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Free Weekly Meal Planner: Organize your Week!

Free Weekly Meal Planner Template

The number one thing that has made a difference in planning our week is planning our dinners. Weekly meal planning has helped me stay on budget and takes the guesswork out of the dreaded nightly question, “What’s for dinner?” Download my free printable weekly meal planner to help organize and plan your weekly meals. 

FREE Weekly Meal Planner

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    Why I love my free weekly meal planner

    I used a magnetic whiteboard meal planner for years, and it served its purpose well. However, my only complaint was that the board listed specific days of the week, starting with Sunday or Monday. Occasionally, our schedules got hectic, and there were times when we could plan on Fridays or Saturdays. To provide more flexibility in my printable planner, I chose to omit the days of the week, allowing for easier planning regardless of the day.

    My weekly meal plan from The Organized Military Life

    Another thing I love about my planner is that I leave plenty of space. As you can see, I can put this one up on the fridge and the whole family can see what the menu is for the week!

    Lastly, I love that my planner is reusable. I stick it in a plastic sheet, and voila! I can use it week after week. Use dry-erase markers like these to ensure the writing doesn’t rub off too easily. Download it once, and re-use it every week! Love it.

    A life-changing hack!

    Creating creative ideas for our meals from week to week can get tedious. I’ve been getting some fresh ideas from Chat GPT and Google Bard lately. Here’s what this week looked like:

    Ask AI to make your next meal plan!

    And the best part? They will even provide a complete grocery list!! How cool is that?

    Now, if you are looking for an even more robust weekly meal planning system, I would highly recommend Allison Hollinger’s Plan to Nourish membership. Allison is a fellow military spouse, and I had so many “aha!” moments during her free 5-day workshop. If you are not following her, go now and follow! She’s got so many great tips and great recipes.

    Last-minute tips:

    While meal planning, here are a few tips that have helped me:

    1. Fridge Check Before Shopping: Prioritize checking and clearing out expired items in your fridge before grocery shopping.
    2. Pantry Shopping Tip: Take a cue from Allison Hollinger and explore your pantry for meal ideas, ensuring it stays organized.
    3. Meal Planning for Activities: Consider your weekly schedule when planning meals. Opt for convenient options on busy nights and plan bigger meals when time allows.
    4. Ingredient Reuse: Save time by incorporating shared ingredients across multiple meals, like the versatile Burger Bowl recipe from “It’s Better with Butter.”
    5. Calendar Meal Integration: Integrate meal plans into your digital calendar for better organization and family awareness. It is a daily reminder and a helpful reference for future meal ideas.

    Grab your weekly meal planner now and get a bonus Free Shopping List template!

    FREE Weekly Meal Planner

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      This weekly meal planner is included in my FREE Sunday Planning packet. Check out my article here if you want to read about my Sunday Planning process.

      Love this FREE weekly meal planner? Check out my other free printables here.

      Are you looking to detox digitally? Check out this article: Digital Detox: 5 things to do TODAY

      Happy Organizing, y’all!

      18 Responses

        1. Thank you so much Janet! I do not like my pantry to be stuffed or overfilled because I usually won’t remember what’s in there. So checking my pantry first and using that is really helpful. Even still, I can usually come up with at least 2 meals from my fridge and pantry without having to buy anything new. This lets me know we have plenty! No need to overstock in my view. Thank you so much for reading!

        1. It’s great! I don’t always use exactly what it spits back out, but you can modify, tell it what ingredients you have on hand, give it exact prompts like, “I want 2 crockpot meals and 2 meals that I can make ahead of time” and it’s pretty darn smart!! Hope that hack helps you out! Thank you 🙂

          1. I tried it, and it’s amazing! It gave me a soup recipe that required blending, so I said I don’t have a blender, and it gave me a modified chunky version! This will be a good tool for learning how to adapt recipes – because I spend far too much time looking for the “perfect” one (which often ends up being similar to one I already have).

            1. Fantastic! I used it this week too to generate ideas and then I went to a few bloggers who I love and looked up similar recipes. It really is useful it you need new ideas and are sick of the same old things. 😜

      1. I love that your meal planner is reusable, Jana. I also appreciate the concept of planning your meals around activities. When my boys were young we were always running here and there to different activities during the week. Sometimes it was a challenge to come up with a nutritious, hearty meal at the last minute so I always planned around the after school activities. The best recipes were for meals that could be turned into different recipes with a little of this and that. Of course, back then I didn’t have digital calendars or AI to help with any of this. How times have changed!

        1. Yes, thinking ahead of activities has really helped. I’m not going to do a labor intensive meal on nights that I’m running everyone everywhere. It only serves to stress me out. I learned this the hard way! And I think one thing that has really helped is we try to cook a BIG meal on Sundays so that we have a lot of leftovers. I eat them for lunches during the day, but then if there is a night where there’s no time to cook, we’re all happy to just heat up the leftovers and move on. Thank you so much for reading!

      2. Great resource. Some people really struggle with this whole aspect of life. Sometimes the challenge is the idea of planning and preparing to gather necessary ingredients, and other times it is the shortness of time that many face. In households with two working parents, this can be especially challenging. Yet, the less time you have, the more important the planning, right?

        1. Exactly! If there is a week that we don’t plan, our whole system is out of whack. Meal planning has become an integral part of our family’s functioning. And it does take time, thought, and collaboration, but once you get in the habit (like anything) you get better and better at it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!

      3. Wonderful planner! I love that you made it so generic that you can easily reprint it every week. I added a self-stick chalkboard roll inside my pantry door used my Cricut maker, and added days of the week to it. So, each week (no dates), I write the menus on there so I remember. It works pretty well.

        1. Yes, the no dates thing is KEY. My brain has to start from the top and go to the bottom with planning and I find more often than not that I plan and shop on Saturdays or Fridays. I love your chalkboard roll idea too. I bet that is so cute! Thank you so much for reading!

      4. What a fantastic idea to use AI to help with meal planning. It’s incredible how helpful those resources can be, especially for meal planning. Who knew?

        I bet your family loves knowing in advance what you’re having for dinner each night. It takes the guesswork out, and they can anticipate eating their favorites.

        1. Yes, the AI thing has really helped. I used to dread making the meal plan, but now it gives me enough of an idea to go by. You can also tell it what ingredients you have and it can come up with meal ideas from that… amazing. I think having the plan written out helps for many reasons. 1) Everyone sees and they don’t ask me anymore…they are trained 🤪. Also, if I have an appointment or am running late my husband will gladly step in and start making dinner (he’s actually a much better chef than I am!).

      5. These are great meal planning ideas, and you’ve created a wonderful *sustainable* resource for readers to use. Also, what a nifty way to let the AIs guide what you’re making. More importantly, how were the tamales? 🙂

        I have to admit, I don’t really cook so much as I buy a lot of things and then graze. The closest I get to cooking is boiling pasta. So I’m always fascinated by the idea of meal planning, because I’ve never been able to fathom how you know you’re going to want to eat *that* particular thing hours, let alone days, ahead of time. Anytime I’ve ever said, “I’m going to make X on Thursday,” by the time Thursday comes, that’s not what I want to eat, so I’m left with either cooking and eating something I don’t feel like, or (more often) ditching the plan altogether. (I should really use this to help myself understand my clients who create schedules and then don’t “feel” like doing those things when the work comes around. But I don’t think of food like labor. I can’t fathom eating something that isn’t EXACTLY what I want. Picky eater? Why yes, I am!”

        1. Uh, the tamales were amazing! But- I did not cook them so maybe that’s why! It’s a little brand from Texas that we just happened to find here in the NEX. But, everyone ate them up! I honestly do not enjoy cooking, and I think that’s why having a meal plan is essential for me. I’m not creative in the kitchen and I can’t just whip things up out of mid-air. Having a plan ahead of time so I know I have all the ingredients has really helped. I don’t get as overwhelmed… I can just follow the directions. 😄 If it were just me, I’d be the same as you. I would not want to eat what’s on the plan. I’d just graze on whatever. But, that doesn’t work as well with the fam. We’ll try that, but then they just never stop eating ALL THE THINGS. Thank you for reading!

      6. Love this helpful tool for meal planning! I love writing things on paper as it keeps me much more organized and I tend to stick to the plan for the week! Thank you!

        1. Me too! I now use both: paper and digital. The calendar helps me remember if I have to take out anything to thaw and the paper helps me remember what the heck the plan was on any given day! Glad you find it helpful!

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      Jana Arevalo

      Hello! I'm Jana

      Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!


      I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with some AMAZING military spouse businesses. When you make a purchase using my links you are supporting my small business and I am so grateful! Thank you!

       



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