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my favourite real food meal planning resources


i have written a few times before about how i go about feeding my family healthy food on a budget. it is not an area of strength i can assure you! i would love to get our spending down even more and have realised that in order to do this, i must… succumb… to the dreaded… MEAL PLAN. argh!! i HATE planning and being stuck to plans. to be honest, even last christmas when i made an activity advent calendar, i got mad. in the days leading up to christmas, when my kids were all excited about doing our advent activity, i was actually resenting ‘early december sarah’ who decided that a plan of something we had to do each day was a good idea. on the meyers briggs personality test, i scored 100% in the spontaneity category. this is not my strength folks. but i really want to buy some new autumn clothes and fly my brother over to the uk for christmas, so the food costs must go down.

i have done my research, found many different people who have planned in many different ways and i am now going to share my finds with all of you here, cause i like a good short cut. your welcome.

for the newbie, this back to basics, full detail, menu planning guide from Tsh at Simple Mom is a welcome overview for someone who feels overwhelmed at even the idea of starting to plan a menu.

for the uber organised (or for those months you just don’t have time or want to get out of a meal planning rut), these grain-free meal plans from Cara at Health Home Happy are genius!! i bought one of the autumn season ones and oh my goodness. i love type A people who share all their organisation with the rest of us. if you want 3 meals a day 7 days a week, with grocery lists and reminders included, it is money very well spent.

for excellent variety and kid friendly meals, Katie over at Riddle Love has over a years worth of her weekly, seasonal menu plans with reminders and recipe links. her recipes are consistently easy, delicious and gobbled up by my littles.

and finally, for the mom who loves spontaneity but needs a plan to fill in, i found this meal planning master plan from DaNelle at Weed ’em and Reap extremely helpful. i can fill in the master plan with whatever spontaneous recipes seem nice to me that week. no rolling plans that never change, but no nights where i don’t know what is happening and spend too much money. honestly, it has been a breath of fresh air for my spontaneous heart. new meat each week new ideas that i can write in as the idea hits me or cross off if the kids don’t like it.

do you guys meal plan? i would love you to share your resources in the comments. let me know how you get on!





  1. I meal planned when my children were living at home. Before the Web or planning sheets, this is how I did it. It worked and you can still be spontaneous and involve your kids if you like as they get older. I used a small recipe box and 3×5 cards (different color cards makes it fun). I had breakfast, lunch, dinner, special (for birthdays, anniversary, Christmas, etc…) dividers. At the back of the box I had Sunday-Monday dividers. As I cooked meals that worked were budget friendly and my family enjoyed, I wrote the entire menu on a 3×5 card. I would file it under the appropriate file, breakfast, lunch, dinner or special. Or to get started you can simply come up with seven menus that work for each category, then add to the category. On Monday, I chose a card from breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner. Sometimes the kids chose the meals for a day. If one day you get ready to prepare dinner and there was no fresh lettuce or fish at the market, you just switch to another dinner.

    You can make it seasonal and you can pick your cards and plan, then make your shopping list.

    I like the flexibility. As the kids got older, before they left for school they would look in that day’s file and see what’s for dinner. One of my sons loves home cooked meals. He told me it made him feel loved to know I had already planned his dinner well in advance. Hope you are doing well, Just food of thought. 🙂 By the way, I doubt you remember me but I work at GCC.

    • Wow Cindy! Thanks so much for that idea! I really love it (and I totally remember you!). I am the girl who still likes having a paper calendar and proper notebook for lists so this may suit me really well! And I love it that its visual for the kids. Thanks!

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