I hate getting caught without a plan. When we had twins, putting our numbers up to 7, my husband pointed out that we had hit the point where we could no longer get away with not having a plan. He was right.
I love all you spontaneous folks out there who can open a fridge and create a masterpiece. There are times when that is necessary although I seem to lack the gift. If I don’t plan my meals and snacks a week in advance and grocery shop accordingly, I find we’re subsisting on cold cereal and quesadillas. Instead of thinking of planning as limiting, view it as means of living intentionally.
We’ve recently begun the GAPS diet. A few of you have asked what is this diet all about? It’s a healing diet designed to help restore the digestive system and the colon, the center of the immune system. It deals with issues as extreme as autism all the way to asthma, eczema and chronic constipation/diarrhea. It involves eating no grains and no sugar (except honey and 100% maple syrup, grade B). That’s the hard part.
But the GAPS diet is introducing us to a whole new world that really compliments our new farm lifestyle. Everything is homemade including bone broths, fermented foods like yogurt, Keifer, creme fraiche and sauerkraut, and juicing. I love it! I’m baking with almond flour so we still get to indulge in carb-like foods now and again.
But enough about GAPS. However, this huge diet change is the current catalyst in my pursuit to be an excellent menu planner. There is no winging it anymore. No drive-thrus allowed, no Costco pizzas, no grilled cheese sandwiches in a pinch. So here’s some meal planning templates to add a touch of organization to your home!
Meal Planning Templates
(Click on the images for download links)
My Current Favorite: Weekly Meal Plan with Shopping List
I love planning my meals and my shopping list side by side. I can cut off the shopping list and away we go to the store. In the notes section, I add ideas for next week’s menu planner, yummy things to be had. I’ve written a “Snack” category into the lunch box so I can plan a healthy afternoon snack. It seems we snack healthier when I plan well.
Kid’s Involvement Dinner Planner
Do you have an assigned dinner helper for each day of the week? The kids are often with me in the kitchen. Partly because they like food, partly because they can’t live long without me and partly because they are budding chefs in training. I like this menu plan because it gives you a spot to assign a “sous chef!”
I’m a big believer in gradually working myself out of a job. I start young, planting the magic of the kitchen in my children. As my children get older, I plan on delegating a meal a week to their expertise (with nutritional guidance of course otherwise we’d be eating corn dogs).
I also like the section for adding the recipe book and page number for reference. I often forget where to find that recipe!
Monthly Meal Planner
For those who love to have the big picture in view, this is the meal planner for you.
Just a few menu planning templates to inspire you into meal planning and organization for your family!