Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed when it comes to meal planning? In this post, we'll guide you through the process of setting up a meal plan binder that will help streamline your family's meals and bring some much-needed organization to your kitchen. 📆✨
How to Organize a Meal Plan Binder
Whether you have a meal planning system you love, or you're looking for a new solution, this article will help you build your own meal plan binder to take the guesswork out of figuring out what to have for dinner.
I'll show you how I set up my meal planning system with a simple three-ring binder.
To start out, here's the materials I use…
- A three-ring binder
- The Ultimate Rotating Meal Plan Workbook printables
- Tabbed plastic binder pockets
- Page protectors (clear pockets to protect your recipes)
- Any recipes you have printed or written out on recipe cards
- Labels for tabs – I use a label maker
- Label or cover for binder – I use the Meal Plan binder cover from the Binder Cover Printables Collection
How to Organize Meal Planning Materials
Once you have all of your materials together, you'll want to decide how to organize everything inside your binder.
We use a rotating meal plan system using our family's favorite recipes. For me, this is the best way to organize meal planning because it's practical and realistic. I am familiar with the foods we're planning to eat, I know how to prepare them, and I know my family will eat them!
Am I cooking gourmet meals?
I'm making my family's favorite meals, main dishes, and side dishes, so this way of making a meal plan saves me a lot of time and money. It's worth it!
Making the meal plan simple and staying organized take so much overwhelm and decision fatigue out of meal planning for me.
I have a nifty solution that helps me stay organized and prepared each week. I use tabbed plastic binder pockets to keep all my materials for each week neatly sorted.
When it comes to recipes, I've got a trick to protect them while I'm cooking. I slip them into page protectors so they stay safe from any spills or splatters.
With the tabbed binder pockets, everything is conveniently labeled and easy to find. The best part is, I can add new items to the binder without needing a hole punch! It's such a time-saver.
Here are the exact steps I took to put my meal planning binder together…
1. I start out by adding a tabbed divider pocket and labeling it “meal plan.”
2.Then I put my monthly meal plan in that folder so I can always see it when I open up my binder.
3.Next, I labeled 4 plastic divider pockets for weekly meal plans. If you have more/fewer weeks worth of meal plans, you can adjust accordingly. I label each tab – Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.
4.After I have my weekly tabs set up, I put a weekly meal plan printable in each of those pockets. When I go to each tab in my binder, I can immediately see the weekly meal plan and ingredients needed at a glance. It makes it way easier quickly “shop” my pantry and make grocery lists because everything is written out on my worksheets.
5.Finally, I take the corresponding recipes and place them behind each weekly tab in the binder. That makes the recipes easy to find, and the page protectors keep them from getting messed up if I accidentally spill on them while cooking. I have a lot of recipes I've found on Pinterest, and food blogs that I like to use, and for me it's much easier to find them in my binder vs searching for them online.
As I come up with new meal ideas, I add them to the front pocket of the binder. Once I have enough new ideas, I'll make a new weekly meal plan and add it to the rotation.
More Meal Plan Organization Tips
Now that I've been doing a rotating meal plan for a while, there are a couple of other things I've implemented that have made it easier for me.
- I post our menu plan on the fridge. Everyone likes to know what's for dinner and having a place to go check has been nice! It also reminds me what we're eating each night, so if I have a little chunk of time during the day, I can do some advanced meal prep and save myself some time later.
- I keep my menu plan binder out on the counter in the kitchen. That way I can get to it easily. I used the meal plan binder cover from the Binder Cover Collection so it looks pretty.
How is a Meal Plan Binder different from a Recipe Binder?
A meal plan binder has pre-planned menus, recipes, and grocery shopping lists.
A recipe binder is a lot like a cookbook, but it's filled with recipes you've hand-picked!
It's a lot like a recipe box, but in binder form.