How To Use A Free Meal Planner To Save You Time

Meal Planning As A Busy Mom

As a busy mom, I understand your struggle and worry to keep your family healthy. As a matter of fact, we moms carry never-ending to-do lists. With this free meal planner, I am going to knock off your biggest worry on earth about “what to cook today?”, for the whole entire year.

The Best Solution For Busy Moms To Be Worry-Free

I love to share my personal experiences with my lovely readers. Before I tell you more about this free meal planner, I would like to share a story as to why I like this. I would only consider someone of authority if one has experience in what they are talking about. You know you can be sympathetic easily, but to be emphatic, you had to go through the same process the other person is experiencing, right?

Hey What’s For Dinner, I Am Starving

Growing up, I saw my mother never had an issue with “Hey, what’s for dinner, I’m starving!?” (Remember Ralphie’s dad from “A Christmas Story”?) We always got to eat a variety of food every day. In fact, I am very fortunate as my mother lives with me to help me with my kiddos. So for that being said, she is the one who still cooks…. yummm all the time yummy food!

She gets tons of requests for her food from our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the kid’s school teachers. She does it all very quickly, and you know why? Because she follows the system and that is the system I have learned and created for you with this free meal planner.

How To Improve Everyday Life With This Free Meal Planner

In childhood, I saw a handwritten, with colorful pencils, schedule on our kitchen. I saw that my mom every night looked at it and put some ingredients together. I had no idea that it was called a meal planner, and she created her own version for free.

free meal planner
You can print it or use it as it is in your computer

She would always make her grocery list based off of the planner and would know exactly what she is running low on.

Indeed, I saw it was an easy thing for her to save her time and make sure her family is always eating healthy. My mother is a big fan of fresh food and farmers’ markets.

I have learned so many good things from my mother. As my husband always says, “You are a great wife who has changed my entire life for the betterment” and credit from your husband in your married life is the best to consider, as you share your life with that man.

Well, the reason I had to throw this little story out is so you can really understand the importance of this free meal planner, as it’s not just 53 pages of papers. However, it can make a big difference in your everyday life.

The big chunk of your time goes to meal planning as it’s hard to survive without eating. You also don’t want to eat the same thing every day, for two reasons.

  • 1- it’s not healthy
  • 2- you get tired of the same food again and again.

If you get yourself organized, you can save tons of time with a free meal planner and money as well. You might be thinking, “how the heck I am going to save money with this”?

Saving Money With It

Well, my friend, by writing down your meals in the meal planner, it would give you a clear idea of what are you going to buy for your groceries and how much you already have on hand. It will make you buy fewer things and will create less waste, which is better for the environment as well.

The second most important thing is when you work in reverse order you get confused about everything. Yes, I am going to tell you, what reverse order is.

The reverse order is when you go and grocery shop first, buy all your ingredients, all the meat, vegetables, and so many things but have no clue what are you going to make with them. You end up wasting a lot without using all of it. Meal planning should not be the end point. Instead, you should plan your grocery trip around it. Hence, this free meal planner will make your life easy.

How To Use This 52-Week Free Meal Planner

The use of it is very simple. I have not included weekends by purpose, and I will explain it to you why that is.

Most people like to go out to eat or sometimes visit/invite family or friends. It’s nice to be flexible for your weekends as if there is any change happening, then you don’t affect your whole weekly meal schedule. I have learned this from my personal experience.

My husband likes to go out on the weekends with the family and sometimes we like to eat out, so having a bit of flexibility is really good to keep your schedule straight.

I have divided each page with five columns and three rows. It covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Monday through Friday. The work/school whole weekdays are there for you. You should follow these tips to fill it in.

free meal planner

Pick Your Healthy Recipes:

Related: 22 Best Recipes

Put all your favorite, but healthy, recipes together for 20 days (4 weeks). It will give you a variety of food to enjoy. You can also pick recipes to try on the weekend.

For the weekend, you can slack a bit and they don’t have to always be healthy recipes. They could be your favorite family recipes and that’s good enough. You can always try new recipes on the weekends as you would have more time to spend on cooking.

The best tip I can give you, which my mother and I both use and it can save you money and time for sure, is to pick your recipes around the common ingredient and you will see the magic. Our food tastes totally different every, day but we use pretty much the same ingredients for all the food we cook.

Bushra’s Lifestyle is a  participant in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Here is The 2″ File Folder I use to organize my recipes and meal planner

Also available, in multiple colors.

Tab insertable dividers

Leftovers For The Weekend:

Make sure you eat at least one-day leftover meals. It doesn’t matter what day you pick on the weekend. If you decide to eat out on Sunday or have family over, then have your leftovers on Saturday. Hence, I didn’t have the weekend included in this free meal planner so you don’t feel restricted.

Shop Around Your Ingredients:

Since you have picked your recipes and ingredients, now is the time to go shopping. Always shop on Wednesdays as that’s the day grocery stores start their weekly discounts and coupon programs. Most stores honor the previous week’s coupons/discounts on this day as well.

The Best Time To Shop

The best time to shop is between 4 to 6 pm. We normally shop after work and get it done before 8 pm. We don’t want to waste our weekends in grocery shopping and dealing with crowds and waiting in the cashier lines. That’s not our idea of fun.

If you have a large family with kids, then shop twice a month only. It will save you at least $50 to $100. But, if you eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables then shop every week.

Create Your grocery list in Google Keep. It’s one of the best things to do.

If you plan to put this meal planner in a binder, take the pictures of the two week meal planning and take it with you so you don’t buy extra food to waste. Always check your fridge and pantry to cross off the things you already have on hand.

Prep Your Meal:

So, now you have got your recipes, your ingredients, and you already have shopped for everything. High five for all that. You are a rock star! You should spare a couple of hours every week to prepare your meal.

We prefer to do that on Sunday and it works perfectly using this meal planner as this one starts on Mondays.

Here is what you should do:

  • Do all your chopping work
  • Dice up your garlic and ginger
  • Wash all the veggies
  • Complete anything that needs to be cooked.
  • Pack your snacks for all five working days

Involve your kids in meal planning as well, and get their help. They will enjoy the process and consider themselves helpful. Our kids help us bring the groceries in the house and pick the recipes.

The above mentioned tips seem very common and obvious, but normally we miss them and don’t pay attention to these things.

Related: More tips on grocery savings

Who Can Get The Best Use Of This Free Meal Planner?

I have not created this meal planner only for the busy moms to keep their family healthy. Although, as a busy mom, other moms come to mind first. On the other hand, a lot of other people can take advantage of this free meal planner to use it for so many other plans. For example, you can use it for:

  • The keto diet
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

I hope, the planner and tips would be help to reduce your meal prepping time’s stress.


free meal planner

9 thoughts on “How To Use A Free Meal Planner To Save You Time”

  1. This looks like a wonderful planner! I signed up for it. I make a meal planner every week and make my grocery list at the same time. We usually try to eat out only once or twice a week to save money. I try to go grocery shopping as early as possible on Saturday mornings before it gets crowded. This is also when I find the best deals for discounted meat. 🙂 Great post!!

  2. Wonderful post and at the right time. I have gone back to work full time so the main stressor is meal. It’s hard to cook and what to cook thinking is harder. I have downloaded a copy thanks for sharing

  3. These are great tips to incorporate into my weekly meal planning, Bushra. Thanks. I love your tip about grocery shopping on Wednesday-I never knew that but come to think of it, that makes total sense.

    I wish I lived near you so I can taste your mom’s cooking. She sounds amazing!

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