Meal Planning Tools

Glad you all enjoyed the recap of last night’s event – it was SUCH an amazing time and for such a great cause, too. I am looking into ways to get more involved with March of Dimes because I was so touched by the event last night – I’ll keep you posted on that!

I had no idea what I wanted for breakfast today, so I just threw a bunch of random things in a bowl and called it a meal.

A breakfast mess, if you will.


Into this bowl went:

  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt (~ 1/3 of a cup – rest of the container)
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • 1/2 cut rolled oats
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • the rest of that life changing granola

Adding the mashed banana to the mix was an awesome idea – it made it so sweet and gave the bowl an awesome texture against the crunch of the granola. The other best part was it took 2 minutes total to throw this together. Check and check.

Lunch was the last leftover piece of grilled rockfish (caught on Monday!) on a very lame sandwich.


I had sprouts and greens in my fridge but totally forgot to bring them so the sandwich couldn’t have been more plain. Luckily the fish was out of this world fresh and it was marinated in that awesome “dressing” of red chili paste, olive oil, shallots, garlic, citrus, salt and pepper.


I was looking everywhere for info on those new arnold sandwich things I spotted and bought and couldn’t find any info, so I snapped a photo of the package this morning.


They have the same nutritional stats as the original ones (1 pt on WW) but these ones have flax seeds on the outside of the roll so that is semi-exciting.

Along with the sandwich and sliced bell pepper, I had a kale salad with more of that dressing that the fish was marinated in, plus some feta.


So, one of my goals for this week is to work on Meal Planning, something I am traditionally very bad at. I did a little online research and found a TON of great tools for meal planning, so I wanted to share a few of them with you.

There are lots of ways to do meal planning – in your head, on paper, on a chalkboard, in a word document, excel spreadsheet, etc.

I first found these cute little planners with space to plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the weeks that you can print out. You can find it here.

BJTT 059

This one is cool because its super simple, free, and has space for all three meals. I do wish there was a little room for snacks though but I guess I don’t need to plan those as much.

After I printed that out, I found an even cooler thing for meal planning in excel. Basically, this is a weekly planner that allows you to do breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also snacks. The main page of the spreadsheet has drop down menus with all your pre-loaded options for breakfast lunch and dinner. The other pages on the spreadsheet are where you can customize and add a list of your go-to meals. It is pretty intense, but I feel like once you got it set up with a lot of your meals, especially if you tend to repeat meals a lot, it can be an extremely useful tool. You can download that spreadsheet here and its called the Weekly Meal Planner.

I thought those were two pretty cool things that I honestly didn’t even know existed before yesterday. I plan to do another post a little later in the week with tips and tricks specifically for meal planning, so please share comments on this post with your experiences.

Are you a meal planner? How do you plan out your meals? Which ones do you plan? Do you find it helps you save money/trips to the grocery store? Any tips/tricks you can suggest?

8 Comments on Meal Planning Tools

  1. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    October 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm (10 years ago)

    Most of my meal planning goes on in my head. I have a general lay out of the week with some room for switching it up if I feel like it.

    Usually this works out ok… but I have been known to let a little lettuce/spinach go bad… oops.

  2. Katie
    October 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm (10 years ago)

    My meal planning takes place in google calendar. I just make a task list full of meals that I have the ingredients available for and then I set the due date for that “task” as the day I wish to eat it. Usually I just plan dinners though and plan on eating leftovers or salad and sandwiches for lunch.

    I seriously live by google calendar! I don’t know what I would do if one day it lost all of my data!

  3. Katie
    October 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm (10 years ago)

    All of my meal planning takes place in google calendar. I just make a task list of the meals I can make with the ingredients I have available, and then I set each “task’s” due date to the date that I plan on making it for dinner. I usually only plan dinners though and plan on eating leftovers, sandwiches, or salads for lunch, and almost always oats for breakfast.

    I seriously live by google calendar. Don’t know what I would do if one day it lost all of my data!

  4. Monica
    October 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh I am going to have to look up that spreadsheet! I love meal planning and currently just use an outline structure on a word document.

    I plan breakfast, lunch and dinner and use it more for grocery shopping than a rule on how to eat. I use to plan everything to help me stay on track with WW points, but I learned that I have to be more flexible because of my schedule and just buy the kind of things that allow me to easily switch things up, but stay on track.

    I meal plan and then create my grocery shopping list and I only buy what I am planning to use. It has saved me a ton and my rule is that if it isn’t on the list, I need to wait to purchase it.

  5. Melissa
    October 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm (10 years ago)

    I am definitely a meal planner. Not only does it help keep my calories in check, it also helps keep my grocery budget low. I usually take all my cookbooks/magazines/saved web recipes and see what look good for the week. I usually make one soup or stew that will last all week for lunches as well.

    I really have tried planning lunch, but that all depends on if I get called in to sub or not. And breakfast is (almost) always the same – some variation on oatmeal.

  6. couchpotatoathlete
    October 28, 2010 at 9:22 am (10 years ago)

    My meal planning takes place in a notebook — nothing too fancy. Although I like the B, L, D columns on that one you have pictured. And lately we’ve been eating the same things so it is super easy to figure out when to eat what!

    Do those sandwich thins taste better than the other ones? I just didn’t like the other ones at all — tasted too sweet and not like bread at all.

  7. Lisa
    October 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm (10 years ago)

    We aren’t really meal planners. We’re more of “whatever we’re craving” people.


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