Looking for a menu planner small enough to fit in your mini planner or binder? How about something that is simple to use, customizable, and reusable? Well, here it is! After creating my mini planner recently, I wanted a menu planner that would not take up much room in my already small binder. This menu planner is not only compact and easy to use but you can use it over and over again. Check it out below.
So does it work? I’ve been using it now for several weeks to get a feel for it and see if anything needs changing before offering it to my readers. I found that it takes about two minutes to use after my weekly shopping trip, five minutes for the actual meal planning for the week, and one minute a day to adjust the planner after every meal. This is how simple and easy it is to use. Ready to get your free menu planner? Well, let’s make sure you have everything you need before printing.
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Materials You May Need Before Printing Out Your Menu Planner
You can take them to an office supply store that will laminate them for you.
For those who do not have a mini binder, you can still use these pages by punching a single hole on the top left corner of each page and threading a keychain ring or binder ring clip through the hole.
Menu Planner Sheets
I created these sheets so that you can print on both sides to save paper. I usually only plan my dinner so if you are going to use the menu planner for more than one meal, I suggest printing more of the inventory sheets. After printing all your sheets, I highly suggest laminating them. If you don’t have a laminator, you can get them laminated at most office supplies stores where they will also cut and hole punch your sheets.
Inventory/Shopping List Sheets
The first few pages of the menu planner consist of the inventory sheets as well as a shopping list page for when you run out of an item. These sheets are divided into proteins; grains, rice, pastas, and potatoes; fruits and vegetables; dairy; miscellaneous; and lastly beverages and desserts. Using Post-Its colorful page markers, I use a different color for each category. This makes finding items and relocating items easier to manage.
Creating your inventory for the first time will probably be the only time consuming part of using this plan. After that, it should only take you a couple of minutes to adjust your inventory each week, preferably after you’ve done your weekly shopping.
*see below on how to make your page markers pretty
Daily Plan Sheets
Your daily plan sheets will consist of two days per side. On the last sheet, I created a rainy day/leftovers section which I use to plan a back up meal. It is my go-to page if we are suppose to barbecue and the weather doesn’t allow for it. Or if something unexpected happens during the week making little time to cook a whole meal, I can then easily switch out a meal for any leftovers I have on hand.
Now, if you don’t want to use Post-It markers, then you can also use a dry erase marker and write in both your inventory and meals as I have done below. I recommend using dry erase markers with a fine to ultra fine tip.
When planning my meals, I personally like to take out all my sheets and lay them before me. This way, I am not constantly flipping back and forth in my binder.
Making Your Page Markers Prettier
To create these pretty page markers, you will need to get your inventory list ready. In your word processor, format your document with narrow margins and three columns. In my photo above I only used two but three columns will save you paper. Choose the font that you like and make it bold. I used Lucida Handwriting.
For foods that are 13 characters or less including spaces, I went with a font size of 18. In the photos below, you can see where some of my longer food names, like mashed potatoes, went beyond the page marker. To avoid this, go with a size 16 font and it should work. Lastly, you want to double space your page to leave room for your page markers.
After you have written all your inventory items, go ahead and print and do not close out your document. After printing, take your page markers and cover each item with your preferred color as neatly as possible.
When you are done, place your list back into your printer feeder/tray so that when it reprints, it will print on the same side of your written page. Hit print again and Voila! Your page markers will be pre-printed with your food items.
Now, eventually your page markers will get worn out as you continue to enjoy your menu planner so save your document on your computer. Update: I’ve been using my page markers for a year now and I have yet to replace them.Let others know where they can get their free and simple to use mini menu planner by clicking this tweet!Click To Tweet
Before you click below for your free mini menu planner, check out my other free mini planner pages:
- 2017 Mini Planner Cover, Year-at-a-Glance Calendar, and Bookmark Dividers
- Mini Planner Daily Pages
- Mini Planner Household Finance Pages
And now, if you are ready to try out my menu planner, click below and enjoy!
If you have any questions or comments regarding this menu planner, please leave them below in the comment section.
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