How to Use a Bullet Journal for Meal Planning
This post may contain affiliate links. I only link to products I have used myself. I do not receive compensation from any company for reviewing products. If you decide to make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you extra and helps me pay the bills.
I’m gonna say it right now, I hate dinner. That’s right, the meal around which we are supposed to bond as a family is one of my least favorite times of the day. I even wrote a blog post about it that got published on KSL.com. Part of the chaos and frustration comes from overtired parents and over hungry kids. Many a night have I stood staring at my pantry only to move and stare in my freezer in the hopes that dinner will jump out and bite me. Not really, but you know what I mean.
What is it about dinner that makes it so hard to think of something to make?
But, I do have a solution to the dinner dilemma. I found it while living in a camp trailer with my family of six for three months. We didn’t have enough pantry room for more than a week’s worth of food so I had to carefully plan each meal and only buy a week’s worth of food. While I’m not as good about meal planning now as I was then, I’m telling you, meal planning is where it’s at when it comes to taking the stress out of dinner.
And, guess what? I use my bullet journal for meal planning. If you’re ready to put in a meal planning page or add meal planning to your weekly spread, we’re going in.
Meal Planning in a Bullet Journal
I started using my bullet journal for meal planning from the very beginning as you can see here. Not beautiful, but certainly functional. At first, I kept a separate section for meal plans, but I’ve learned it works much better when I have the meal plan with my weekly spread.
Planning meals in my Tul bullet journal was the absolute best. I inserted the small list into my weekly spread so meal planning didn’t take extra space. On one side, I wrote down the meals I wanted to make. On the other, I made my grocery list for the week. I miss my Tul for this reason and this reason only. In this picture, I hadn’t written down any meals yet, but it was seriously the best way to meal plan.
Each new bullet journal or weekly spread may require a bit of tweaking to figure out how meal planning works best. When I started my Leuchtterm1917, I had to come up with a different weekly spread design.
It’s not perfect, but it certainly does the job. I also simplified how I planned. Rather than assigning a meal to a certain day, I make a list of meals I’d like to make for the week. Then, I use the list to give me ideas throughout the week. It gives me more flexibility and accounts for nights that we end up eating leftovers.
Basic Meal Planning
There are some terrific meal planning strategies online, and I applaud those who can plan meals out for a month at a time. If you’re not sure how to start meal planning, here’s how I keep it simple and get it done:
- Know Your Schedule: Check your weekly schedule, looking for nights you won’t have much time for dinner. Try to find crockpot meals for those nights or plan meals you know will have enough leftovers for those crazy evenings.
- Check Your Cupboards: Take a quick look in your cupboards before you start planning for the week so you know what you’ve got to work with.
- Pick a Few Family Favorites: Pick one or two meals you know everybody loves like spaghetti or pancakes. On weeks that are really busy, I may make all the meals from the favorites list. (Check the pic of my Favorite Meals Page. It gives me quick ideas.)
- Add in Some New Recipes: If you’re like me, and you can’t look at another bowl of macaroni and cheese, you’re gonna want to add one or two new recipes each week. Sometimes they’ll be a complete flop and other times you’ll have found a new favorite.
- Leftovers and Piggyback: Put in a left-over night to clean out the fridge. Then take a look at what you’ve got left. Is there a meal that will have leftover meat you can use to make another meal? Like leftover chicken breast that could be used for chicken noodle soup or chicken salad? Piggyback the leftovers from one meal to make another later in the week.
That’s my simple system for coming up with meals for the week. Sometimes I assign each meal a specific night, and others I keep a list of the meals I want to make for the week. Right now, I’m lucky if I write down three or four meals for the week, but even that helps.
Tips and Tricks to Meal Planning
- Keep a Favorite Meals Page in your bullet journal for quick reference.
- When you find new recipes, write down the name of the website or cookbook. I don’t print them until I know if they’re a hit with the family.
- After making my meal plan for the week, I add any ingredients I don’t have to my weekly grocery list. I use the Wunderlist App on my phone, which also allows me to share lists with my husband.
If you haven’t used your bullet journal for meal planning, give it a try. If you’ve done it in the past and fallen off the bandwagon, it’s time to get back on. For serious, dinner time goes so much better when you’re not frantically trying to decide on what to make for dinner.