I don’t know about you guys, but my New Year’s resolution this year was to spend less/save more, and to eat healthier. I took to Pinterest searching for “meal prep recipes” and “budget tips” to find that I could actually save money by meal planning/prepping! Way to kill to birds with one stone right?!
My snazzy planner that I was given for Christmas was the first place I started, trying to write things directly on my weekly pages, but I lacked inspiration. Plus, pinning recipes and tips on my Pinterest boards is only taking things to the first step, and isn’t always the most efficient way to actually achieve things.
Since I am SUCH a visual person, I decided that the best way to ensure that I stuck with this meal planning thing was to design a pretty and colorful calendar set to get me excited about organizing all of my ideas. Then I realized that maybe other people out there had the same struggle that I did, and might find these calendars helpful as well!
To make them super user-friendly, these meal planning calendars are downloadable PDF’s that you can either print, and fill in by hand, OR you can fill them in using your PDF viewing software. I added a section to each weekly calendar for sales or special buys you want to take advantage of, and notes for things you will need to buy in order to make the recipes you have planned for the week.
Another thing I have been utilizing the last few months is our chest freezer! I did a full inventory and organization of our freezer recently and I realized we have a ton of proteins and sides stocked up. Adding a post-it note, or a section at the bottom of your “notes” for items to thaw out for that week’s recipes can be super helpful as well.
I recently found a new app that I am obsessed with — it’s called Pantry Check. This app allows you to scan all of the barcodes for items you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer, and keep a mobile inventory of everything you have at home. This has helped me so much when I’m out at the store, and can’t seem to remember if we have any black beans, or when our milk expires.
The trick is remembering to remove items as you use them, but they’ve made that simple by allowing you to find that item in your inventory by scanning the barcode and selecting “finish” or “spoil”. Speaking of spoiling, the app allows you to enter the expiration date for perishable items and reminds you how how many days you have left before something goes bad – how handy is that?! But what about things without barcodes? Don’t worry, you can also manually search for items like onions and potatoes that don’t typically have barcodes, and you can also add custom items to the database if they aren’t already there!
Between my handy-dandy new monthly/weekly meal planning calendars, and my Pantry Check app, I am confident that I will be able to continue on with my New Year’s resolution for many months to come! (Unlike most resolutions we all make, like going to the gym).