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How To Easily Meal Plan With A Bullet Journal

by Ambassador Team 26 Mar 2023 0 Comments

Are you looking for a better way to plan your family’s meal times using a journal?  Do you sometimes realise you don’t know what’s for dinner? Perhaps you regularly have to throw together a meal using whatever is in the fridge? Maybe you want to plan healthier family meals?

It might be time to try meal planning and a travelers journal is the perfect place to start.

Hello, it’s Alex (@TheJournalCorner) from the Archer and Olive ambassador team.  Today I am going to share how I meal plan for my family using a travelers journal.  I will give you some examples of different layouts to try and also include a printable if you are short of time.

Meal Planning Journal Supplies

You only need some basic supplies for creating these meal planning spreads. 

  • Archer & Olive dot grid journal - I am going to use a travelers size.
  • A pen for writing
  • A selection of coloured pens like the calliographs 

If you are looking to purchase anything from Archer & Olive, please use ‘Alex10’ to save 10%. This is an affiliate link, so it allows you to support creators like me too.

What are the benefits of meal planning?

Planning out your meals a few days or a week ahead has some big advantages.  Doing this can help you make healthier food choices as well as avoiding stressful meal times.  You may not live close to a grocery store, so planning ahead also saves you time.  Batch cooking meals you have organised ahead will also save you money.

For anyone who doesn’t love to cook, you may find feeding a family with different food preferences and dietary requirements is a challenge.  I started meal planning to make this part of parenting slightly easier!

Orange travelers journal, tall and narrow with calliograph brush pens

 

A travelers sized journal is tall and narrow so I have found it really lends itself to anything that requires lists, such as meal planning.  It is also a portable size to take to the shops with a list of food to buy.

A travelers journal is ideal for:

  • Lists of meal ideas
  • Shopping lists
  • Weekly meal plans
  • Favourite baking recipes 
  • Healthy snack lists
  • Ideas for food when entertaining
  • Lists of items in the freezer
  • Ideas for batch-cooked meals 

How to use a travelers journal for meal planning


Before we get any further, it’s worthwhile having a brainstorm about how you currently plan meals, what areas you would like to improve and other considerations e.g. fussy eaters!  Consider how often you are able to get to the grocery store or have a food delivery too.  This will help determine how far ahead you may need to plan meals.


Are there certain days of the week when you all eat together as a family? Perhaps check what time any school clubs finish - I need quick meals for these evenings as we are back late.  Maybe you like to have a takeaway or ‘no-cook’ day at the end of the week? 

 

‘Meals we all enjoy’ list

The first page I include in my travelers journal is a ‘meals we all enjoy’ list.  When I am putting together a meal plan for the week, I have sometimes left it to the last minute and end up lacking inspiration and ideas. Having a list of go-to meals can help me choose something, especially if it is popular with all of us.  Make sure you have the entire family helping you with ideas and suggestions for this one.  


Dot grid page in travelers journal with title ‘Meals we enjoy’ and a bulleted list

You may find the family is better at thinking of dessert suggestions - I keep a separate list of these which I will add to during the year.  I also do the same with a ‘Meals to try’ list.


I find this an invaluable resource to add to throughout the year as I see recipe ideas online, in magazines or suggested by friends.  It’s somewhere to write them down and when we feel bored of our usual favourites we can try something new.

Double page with family desserts list on the left and meals to try on the right

 

 

Meal planning for a busy schedule

The main reason I started planning ahead more with our food was because our schedules were busier and more inconsistent.  Rushing to prepare a meal became a chore at the end of a long day.  To help avoid this, I really recommend dedicating a page in your journal to planning ahead for those hectic days.

Brush letter headers saying Batch Cook, Male Ahead and speedy meals

Super-speedy meals is simply a list of quick (less than 20mins) and easy dishes that can be cooked when we are home late and hungry.  They may not always be the most healthy option but fine for one or two nights a week.  

Batch-cooking ahead can make homemade meals an option on these evenings too. I sometimes spend a morning preparing extra food that can be frozen into portions then reheated.  Planning ahead is essential for these meals however so you remember to defrost them ready for heating!

Once the children started school I found invaluable time during the day to cook something uninterrupted, that was ready to heat later that evening.  These ‘make-ahead’ ideas include some slow-cooker favourites for us too.


Master Shopping List

The travelers size journal is small enough to be portable and therefore also a convenient place to keep shopping lists.  You may find it useful to create a master shopping list for reference with all your most frequently bought items.  I use one to include a note of what items are best value at different supermarkets and also to remember which products are best bought at the local farm shop and butchers.


Double page spread with the title master shopping list and then divided up into supermarket, butcher and farm shop

 

Weekly Meal Plan and List 

When it comes to the main task of planning for a week, the shape of the travelers notebooks allow a layout like below. 

Left hand page has title ‘shopping list’ to the right are days of the week with space for each meal

Using calliographs makes this aesthetically pleasing too - which means I am more likely to use it!  There is space for 7 days though you can adapt this to suit your week and how frequently you visit the grocery store.  Each day I note down breakfast options, though more so for the weekends.  For lunches I find it useful to include any leftovers that need using.   ‘Tea’ covers an earlier meal time for the children during the week and supper/dinner is usually just for 2 adults unless it’s the weekend.

I also try to include space for ideas of snacks or baking to do at some point during the week if time allows.  Planning snacks ahead definitely helps make them healthier.

The page opposite can then be used to create your shopping list for the week’s meals, with everything visible at a glance.  You could even divide this into categories ready to be more efficient in the supermarket.


Food for Entertaining 

Food planning is a big part of any events or gatherings you may host.  I have found creating a list of ideas grouped by event type has been really helpful over the past couple of years.  I will add recipes that are successful and popular at a BBQ for example, to try again on subsequent occasions.  


Double page with central title ‘entertaining’ and meal ideas for BBQ, parties etc

 

We often have friends round for play dates with children so a ‘ready-to-go’ food list is ideal to help save time and limit the planning needed.  I can add or remove things over the course of a year too.


Meal planning for the seasons

Trying to shop locally and in season will help keep costs down and considers the environmental impact of what you eat.  I have created a dual page spread for each season so I know which fruit and vegetables will be more readily available.

Central header ‘seasonal eating’ with each season around the page followed by a list of seasonal foods available

This will be a useful reference throughout the year and something I can add to as well.

 

Video - meal planning in a travelers journal

I hope you have found some inspiration to try meal planning in a travelers notebook today.  You can watch me go through these examples in more detail in my video here.


Meal Planning printable

If you are short of time, please take a look at this printable to help you plan a weeks meals with accompanying shopping list.

free meal planning printable

Summary

I hope you find some of these ideas useful. For more journal inspiration come and say hello @thejournalcorner. We always love to see your creations, so please tag @archerandolive and @archerandolive.community or use #aoshare on Instagram.

For more journal inspiration for food planning, take a look at these dinner party ideas.  If you love keeping recipes, this blog has some more ideas as does this one. For more useful tips for meal planning in your journal take a look here.

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