Meal Planning Made Easy [Free Printable]

Taking the stress out of meal planning with these free printables

Well folks, the struggle is real, since our toddler now demands real food, our days of grabbing a frozen meal or ordering take-out / going out have dwindled down. Too much salt for the little one. And let’s be honest, going out with a toddler can be a tiny bit stressful.

Gone are the days that I’d go meet a friend out for sushi, then have a date at whatever restaurant, and then maybe eat something at happy hour at a bar. All that was left to do was fill the other nights with something edible, be it cereal or some delicious meal, for which I had all the time in the world to cook and eat. Now there’d better be food on the table at 6pm or Leo turns into an ankle biter. He’s in a phase right now where most things are just disgusting to him and he winds up eating a slice of toast but we continue to offer everything we eat. Then, every few days he’ll surprise me and mow down whatever we’re eating. It’s super random.

Meal Planning for Our Family

So I’ve been doing the grown-up thing and been making an effort to plan out what we’re going to eat each week. I can only handle so many days with a sudden panic attack at 5:30pm, no clue what to cook and no ingredients on hand. Mom-ing is tough enough as is.

My trusted planner has a section for weekly meal planning, which takes away that panicky moment (so long as I actually went grocery shopping!) but that still leaves the question, what the heck should we eat this week?! I consider myself a foodie so eating the same 10 or so rotating meals is really unsatisfying for me.

Meal planning is a breathe with Sannipanni's Planner and the cute printable from this blog post.

Alas, I’ve come up with this little system that seems to work well for us. I pick meals based on these categories: salad, pasta, something made on the grill, seafood, breakfast for dinner, something made in the crock-pot, and global cuisine. Since I don’t feel like cooking every day (because it’s ridiculously hard to do that when your toddler wants to hug your legs and I’m lazy by nature), my meal plan for the week always includes leftovers. You bet. I also shuffle the meals around as the week goes by or say, screw it, and we go out or pick something up. But the list helps. Tremendously!

Shutterfly had a promo for free magnets and that motivated me to turn this informal list of meal categories into a magnet for my fridge. I designed these graphics (yay, your choice of color!) and thought I’d share in case someone else struggles with meal ideas, too. They truly are pretty good inspiration for me when it comes to picking meals for the week.

A dish will often immediately come to my mind when I think about grilling or Asian or Tex-Mex food (“global cuisine”). If I still struggle, I grab my magazine recipe collection or search on Pinterest. Checking what’s on sale that week helps, too.

So here they are, my little meal planning helpers! Download (right click and “Save Image” or hold down long on your iphone and save to your camera roll) and print or turn them into a magnet. Happy cooking and I hope they’ll keep your family from going hangry!

Easy meal planning: Every day pick one of the categories to spark your meal inspiration!

Easy meal planning: Every day pick one of the categories to spark your meal inspiration!

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Free Printable 2017 Planner

planner-post-graphics

You guys, I’m checking off a big item from my bucket list: designing my own calendar / planner / journal / agenda! And because it was way too much work to just sit on my desk I’m sharing it with all of you. Huzzah! Earlier this year I splurged on an Erin Condren planner, which I really liked, but there were just a few things that I wished it would have had to make it perfect for me. For instance, I didn’t want to have to add stickers every week to keep track of the same items. So I looked at plenty of planners online and none wowed me. I didn’t like the binding of the Happy Planner and was worried that I’d never keep up with a bullet journal and neither did I like not having all of the year readily available. Well, since my middle name is Frugal and I do marketing and design for a living I figured I would create my own. And so I did. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do and get good use out of it!

New Year’s Resolutions Tracker

Making resolutions is easy but writing them down makes committing and keeping them so much easier. I love striving for continuous personal improvement and so I’ve created six categories that you can choose to focus on next year: personal, physical, spiritual, financial, professional, and domestic goals. There’s plenty of space to draw your own trackers, doodle some inspirational images or whatever your heart desires.

Free year planner with new year's resolution tracker

2017 Lists

I love looking back at old planners and using them as sort of a hybrid planner and journal so it’ll be neat to jot down trips we’ll have gone on, books I’ve read, etc. Again, extra space to add what’s important to you, be it races you’ve run, baseball stadiums you’ve visited, Pokemon collected… Hey, whatever floats your boat.

Meal Planning

Something that’s really helped me avoid eating junk food this year is meal planning. I’m not a strict planner (hard to believe seeing I just created my own planner, I know….) but knowing what we’re planning on cooking or eating out does help. I usually shuffle meals around throughout the week depending on changing plans, baby’s nap times, eating all of the leftovers or just because I simply don’t feel like cooking that night. In any case, this planner has space for not only a weekly meal plan but also for a meal master list that’s split into categories like desert, veggies, crock pot, grilled, yada yada. I’m planning on using it to write down healthy go to meals as I make them to create a master meal list. Hopefully it’s going to make meal planning even easier with it as a reference list. I’m guessing this list will come in even handier if you are following a special diet.

Free printable annual planner with meal and cleaning planing

Home Disaster Avoidance Plan

Heck yeah! Something I want to be better about next year is keeping our home sparkling clean. I like calling it avoiding our home becoming a complete disaster, alas, the Home Disaster Avoidance Plan was born. It starts with a list of Beast Projects. Suckers that I’m dreading to tackle but are necessary. Like filing taxes. Bleh. For me, I’m also going to add organizing the freezer and sprucing up our front yard. Any larger home projects like repainting a room, building a deck, etc. would be perfect in the Beast Project category if you ask me.

Then, I added a list of areas in your home that you can pick from to tackle each month. There’s a spot in the monthly calendar view to jot it down so you have it in front of you all month long to declutter and deep-clean in one of those focus zones. Next we’ve got a handy check-list of handy items to have on hand and space for whatever else fits your lifestyle. I think we’ll use it to write down maintenance tasks like chimney sweeps, air filter and other oh so exciting things that come with home ownership.

Lastly, that page has a cleaning matrix that you can use to personalize your ideal cleaning routine if you so choose to. I’m hoping it’ll help us to add these cleaning tasks to the weekly to do lists instead of just thinking about them. Nothing like checking off a completed task! That’s about it for annual plans although I may design some additional themed pages later. Oh the beauty of making my own planner and making it look however the heck I want it to. 😀

Monthly Planner

The monthly calendar is pretty straight forward. It’s got days and numbers!! Yay? There is a page for plans and goals and plenty of space for notes though. Personally, I’d like to do something touristy every month, be it in our home town or further away. I’m also hoping to learn something new throughout the year so I’m making it a point to plan on doing that every month. You know how easy good intentions fly out the window, alas, I’m going to write stuff down next year.

Monthly view in the free printable Sannipanni planner

Weekly Planner

Squeal! I’m pretty stoked about the weekly spreads. The first page is again for goal keeping to help you be the best version of yourself. There’s a hydration and fruit and veggie tracker and then there is space to track exercise and crafting, playing or just being creative. I also left space to track additional daily habits you’d like to nurture, be it not eating candy, making your bed, taking your vitamin, writing in a journal, having a glass of red wine, walking the dog, …. Make it yours!

The planner’s got that meal planning list, a shopping list (just snap a photo before you head out), space for notes and doodles and a few journaling prompts. Boom!

Weekly view in the free Sannipanni annual planner

The actual planner portion of it is partitioned into three sections. I use the top portion as a space for that day’s happenings, birthdays, etc. To Do is a personal to do list and Boss Life is space to keep my consulting work schedule and to do list. If you don’t want to add professional or school stuff or for example Etsy shop happenings there, how about using it for your kids’ or pets’ schedules? After all you’re the boss! On that note, being boss can just mean kicking butt so use it for whatever area you want to kick butt in!

Download The Free 2017 Planner

Download the 2017 monthly, weekly planner here: 2017-sannipanni-printable-planner. You’ll want to right click on the link and save the file on your computer’s harddrive. Open it in Adobe Reader instead of your browser for better printing. Also choose printing on both sides to create nice spreads.

Multiple Formats

While I designed the planner in 8.5 x 11in US letter format, I’m actually printing it at half of that size on 8.5×5.5in paper. To do that or if you’re elsewhere in the world, simply use the “Shrink oversized pages” option to scale it down to A4 or A5.

Useful Supplies

Finding the right supplies to print the planner took a little bit so I’m going to share my findings with you in case you don’t want to shell out a ton of money to have the planner printed and bound at your local copy shop. The planner still looks neat in black and white so that may be a reasonably priced option if you don’t want to print it at home.

Please note, the duplication of this file or any of its parts is strictly prohibited. My planner is free for personal use only. If you’d like to share it, link to this post and not the actual file to make sure you always have access to the latest version of it. Thanks and I hope you’ll love this planner! Can’t wait to hear some of your feedback and suggestions for my 2018 planner! Show me your planner with hashtag #SannipanniPlanner

Amazing free printable planner! #bujo #lifeplanner #planner #filofax #calendar #journal

 

 

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