Meal Planner & Recipe Binder
Here’s a mini client project completed recently which I hope inspires you.
My client, like so many, was in rawther desperate need in the dinner department. She works all day, as does her hubby, and meal planning had taken a back seat to essentially everything. Their 3-pack (toddler makes three) was eating the same things every single night, and they weren’t healthy options to begin with: greasy take-out, pizza (see: greasy take-out).
They all felt gross, and frustrated, and mostly gross and frustrated. Wouldn’t you?
We were able to nail down the real hitch in the system–the fact that there was none when it came to recipes and planning ahead.
My client is a confident cook, but lacks the time to scour the interwebs and Gourmet Magazine (JK, RIP) to find tantalizing new and healthy meals.
Because there was no plan-ahead, there was no preemptive grocery shopping, and so the ingredients on hand were as scant as the recipe collection. And on and on the cycle went.
So I went home and whipped up this meal planner/recipe binder which is so easypants you’re going to want to make your own I swear.
You get a binder, see. Any binder will do, but I chose one with clipboard action in the inside front cover.
That gave me an uber convenient place to keep the meal planner templates. I designed a custom meal planner template for my clients, which I must say was quite the looker.
The one shown here is the Post-it Planner & Perforated List Pad, which is spectacular in general, and works exceedingly well in this particular application.
Jot down the week’s menu in the seven sections on the left, while the right can be used as a shopping list. Best of all, it’s perferated (as the name suggests), and the entire thing is a giant post-it (again, as the name suggests) meaning that you can plan it out, stick it up, rip it off, and take the list with you to the store.
The rest of the binder is intended for recipes–perhaps not an entire recipe collection or a whole cookbook’s worth, but a generous grouping of recipes that my client can familiarize herself with, test out, add to her by-heart arsenal, or scrap as desired.
She can swap the recipes out as often as she likes–seasonally would be my suggestion.
I gave her dividers and standard cooking categories to sort her recipes by–salads, meats, soups, yadah yadah.
To keep recipes in order (and clean during cooking) I used a combination of sheet protectors and 3×5 pages. Short recipes that she wants to jot down on an index card work, and so do full page bonanzas.
To make it just that extra bit more convenient to access the recipe pages intended for the week ahead, I gave her these writable post-it tabs.
The binder has helped my client to sit down, think through the recipes she wants to cook for the week, and ensure she’ll have the necessary ingredients on hand to make them. The end goal, of course, being to live more healthfully, and more (do I even need to say it?) Simply.
The nightly text messages I’ve been getting listing out the entire menu and raving about how good food is and how easy it turns out to be to eat it? That’s the kind of thing that makes my brain juices skip with glee (probably Sarah’s too).
That’s that. Super easy, super Staples-y, sort of a throwback to back-to-school-season (my favorite part of which was buying office supplies anyhow), and mah-ha-jor results.
Go make your own and report back weeeee.
If you know someone who needs a meal planner in their life be a pal and send this post their way, hey?!
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