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Meal Planner Template: Free Printable Download

Meal planning can be easy with this free downloadable meal planner template. You’ll have your grocery list ready and be well prepared for the week ahead.

Hello! This is Linda from tortagialla and I love designing printables that help make our lives better. Today I’m sharing a clean and simple weekly meal planner printable that will help you plan your meals and have your grocery list ready in hand. Finally, meal preparation can be simple, easy and fast!

Meal planner template on ipad, flatlay image with pink macaroons, stapler, clips and pen.

The Importance of Meal Planning

When summertime rolls around, my kids are home more often and it means that meal planning is more important than ever. I need to make sure there are healthy meals ready for their consumption three times a day, as well as snacks and sometimes even unexpected visitors!

When you have to feed more mouths, more often, you really have to be on top of your meal planning game. Let’s avoid the frustration of boring meals, missing ingredients and hangry tantrums! Not to mention the “I’m so busy, let’s just order take-out” trap!

How the Meal Planning Template Works

I’ve created a meal planner template that runs from Monday to Sunday with boxes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. There’s also a grocery list on the right-hand side, so you can list the items required for the week, not already in your pantry. Keep your meal planning organized and do your shopping all at once with this free printable meal planner.

Preview of weekly meal planner on desk with pen, clip, lipstick, phone and purse items, flatlay view.

Download this meal planner template for free:

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Weekly meal planner on ipad on the kitchen counter.

What you need:

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Using this meal planner template

There are quite a few ways you can use this meal planner. You can plan all of your family’s meals and save a lot of money. Here are some tips for getting the most out of it.

1. collect recipes and create more meal options for variety

Of course, we all have go-to recipes that we cook multiple times a month. Family favorites are great to fall back upon, especially when your schedule gets busy. However, it’s also important to introduce new recipes to keep meals interesting and fresh.

And with my kids, I’m always trying to introduce new recipes, so they have more experience with a variety of foods. The secret is to keep a balance between all-time favorites and something new. Maybe just one new recipe a week or every couple of days depending on what works best for your family.

It’s also easier to meal plan when you have all your recipes in one place to choose from. So it’s really just a matter of filling in the boxes each week. I keep a list of family favorite recipes as well as a file folder of a magazine or new recipe print-outs. I use these as my resources for filling out my weekly meal planner, keeping a balance of classic and new recipes.

2. plan for Emergency meals

Of course, for my fellow non-chef friends, I’ve definitely tried a new recipe and failed massively. Maybe I’ve literally burned the whole darn meal or the kids just refuse to touch it. I think it’s completely normal for kids to reject something they feel uncomfortable with. Sometimes, I’ve had to introduce the same food multiple times before they would try it. Or maybe my kids are just picky!

But the reality is that sometimes there’s a kitchen fail and I need an emergency meal. Of course, there’s always take-out and pizza, but I think it’s actually a good idea to have emergency freezer meals or something you can whip up with your eyes closed, always available.

This is great not only for recipe fails but also for when extra or unplanned guests show up. This is something that seems to happen way more during the summer months for my family, so better be prepared!

3. Stock up on meal planning basics

Of course, we all have budgets and might not even have space to stock up on all our groceries. But for anything that is not perishable, I think it’s a great idea to stock up your pantry so you aren’t always running to the grocery store.

Having a stocked pantry also enables you to handle emergency meals and unplanned guests a lot easier. Even though I love to have our meals planned out in advance, sometimes life takes a turn and you have to be flexible.

So make sure you are prepared for such unexpected events when it comes to meal planning. The grocery list on the right-hand side of the meal planner template means you can list out all the ingredients required for the week.

However, you should also run through your pantry and see what items you are low on, so you can add that to your grocery list before you go shopping.

Following these easy steps really makes the whole meal preparation process easy, fast and effective – even for unexpected twists and turns of life. As you plan week to week, you’ll get a better feel for what works for your family and everyone’s specific needs and tastes.

Weekly meal planner printable shown with right-hand size grocery list cut off.

What’s Next? 

I hope you enjoy using this meal planner template. Find more free printables on my blog:

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Laptop on desk with stationery items and the printable weekly meal planner.

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