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Continuing on in my series of meal planning, I want to end on giving you some places to go in the direction of meal planning website and old fashioned printable templates for those of us who like to have things right in front of us!

Websites

Menu In A Box *Subscription Required*
This is a family friendly website that boasts:
“…healthy meal plans for your family…created by a Mom for busy families to make meal planning healthy and simple! Everything you need from meal planning tools, downloads, how to tips, kids activities, birthday and lunchbox planning, nutrition tips and plenty of inspiration!”

It features:

  • Hundreds of healthy budget friendly, family and kid favourite recipes
  • Instructions on how to create your own meal plans
  • Print recipes & generate a shopping list in minutes
  • No time then select from hundreds of already made menus
  • Learn basic cooking techniques and teach them to your family
  • Save money by learning how to make the most of fresh produce
  • Meal planning printables from meal planners
  • A kids section to inspire your kids to get in the kitchen

Canadian Living Free Online Meal Planner

Free to anyone who joins, the popular Canadian magazine, Canadian Living gives all members access to their easy to use meal planning section! It may not have all the bells and whistles as paid subscription sites but you do get:

  • Plan your meals and recipes in advance for the whole family
  • Create printable grocery lists
  • Add special notes to yourself
  • Print your individual Meal Planner to stick on the fridge

Meals Matter *Free*

“Our daily meal planner makes it easier to prepare healthy, economical meals at home by helping you organize recipes and meals for each day. You can contribute your favorite recipes to Meals Matter and then plan your meals for the week by adding them to your daily meal planner. If you don’t have a recipe to add you can also write in what you plan to eat for any given meal.”

Templates

First, for an easy template you probably already have on your computer, if you use Word (whether on a PC or a Mac) there’s a pre-made meal planning template section but for some different ones, try the following:

  • The Project Girl
  • Organized Home
  • Your Printable Planner
  • Open Office

Don’t forget to check out Google Documents for other possible templates or go crazy and make your own to really customize it!

What Should You Use?

So, after all this you may be wondering what I prefer! (No? You don’t give a damn? Too bad, I’m telling you anyway to indulge my ego) Do I use funky apps or a website or what?
Oddly enough, I’m an old fashioned paper and pen kinda lass. I tend to write my meals down using pretty pens and then slap it on the fridge so both my fiance and I know exactly what we’re eating during the week. Then I plug in all of my shopping ingredients into The Simple Grocery List app on my iPhone. I’m a very visual person so I need to have the meal plan right where I can see it at all times without pulling it up on my phone (plus I like sparkly pens and markers – it makes me feel crafty). So you definitely need to find out the most effective method for you to use. If you buy a $70 software program but don’t stick to it, what’s the point?

If you’re not certain which to use, many of the paid programs have trial offers you can use and give each one a shot for a week or so and see which one is most effective. When you find out what it is, stick with it! Give it some time and meal planning will become second nature!

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