Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Undated Meal Planner and 2014 Meal Planner

It is another year and I have a couple of Meal Planners for you today. I reformatted my Undated Meal Planner. It is still very plain, but at least it isn't just for moms. I added some lines as well because I find that it is convenient. I still like the booklet style of planner. I can tuck it into my homebook/planner or have it sitting next to my desk. I have to say it usually hangs around the kitchen though my boys do like to take it and browse through it. I'm not sure what fascinates them about the silly planner, but I have caught Boy Genius just thumbing through it occasionally.

I thought I would go digital with my meal planning, but in the end, I liked writing in my meals. Pepperplate was a little troublesome for a time. I didn't like that I couldn't see the meals in the past. I'm sure they might have fixed that, but I haven't checked. I do still use Pepperplate for my shopping list. I love that I can order the categories the way I shop in the store. It saves me time. I used to spend a LOT of time walking back and forth because I my list was so disorganized and I had to go back for an item. It is very irritating when you are tired in the first place and the children are getting restless and about to burst. Yes, I love that feature.

If you would like the Undated Meal Planner, click ====>here.

Here is the 2014 Meal Planner ====>here.

How to put together the Booklet:

Supplies Needed:  Printout, a long reach stapler, bone folder (optional)

Step One: Print out the planner. It is 8 pages, front and back. It will look like it is messed up, but once you have printed it out and folded it, it will come together. I manually do the double sided printing on my printer since I don't like how my printer messes up every time using the automatic feature. It helps if you know your printer and how to do double sided printing.

Step Two: Fold all the pages in half. I do this with them all together, but you can do this one at a time. A bone folder is helpful to use to get the crisp fold. If you don't have a bone folder, just use a marker or pen.

Step Three: Staple on the fold.  I like making booklets, so I invested in a long reach stapler. You can probably get this done at a Print shop or bind it using bookmaking techniques.

Step Four: Use your new Planner. Fill in the dates if you are using the Undated Meal Planner. I like to highlight special dates such as birthdays, anniversary's, and holidays. Start writing in your meals.

Carol's Tips on How to Plan Meals

Tip #1:  Choose a day and a time to do your meal planning. I usually end up doing this Monday mornings. Be consistent.

Tip #2:  Decide the time period you like to have planned ahead. I used to plan a month a head of time when I was able to do our monthly Sam's Club trip. Now I plan only a week ahead of time, because that seems to work better for us at this moment.

Tip #3:  Make a list of your usual meals. I have left a few pages for this in my planner. It was a really big relief to have a list of the meals I make frequently. Once you have a list, you can easily chose what you want and write it down on the day that is most convenient.

Tip #4:  Tip #3 doesn't mean that you won't ever make a new dish. You know which days are really busy and could use an easy to fix meal. Plan to make a new dish or complicated dish on those days you know are pretty free.

Tip #5:  Be flexible and have a backup plan. Changes happen and a free day becomes very busy. It is good to have an easy to fix dinner on standby in the pantry for days like this.

Tip #6:  Put together your shopping list right after you have finished your meal planning and plan to shop it as soon as you can. The point of planning your meal ahead of time is to have on hand the ingredients you need to make these meals. I usually shop once a week for a week's worth of meals because I no longer have the room or refrigerator/freezer space to more than a week's worth of food in my home. This also eliminates wasted food as I try to buy things that will be eaten and won't be forgotten in the back of the cupboard.

Tip #7:  Look at your meal planner at least once a day. Take out anything that needs to be thawed or processed ahead of time. Example, If I'm making beans from scratch, I put the beans on to soak the day before and it is in the crock pot cooking all day for a quick mash and fry at dinner time.

I have developed another system that goes with my Meal Planner. I'm still working out the kinks and frankly, I lost some of my components in the move. I will be sure to share with you once I have it put together.

Thanks for stopping by,

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