Struggling to plan meals from night to night? Not sure what’s in the pantry to cook with? I’ve got the perfect solution to help you keep track of what’s in the pantry and freezer AND plan ahead for the next weeks meals. Knowing ahead of time whats for dinner will keep your money in your wallet and reduces unnecessary spending on takeout.
It’s a common problem for most households. The inevitable “what’s for dinner“. Hearing that question can send chills down your spine when you know it will take at least 40 minutes for something to thaw or needing to make a trip to get a missing ingredient.
My Printable Inventory Meal Planner is simple to use and includes options to plan breakfast, lunch and dinner! How nice would it be to have a simple list made up before you hit the grocery store knowing what you have and what you will need? Nice, right? It’s all right here. All in my free printable inventory meal planner.
Lets take a tour of my brand new 2017 Inventory Meal Planner…. (download links to get your own copy will be at the bottom of this post!).
This is one of the many printable tools I have put together out of my own stress of not knowing whats for dinner. From a printable meal planner to a whiteboard with magnets and a dry erase marker stuck on the outside of our deep freezer, organization is key to reducing unnecessary planning when it comes to meal planning.
Here are the instructions on how to use my printables to take a pantry inventory and plan meals for a week:
Meal planning days around here are usually on either a Friday or Saturday night. These are my days off work and are usually times where my husband is home or gets off early so I can escape to the store kid free for a few minutes.
Step #1: Start by surveying the fridge, freezer and pantry for what’s on hand.
I will be posting my Staple Items printable to go along with this one that lets you keep track of items you commonly use. My common item is green beans. Fresh, frozen or canned. We love green beans and I try to keep some on hand at all times. Use the Inventory Meal Planner to make a list of what you have. If you are a couponer and have several of an item in your pantry, look for items that have an expiration date coming up. Move those items to the front so they don’t get looked over past their expiration.
TIP: Print an Inventory Meal Planner and a Staple Items list. Put one on each side of a page protector and use w dry erase marker to make your weekly lists. Simply wipe the clear page protector clean and start over again. This tip saves from having to reprint pages. Save your paper and ink!
Step: #2: Plan your “what to buy” categories.
This is where you can get creative.Use the “what to buy” column to jot down things like meat, freshseasonal vegetables, dairy and breads. I plan my meals based on what meat is on sale for the upcoming week. We’re not the family that goes for meatless meals, unfortunately.
Step #3: Combine the “what’s on hand” with the “what to buy” lists and plan your meals at the bottom of the sheet.
The goal here is to plan an “idea” of what you are making. Note I did not leave enough room to write down a meat, vegetable, side item… ect. That’s now how I plan my meals because it is not practical for my family. The main goal is to get anything on this list that is going to need time to prep. For example, Spaghetti Saturday would have “spaghetti – hamburger” written down so I don’t forget to take the hamburger out in the morning to thaw.
Grab Your Copy of my Inventory Meal Planner and Staple Items Inventory Planner below: