Make a Menu Planning Board You Will Actually Use!

If you saw my Vision Board post, you may remember that one corner of it was devoted to meal planning in order to eat healthier. Every week I intend to plan out our dinners at home, but far too often it all goes to shit. I needed to figure out WHY my planning fails so I can come up with a solution!

There are 3 things that regularly trip me up…

Deciding on what to make.

I don’t know why this part feels SO difficult!! Like most families, we probably eat the same 10 or so meals the majority of the time. So why can’t I just quickly add those meals to the list and call it a day? Partly because I can be too much of an overachiever in the kitchen and I feel like I need to try new recipes all the time. Also because I just forget about the recipes we like after a couple of weeks. Whoops!

Taking too long to plan.

I really don’t like taking up precious time with Chris over the weekend doing things I can easily just do during the week on my own. (Plus, he is a bad influence at the store and convinces me to buy too many treats!) The idea is that I would meal plan and make a grocery list Monday morning and get to the grocery store no later than Tuesday afternoon. Turns out I am really bad with time management though and often it takes me several days to complete it all. What’s the point of weekly meal planning if you are already halfway through the week?

Not planning properly.

Even when I do sit down and make a list of meals and accompanying grocery list, I can STILL fuck up and it throws off my whole plan for the week. Usually, it’s because I assumed I had an ingredient I didn’t or I forgot about how long it takes to prepare and cook a recipe.

So with all that in mind I knew the first thing I needed was some kind of master list of favorite recipes. Now, I’m not someone who usually follows recipes after the first go (and sometimes not even then!). I hate sifting through a bunch of unnecessary instructions telling me exactly how much salt to add or to “Boil the water.” or whatever other shit I know how to do just fine on my own thanks. I already know how to cook all my usuals, I just need a few helpful reminders!

Customizable recipe cards it is! After spending way too much time browsing Pinterest and Etsy for the perfect, simple design I had nothing but frustration. I mean, who the hell decided that recipe cards all need the word “RECIPE” sprawled across the top taking up half of the fucking card!? I also don’t need to know the country of origin or “From the kitchen of…” on my own damn recipes. Anyway, I ended up just making my own template. I was able to include all the sections I needed with no wasted space or distracting designs. Perfect!

I’ll be sharing a downloadable version of my recipe card template, along with a list of the runner ups I found online in a future post. Keep an eye out for that!

Bonus tip #1: Laminate your recipe cards! If you are a bit of a tornado in the kitchen like me, then you know that anything caught in the storm is going to get ruined. Now that I have shiny new recipe cards to reference while I cook, my poor laptop can stay out of harms way too. (Special thanks to the nice man at the Apple store for not judging me after he cleaned all the gunk out of my broken keyboard.)

I also added some pretty paper I had leftover from my Vision Board on the backs for a more colorful and less cluttered display of the cards.

Now that I have a big ‘ol stack of recipes ready to go I can just flip through them to decide what’s for dinner. (Alternatively, I can make Chris do it if I just don’t give a shit that week.) Not only am I saving time by making the deciding part easier, but I also have a quick and easy way to put together a grocery list. I just grab the recipes I want and go through the kitchen to double check which ingredients I need to add to my shopping list.

Bonus Tip #2: If you laminated your cards you can use a dry erase marker on them to mark the things you need or add notes!

Now I have the recipes picked out and my grocery list made in record time! I could have certainly stopped here and been perfectly fine. Honestly, it would have been a much easier project, but I wanted something pretty to look at OK!? Don’t judge me!

When looking for recipe cards online I saw SO many different menu boards, but most of them were a bit too crazy for what I needed. Really I just wanted a way to display my recipe cards each week that was also looked nice in my kitchen.

I suppose I could have just gone to a hardware store to get a plain piece of wood to cut to the exact size I need and some hanging hardware for it, but that shit it so beyond my DIY comfort zone right now. Instead, I decided to try to find some kind of wall hanging, art, or frame I could just convert into what I wanted. Off I went to Hobby Lobby with a few measurements and an open mind. Best case scenario, they have exactly the thing I need in the color and design I want and this ends up being a breeze of a project! Worst case scenario…apparently my kitchen is a fucking farm. Oh well, there is always paint!

Once the Farmhouse was gone, and the swishy blue background was born it was much more my style! Craft stores also had everything else I needed to complete my project with not much more than a coat of black or white paint and some strong ass glue to hold it all together.

Now we have this big, bright menu board ready to hang in our kitchen where Chris and I can both see it every day! No more secret menu plans tucked away in a notepad I’ll never look at, and incomplete shopping lists I tried to make off the top of my head. Plus, not only are the dinner plans for the week easily accessible but so are the recipe cards when it comes time to get cooking!

How do you plan your meals for the week?

Are you a much more functioning adult human than I am and don’t need all this flashy stuff to feed yourself at home every night?

Share your tips in the comments. I would love to read them!

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