliza.

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  19. Planning and cooking is the worst for me! Perhaps this would help me be better prepared for 5:00…Thanks for linking up to the Do Tell Tuesday party!

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    1. I know your pain - 5pm is never a good time with a hungry, tired small child (and a hungry, tired husband!).
      Thanks for hosting the link party, and thanks for stopping by!

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  20. Great idea. Planning meals is very important to ensure you eat healthy foods. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays Blog Hop!

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  21. I always need help with planning! Thank you for offering these. Thanks for linking up to #throwbackthursday link up!

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    1. Hope these help you Tanya! Thanks for dropping by :)

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