Weekly Dinner Menu Planner PDF

One of the things I'm working on around here is getting into a consistent meal planning routine.

I've made attempts in the past and it's ebbed and waned. I'm feeling ready to put forth some real effort once again - not only in the actual act of meal planning but in the ritual of sitting at the table together.

For meal ideas I've been loving Pinterest (here's a look at the recipes I've pinned), Melanie's Menu Plan Mondays, or just asking what people are cooking for dinner on Twitter. I'm also loving re-reading (and trying recipes) from The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids One Meal At A Time.

I actually made this PDF dinner menu planner awhile ago and then could not for the life of me find it on my computer again. Well, I found it on Monday and I was so happy because it's just what I needed to get going.

For our family the planning I mainly need to do is for dinner during the week. Along the bottom I included space for planning meals on the weekend as well. For me the weekends have become a time to plan for the upcoming week, make something ahead if possible, etc.

I also included a little note about "new food" for Simon. He has a bit of a block (okay, more than "a bit") against anything "new." He calls just about anything "new" when it's not a part of his list of "preferred" foods. Having a "new" section helps me highlight what is really new and helps me to be able to visually show him that I don't actually give him new foods every single day.

Download the Weekly Dinner Menu Planner here.

Here's to hoping this will help some of you as well.

77 thoughts

  1. Erin O.

    2012-02-22 20:52:05 -0500

    ’ve really gotten into the swing of planning our meals. I’ve found that is saves time, money and me eating a pan of brownies for dinner after the kids are in bed. EVERYONE WINS.

    Here are a few pins for recipes that we’ve LOVED at our house.

  2. Cindy

    2012-02-22 21:04:47 -0500

    Thank you for the pdf and sharing your pins........I'm going to try some of those myself. Hopefully, this will help me lose an ounce or two!

  3. Gabi

    2012-02-22 21:23:34 -0500

    I have two little very picky eaters at home and it always frustrates me when I try new things and they complain. This planner will come very handy, thank you, Ali!!

  4. Gina

    2012-02-22 22:11:04 -0500

    Love Pinterest for meal ideas. I've got some great ideas from there recently. I usually do a menu for the week on Sundays and I let each person pick a meal of choice.

  5. Teresa

    2012-02-22 22:52:49 -0500

    I'm glad there is no struggle with new foods. My daughter shops with me sometimes so I let her pick out new things to try. I've had some fruits that I probably never would have bought because she wanted to try them(pomegranate, starfruit). I have wanted to try planning my menus more. My daughter is at school late 3-4 days a week for activities and soccer is starting soon. It would be so much easier to have it planned than to try to figure out something at the last minute. Thanks Ali!

  6. krystina / lollipops

    2012-02-22 23:28:18 -0500

    been working on getting dinner menus organized as well. i have been posting a weekly dinner menu plan for the past three mondays on the blog - i would love for you to stop by! i hope to be of help :) xoxo

  7. Molly

    2012-02-23 00:32:14 -0500

    For anyone with an iPad or iPhone I STRONGLY recommend the paprika app. Recipes are super easy to import from the web, it has an easy way to plan your meals for the week and he grocery list can be emailed to your regular computer to print or sent to your iPhone. Everything is organized for you to make shopping quick and easy and you can easily unselect items you already have. It is my most favorite app.

  8. annette

    2012-02-23 00:42:21 -0500

    love the idea of the "new" food section. I also have a 11 year old on the spectrum and he has his preferred foods too... most of it consists of carbs and chicken noodle soup. For those of us that have struggled with the "food" issue let me tell you it does improve with age to a degree. He still refuses to try many things but I have found that if we just let it be"his idea" he will finally break down. I'm going to definately try the food planning to help him as well as myself on a weight loss journey. Great idea!!! As usual your the best.


  9. Weekly Dinner Menu Planner Printable « « TodaysMama TodaysMama

    2012-02-23 05:59:37 -0500

    [...] Head over to Ali’s blog to download this free printable and see some great menu planning links. [...]

  10. A. Sanborn

    2012-02-23 06:18:24 -0500

    Thank-you for sharing, Ali!

    I too have been wanting to create a weekly menu around the weekly flyers, pantry restock, new recipes, etc... for the week ahead. It just makes sense with the busy everday lifestyle. Hubby has met me with opposition since we both cook. Sometimes independently or in togetherness {my favorite time together}! I truly believe it would help when I can't think my way out of a paperbag by Wednesday and everythings running behind due to some glitch in a family members schedule, which can happen quite often around here!

    Planning on putting this into action! 30 DAYS to create a new habit!


  11. Elisa Nishimura

    2012-02-23 08:35:07 -0500

    Thanks for sharing - it is fabulous!

  12. Sylvia

    2012-02-23 13:16:51 -0500

    Great idea! Thanks so much!!!

  13. Theresa Merkling

    2012-02-23 21:15:37 -0500

    Thanks for sharing, Ali. It's amazing how our healthy meals have decreased as my daughters have grown up and moved out... I think the worksheet could be just the help I need to start putting it back together again.

  14. Melodie

    2012-02-24 07:10:30 -0500

    This is wonderful! I know several girls who plan menus weekly and have shared this, and pinned it ! thank you for a great tool1!

  15. Nicole

    2012-02-24 17:00:38 -0500

    I plan weekly menus, and with 3 busy kids, my first step is to write nighttime activities beside the day of the week. That helps me organize my thinking, and then I'll write notes like "crockpot today". It also helps me see when I only have 30 minutes between work and activities to get it together some days, that we need to eat in several shifts so it needs to be "reheatable", or that we get to all eat together and try a new or different meal. We do eat something home cooked every day, whether it's made ahead, or repurposed leftovers. After a few years, I've just found that basing the menu on our reality makes it work so much better, keeps stress down and makes it much easier to stick to!

  16. Becky

    2012-02-24 20:23:20 -0500

    Of course it took a "artist" to make a menu planner look fabulous. Thanks for sharing Ali!

  17. Kelster Jean

    2012-02-25 08:02:40 -0500

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing! I wonder if my hubby will use this. He does most of the cooking since I work long hours at the office.

  18. Monica Laabs

    2012-02-25 15:53:17 -0500

    Thanks for the PDF! One of my home organization books suggests to keep your weekly planning sheets so you can rotate the entire week in again every few weeks. That way you don't have to rethink everything again. Also, if you build a shopping list for the week you save it with the menu so that next time your shopping list is all built and ready to copy.

  19. Bernadette @b3hd

    2012-02-26 17:53:55 -0500

    I need to be a lot more intentional about this. ebbs and flows is an understatement on our efforts around here. We would eat healthier and enjoy each other more if we just took some time to plan ahead and enjoy dinner when it finally came.

  20. Meal Planning Part Deux: Five Meals You Can Make This Week | The Secret Life of Mrs. Bundt

    2012-02-27 10:07:24 -0500

    [...] one is from Ali Edwards. Her blog is awesome and you can head over there to pick it up! This would be great in a binder if you want to keep your recipes, coupons, and meal plans [...]

  21. Vicki

    2012-03-05 15:09:24 -0500

    thanks Ali! this looks great and i will enjoy using it and think of your sweetness for sharing.

  22. abrown925

    2012-03-09 12:02:29 -0500

    Did it move? I was not able to open it... I'll keep trying :)

  23. Free Printable Weekly Dinner Menu Planner | Printables 4 Mom

    2012-03-22 14:19:43 -0400

    [...] a weekly dinner menu gets simpler with this Weekly Dinner Menu Planner printable courtesy of Aliedwards.com.  Simply print and add to your Home Management Binder or tack to the fridge so the whole family [...]

  24. Special Weekday Giveaway | eMeals Subscription | Ali Edwards

    2012-11-08 06:01:16 -0500

    [...] still using the weekly menu plan I designed so Simon can read what’s on the menu each night – you can download the PDF [...]

  25. AmbeeJ

    2013-10-22 00:20:13 -0400

    I found you through an exhaustive google search and am so glad that I did. I used your planner for several weeks, but found my main problem is finding recipes and sticking to our tight budget. I ended up going with a paid option, but thank you for the use of your planner. It is well thought out and easy to use.

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