Bold Turquoise

Aug 24 2011

Putting together your Meal Plan Binder for the year

**UPDATE!!!  The 2014 Version of The Bold Meal Planner has been released to subscribers AND the much requested Bold Meal Planning Deluxe Kit with ebook is up for sale!!  Check them out and Enjoy!**

The Bold Meal Planning Method Deluxe Kit

My dearest apologies to all of you for not having this post up as quickly as I thought I would! Our back-to-homeschool week (and weekend leading up to it) have been a little crazier than I had hoped and there just haven’t been enough hours in the day. Plus I am getting used to a new little piece of technology (which I will probably be sharing about in the near future) so that is thrown a curve ball into the whole matter as well- not a bad one, but a curve ball none the less.

I digress- back to the topic at hand- putting together that crazy, year-long meal plan binder! By now I am hoping that you have been able to accumulate all your materials, but just for a little refresher, here is what you will need:

  • A two inch binder
  • My printables for a year of meal planning (see this post)
  • Lots of sheet protectors
  • Packing tape
  • Decorative paper to jazz up your binder a bit

So here’s the low down on how to put it all together-

First you will need to place all 12 of your calendars in sheet protectors (whether they are filled out of not). This is the main reason that I like to use regular sheet protectors (and not the fit-to-page size where you actually have to whole punch the pages) because I know I will have to be taking these calendars in and out to change things if need be and so forth so just easier to be able to slide them in and out.

Second, I take my packing tape and create tabs (using the ones provided in my printable) directly on these sheet protectors. I just placed the label in the middle of a piece of the tape, stuck the front side to the sheet protector, folded it over, and voila’! Don’t they look snazzy?!

Third, I place two sheets worth of weekly shopping lists behind each calendar (four lists total).

Fourth, and this is the part that can take a little bit of work but it’s worth it, I place a copy of every recipe I will be using that month (unless it is in an actual cookbook that I own) in sheet protectors to avoid cooking splatters and in the order I will be using them behind the shopping lists. It is so helpful to not have to be hunting down recipes and it is much easier this way to have them all on hand so that you can easily fill out your shopping lists and maximize your purchased ingredients.

Now you may be thinking, “Does this mean I am supposed to put the recipes for every month in there right now?” The answer is, “Yes!” And yes, that does mean that you will be making multiple copies of recipes, but in the long run it is such a timesaver and you will be able to reuse these multiple copies for years to come (so don’t come crying to me about trees and ink!). Do remember, however, that you will hopefully be incorporating long-term freezer meals into the mix, so you will only need to put the recipe in the binder for the month that you will be making extra to freeze, and you of course won’t need to put in any recipes for nights you are having leftovers or plan to be going out. So, see, it really isn’t that bad!

Now, I am going to put in a little alternative here in case you happen to be one of those lucky souls who has gone mostly techy and been blessed with an iPad. There is a wonderful app called The Recipe Box that allows you to easily cut and paste your own recipes into it along with including pictures, notes, sources and the easy ability to print or email in a really nice format. It lacks the advantage of having all your recipes easily in order but they are quick to find and look so professional and beautiful. Although I haven’t yet found any wonderful meal planning calendars, you could always just use iCal or Google calendars, or whatever calendar it is that you use.

I must admit that as much as I love technology and have been oogling over The Recipe Box app there is still just something special about having a well organized and attractive meal plan binder sitting in my kitchen. Call it my obsession with paper, but I will just always be drawn to those concrete homemaking journals that can truly become a legacy to pass down to your children. It’s up to you- heck, go wild and do both!

So there you have it! It’s that simple! A chunk of work now that will save you headaches and money all year long (and really, for years to come)! And if you happened to miss my post the other day about how you do the actual planning part of this task, then be sure to pop over to that post to get the full skinny!

I would LOVE to see your binders when they’re done and I am always open to questions and suggestions, so don’t be shy! Thank for stopping by and have fun planning! 😉

This post is filed under BOLD homemaking, BOLD Organizing, the BOLD kitchen and has been tagged with Tags: , ,

96 thoughts on “Putting together your Meal Plan Binder for the year

  1. gidgetnfroggi

    I don’t have a ipad but I have a netbook that I use for my computer and it is great for kitchen recipe cooking! 🙂 I might have to try this out plan out through thanksgiving at least.

    does it make grocery shopping easier?

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      I do find that it makes grocery shopping easier because I can buy a lot of things in large quantities since I know what I will be needing all month long (which saves money) and since it’s all laid out I can more easily write out my shopping lists and not forget the little things as much.

  2. Pamela Ross

    Thank you so much for this. I am a mom of four busy kids who range in age from seven to fifteen and I work outside the home. Between school, sports, and activities our life tends to run towards complete chaos. This binder is going to help me so much!

  3. Lori N.

    I found this via Pinterest and wanted to shout out a big “THANKS” for sharing this! What a wonderful resource!

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Yeah for Pinterest and Yeah for planning! I hope you get tons of use out of it and it helps simplify your life a bit! Thanks so much for stopping by and. Icing a little shout out! I really appreciate it!

  4. Angela

    I really like this idea b/c we all do different meals for summer and winter, so this would easily accommodate that!

  5. Christine

    I can’t thank you enough. Menu planning keeps me sane, and now I can be VERY organized about it. Your choice of colors was an added bonus.

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Oh I’m so glad you like the colors! They are just so in right now and so pretty that I couldn’t resist! Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by AND taking the time to comment!

  6. Adrienne

    I found this on Pinterst and it looks great! There is a website that allows you to do menu planning with a calendar and recipe links It allows you to create a shopping list off your menu items, download into your calendar. I am pretty techy but I still like my paper too so I use both! These are great printables! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Kelli Moon Kennedy

    I’m really excited to try this. I had a great meal planning system going a few years ago and even had laminated shopping lists to coordinate with the weeks. I’m going to get back on the ball and start readying this for 2012. Would you be willing to do a version of the printables without the year, or with just 2012? Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Robin Ingram

    This is great. I hope that this helps me to solve some of my problems… if only I could get someone to do the grocery shopping for me (I have a 4 year old, an almost 2 year old and 2 month old twins).

  9. Stacy

    I just found this awesome idea on Pinterest! Thank you so much for sharing all of your hard work. A lot of my problem lies in coming up with so many meals. i struggle with planning out a week’s worth of meals, so a whole year’s worth is overwhelming (although I know I won’t have 365 different meals). Would you be willing to post pictures of your completed calendars so we can get some meal ideas, as well as a feel for how often you eat them? I can’t tell you how much that would help me tackle this–and I SO want to do this! 🙂 Thanks again! I’m off to peruse the rest of your blog…
    stacyg3 {at} hotmail {dot} com

  10. Pingback: Putting together your Meal Plan Binder for the year | boldturquoise « eatbloglove

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      I am offering the printables for free. If you have a free scribd account you should be able to download the for free and then print them without a problem. Let me know if it works. I just tried it without problems.

  11. Dawn Wade

    I found you through a pin on pinterest!! This is AMAZING!!!!! I would love it if the grocery lists had it broken down into sections like, meats, produce, canned goods, dry goods, misc. etc. I shop like that currently and it is so much easier not to accidently forget something on the list.

  12. Samurai Mom

    Thanks, in the meantime can you e-mail the PDF to me? (I can’t find your e-mail) I Must get organized. There have been WAY to many “whatever you can find in the fridge” dinners around here. Thank you!

  13. Cassi

    This would make an awesome Christmas gift for some people in my family. Is there anyway you can email it to me as well. Thanks!

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Sooooo sorry I didn’t get it to you before Christmas! I was really battling with morning/allday sickness and really fell behind with my blogging! There is a new version up now though! Sorry again!

  14. Liz Roadman

    I tried to download the Menu Planner but it’s telling me I either need to upload something or pay.
    Is there a way to get around this? I guess I could create something to upload, I just don’t know what.
    Thanks for another great idea! 🙂

  15. Pingback: It’s Finally Here- the 2012 Meal Planner!! | boldturquoise

  16. Mary

    This looks like a great idea…I’m nervous that I will end up deviating too much and it will be a waste of time so I’m going to try for January first…thanks for providing all the info!!!

  17. Liz

    I’m posting about this tomorrow on my blog I love that you’re sharing this, and for FREE. This is awesome. Thanks again!

  18. Sarah

    I found this on Pinterest too, and it is a total blessing! I have done meal planning for years, but have to print things out weekly, and it gets very time comsuming. Thank you for this resource!!

  19. Jacquelyn

    Holy moly…This looks AMAZING and wonderful and all sorts of useful! 🙂 I’m a little late to the party but better late than never right?! I got everything together tonight and I’m working on hunting down recipes 🙂 Thanks for sharing all of this wonderfulness 🙂

  20. Pingback: Meal Plan « Beauty In All Things

  21. Natalie Carroll

    What a wonderful idea!! Ok, I don’t know if it is just the settings on my computer, but I cannot find the link on where to download the recipes and all. I see where to download the calendar and notebook cover but not the recipes. I am sure it is right infront of my face! ha! Thanks soooo much! :o) – Natalie

  22. Jackie Desiraye Ramos

    I found you via Pinterest a couple of months ago. I am, just now, printing out your printables and starting my own yearly binder. I would have never thought to do a monthly planner let alone a YEARly one, but, thank you so very much for the idea. I will have to be honest though, I don’t think it will get much use until maybe mid year, but better then than never and it will be nice to have it ready to go when I’m ready for it.
    Thanks again.

  23. Pam Molitor

    Just found you via pintrest. Leave it to a homeschooling mom to come up with this idea. I have had somewhat similar ideas for this in my head but never got it into an actual do-able plan…..THANKS! Can’t wait to look through this!!

  24. Susan

    I don’t go to this extreme with my meal planning, but I have 1 small journal that I plan our meals out in. It has every meal in it that my family has eaten for supper (breakfast and lunch just seem to take care of themselves) since 2010. It’s extremely helpful to be able to go back and see what we ate last year or the year before supper when I get the “I dont knows” from the DH when I am planning the next weeks meals and ask for his input.

  25. Joyce Dupont

    Thanks for the Meal Planner. Another great Pinterest find! I downloaded the pdf , for (7 months) and plan to put it together for my daughter. I myself do have a hard time with the colors, hard to read, hopefully she will not. Plus the 4:oo time would be nice if said dinner as not everyone gets home at 4. Just a thought. I think this would make a great gift for a new bride or a young mother, maybe with a few of your favorite recipes, hints, tips, included. Great idea. .

  26. Carissa

    Love this! Going to start working on mine today. I have an iPad and as much as I love it, the more organized I am the better it goes, so if that means everything has its own binder instead of being in my iPad then that is fine!

  27. Amy

    Wow, what an organization master you are! I am one half of a mompreneur team who sell an affordable magnetic meal planner for those who aren’t as crafty or organized as you are. (that would be me! lol!) But you have created a very valuable tool. Don’t be surprised if we end up giving you a shout out and a link on our blog. Check out our planners at Thanks and keep up the good work!

  28. Angi

    I subscribe to Dave Ramseys EMeals. For $50 for a year they choose a week of recipes by date . and then give you the shopping list for the whole week. With an approximate cost per wekk in groceries for budgeting. Thye email you every week your recipe and list for following week. My plan is to make this binder and print all there recipes and I will reuse the recipes year after year. Combined with your calendar of meals and they already have my recipes and list planned out this will make my life so much easier with a newborn. Im printing recipes now and assembling my binder as I type. Thank you for such a great idea to simplify my life.

  29. Liz

    I love this idea, I have been using the free app – pepper plate, it has great abilities to organize, the ease of loading many on-line recipes with their URL link and can be used on my pc as well as at the grocery store, with out Internet…

  30. sherry

    you got my hopes up thinking that this was actually a binder filled with ready to use meal planners 🙁 so dissapointed :'( caption should just say one year supply of meal planner and grocery list sheets not actually ready made plans!

    (This commenter seems to have been mislead by Pinterest. I have not had any other complaints about what people assumed my printables involved, so I am holding this as an isolated situation and trying not to be offended. -MacKenzie)

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Thank you for the share! I am currently working on an ebook all about meal planning and will hopefully have it available in the beginning of December. That is also when I will have the updated printables available, so check back soon!

  31. Lacie

    This is AWESOME and expecting baby number 8 in the spring I need all the help I can get 😉 Oldest is 11 and the youngest are twins that are 16 months, SO – our afternoons and evenings are such a rush trying to get everyone where they need to be and on time…I dread dinner time most nights. Will you be updating this for 2013? I would love to get this going now though, especially with the holiday’s coming up! Thank you so much for sharing! You are amazing!!!

    1. boldturquoise Post author

      I’m so glad you find this helpful! I’m actually working on an entire meal planning ebook right now that includes updated printables. There will also be a smaller, free version. I should have them available by early December (hopefully)! So, check back soon!

  32. Pingback: FREE 2013 Bold Meal Planner | boldturquoise

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