Introduction: Menu Planning Made Easy and Beautiful

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2 hungry little kids, and one difficult diet in a foreign country make shopping and eating healthy incredibly challenging. Besides I like a lot of variety and have never found menu planning particularly my thing.

Step 1: Vary-it-up Menu Planner

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For a couple of years I made lists and had little stickies of favorite recipes sitting around everywhere. Frustrated every week when I shopped without knowing what I wanted to make; Prepared to skip meals or eat pb&j for days due to exhaustion of thinking about the headache of mealtime are all part of the inspiration for this menu planner.

What you need:

  1. Favorite Recipes on Paper
  2. Clips
  3. Hot Glue Gun
  4. Scissors
  5. Strong Magnets
  6. Board
  7. Small holder
  8. Stickers (optional)

Step 2: Gather Recipes

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I started by gathering recipes. I actually just listed out what I already make on a simple word document table and then filled in the details sometimes and left it vague others.

Fish Tacos, Breakfast Burritos, Grain Free Granola, Salmon Fritatta, etc...

Nothing exotic or complicated here. I didn't want this step to be too cumbersome; As it was already the most time-consuming. But I did want to include ingredients in case my husband or someone else was cooking or shopping

1. I collected recipes from my favorite sites (especially those that cater to dietary limitations),

I gathered them from the internet and well it was easier to cut and paste then to write them all
out for me. I couldn't stay digital though. Opening an ipad or computer during meal planning with a two year-old wanting to be held was just one extra step too many...and well, the mess.

2. I copied them on a word document &

3. then Printed them &

4. Cut them out

The old-fashioned recipe cards would be sufficient especially if you already have them all written out.

We like a lot of variety so I wrote out 30 (although it's been added to so we probably have 45 or more now)

Step 3: Break Out That Hot Glue Gun

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Now comes the crafty part.

Take 3-4 of your strong little magnets and your hot glue gun and adhese them to the back of whatever surface you're using. I had a small lightweight cloud-shaped board. A frame, tackboard or the like would suffice.

Step 4: Clips, Glorious Clips

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No need to get fancy - any clothespin or clasp will work. I took 6 clothespins and my hot glue gun and adhesed them on the front of the magnetic board. Why 6 and not 7 or 14? I really only needed this for dinner time as lunch was at schools. We always have leftovers and we go out to eat about once a week. Between those things having 6 menu ideas ready every week is sufficient.

I added a letter sticker coinciding with the day of the week, but you could also write it out.

Step 5: Holder Magnatized

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Now take your handy little holder and make it magnetic if it isn't already. This was the helpful organizing piece that I lacked with my hundreds of sticky notes. I love having all of the recipes together within reach.

Step 6: Marvel at the Work

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All of your pieces should be completed. Just hang them on the fridge.

Choose 6 recipes you want to make for the week (or more if you're like me and don't want to be totally locked into Thursday's taste preference on Sunday!). If you're really ambitious you can intentionally pick recipes based on similar ingredients to minimize wasted food and extra shopping even further.

Clip the recipes per day, shop and cook accordingly!

I can enjoy preparing food again. And don't spend extra $$$ because I know exactly what I need. And don't spend extra thought energy...2 hours planning and creating this instructable has saved me so much frustration!!!

Note: The total time spent creating this all depends on how many recipes you want and how you collect them. I'd say a couple of hours to gather everything and put it all together.


Step 7: Voila...Menu Planning Made Easy!!

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Plan, shop, cook, eat, enjoy, repeat...

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