Meal Planning is an excellent way to save money, eat healthier, and have stress-free meals every night. My way of dealing with getting stuck in a rut with the same handful of meals is to create a recipe bank in my bullet journal. See how this one easy trick makes it much easier to keep your meals interesting and keep you trying new things every week!

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65 Comments

  1. thanks. I’ll use this methode in my work. bless you.

  2. Thank you so much for this! I’m adopting this idea for my new year’s planner.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      I think you will find it’s incredibly helpful Siska.

  3. Now I know what I will be spending my Friday evening doing ?

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Yes! I love my recipe bank and I bet you will too Jasmin.

  4. Easy and Flexible,…. thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Thank you for reading, Patricia!

  5. I am very much in love with this spread! I am going to make it today. Also, do you have those recipes anywhere on your blog? Some sound REALLY good and I’d love to check out how to make them!

    1. I’m thrilled you like the post, Jalynn! Unfortunately, I don’t have these recipes anywhere. This post is so old I don’t even know where I found them to be quite honest. But if you see the title and search for it, I bet you’ll find some of them because I stayed pretty faithful to the post titles when I wrote these down! Good luck finding some of these delicious recipes ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Great idea! If you cover your recipe bank pages with e.g. Contact paper or stripsbod Sellotape then the sticky notes will stay sticky longer!

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Wonderful hack! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Dear Shelby, You made my day. What a great Idea, i was struggling for a long time to find a way to plan our meals. Thanks alot. Love, Marjon. (The Netherlands)

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      So glad you found this helpful!

  8. I did something similar last year, but instead of sticky notes, I used small index cards (2 x 2). I wrote all of the names on one side and ingredients on the other, color coding for meal type (red meat, poultry, pasta, etc). I even threw a card in that says new recipe so I would get a chance to use a Pinterest find. Then I put them on my menu board and make my grocery list from there.

    1. Little Coffee Fox Team says:

      Wow Penny, that sounds like a really organized system! And a great one at that!

  9. What a genius you are! I have been doing meal planning with a journal and find myself rewriting things alot – thanks for a solution to that.

    1. I’m so glad that this post helped you! It really has been a life saver for me in terms of time saved and making sure that I am not just eating the same meal over and over again.

  10. That looks awesome. I’ve been trying to find a meal planner that is easy to use. This is like the perfect one. Keep up the awesome work.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Breezi! I hope this technique is perfect for you ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks so much for reading and saying such sweet things!

  11. Thanks so much for this amazing idea! I know there are recipes I’ve tried and loved over the years, and I always think I will totally go back to them… but where are they now? lol… I have no idea. I’m hoping this will help keep track of our regular recipes and the new ones we love!

    One question… in the photo showing your weekly page, I see a nifty post-it dispenser tray… where did you find it? Thanks again!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! But I’m gonna be honest Sherri – I have no idea where this little tray came from. I think I may have stolen it from my mother in law! This dispenser is the closest thing I could find. Sorry, I wish I could help more on that front! Good luck finding a post it dispenser that suits your needs ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks for sharing this great idea! I currently have recipes in both digital and hard-copy formats. I’m hoping that this will help me organize and consolidate my recipe ideas into one place.

  13. I am brand new to bullet journaling and am so excited to give this a try. This seems like such a simple, but effective way to meal plan! Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous spread.

    1. Welcome to the wonderful world of bullet journaling, Hilary! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I hope you find this spread to be as effective as I do!

  14. I love your meal planning idea and agree it is a huge $ and time saver! I went to meal planning last year when I was in my last year of school (clinicals) with 5 kids and their activities, work as well as a great hubby! I had to keep it super simple, so I downloaded a couple cute & simple free weekly menu printables to my computer. Every Saturday I sit down for a couple minutes and scroll through Pinterest and my cookbooks for quick ideas, throw together a quick list then make my grocery list in the same sitting. It has been a lifesaver and I’ve continued even though school finished! When I have more time I’ll have to try your journal idea….it is so cute & I love the organization!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading, Julie! Finding a system that works for meal planning is amazing. So much of our life revolves around meals, so keeping it organized is, like you said, a lifesaver!

  15. Wow I totally love this idea! I’ve been trying to come up with a system like this for awhile and I’m definitely going to give this a shot.

  16. This is a great idea! I have been using a master list that I composed in WORD…in 3 columns, landscape, and print out and fold in thirds. Then I just keep that list with me, circle what i want in pencil, and erase OR more often than not, just print a new one for the next week because i usually make notes on it and don’t want to bother erasing it all.
    I think I will just cut and paste (literally!) the master list into my bujo so I have a permanent one with me too!

    And THEN, your recipe/ingredients tracker is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to get started on mine!
    I must admit I have a recipe addiction….I collect…copy, edit, print, and put them in notebooks…yes, plural! Plus pinterest is my enabler…along with many other websites. i collect them, and forget to include them when shopping so I rarely try them! THANK YOU!!!
    (Just a hint for any other addicts out there…Instead of just hitting PRINT on an internet recipe, I copy and paste the recipe into Word. I use narrow margins and 2 columns, so I get a lot more recipes in the same space that one recipe would take if you print from a website. I take out unnecessary extra words and ads and junk i don’t want…minimize the chatter in the recipe, and I don’t have to read thru all that stuff again when I do the recipe. It really doesn’t take much time to edit…totally worth it. I always save the source info. Hope that helps someone else. Thanks for your great posts all the time. I’m new to Bujo and learning so much!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I had the same problem with Pinterest. I so rarely tried those gorgeous recipes that it was criminal. Since I’ve started this bank, it’s been loads better in making our cooking schedule much more interesting. Thanks for the tip, by the way! ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I love the columns idea and gave it a quick try just now ~ I too have EXTENSIVE recipe collections in Word and on my bookshelves!! I’d rather read a cookbook than a novel any old time – you too?
      I’m really loving it. It’ll take some editing – I’m kind of anal about having the whole recipe on the same page if possible. But that’s cool, I get to revisit the recipes I wanted to save, and hopefully transfer them to my BUJO to try a few each week or so.
      Thanks for the idea!!

  17. Holly Brucks says:

    Thank you so much Shelby for taking the time to share your wonderful system!

    I am starting today with new hope to over come some challenges in meal planning:

    Our family, as many others, have several allergies to consider in meal planning.
    My 16 year old son is finishing cancer treatments.
    Fussy family member foodies that want the best every day.
    Ugh! It has felt frustrating doing menu planning; like a rubix cube that I just can’t complete.

    So when I get a day or week that really works, I don’t want to forget it !! So I plan to add an easy point at the end of the week.
    As you remove the stickies from the week: write with pen in the box, what was written on the stickie. Now I have a journal of what worked. I can start building a bank of ‘weeks that work’. Why try to reinvent the wheel every week. In a few months I will have a bank of ‘weeks that work’ that I can pull from!
    Maybe this could be helpful to others.

    I think I will try to add a breakfast & lunch column as well. It may help me see and adjust the day if there is way to much carbs, sugar, salt or soy in a day.

    Thanks again! Keep up the great work!
    Holly

    1. Thank you for commenting, Holly! I can’t even imagine how tough it must be to balance all of that every week. It must be exhausting! I like your method of adding easy points so you can keep a detailed log of what works. Good luck building up a recipe bank and log – and congrats on your son finishing up cancer treatments! ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Helen Pasquale says:

    At last!!!! Something which I think will totally work for me. As a mother of three and working full time – this is a god send. Tried everything but to no avail. Either eat the same things or go for carry out. Love the suggestions of pens etc too. Many thanks.

    1. I’m thrilled that you enjoy the post! My hope is that it can provide a bump of inspiration for really kick starting a robust meal plan. The same stuff every week – it just really wears on you! Thank you so much for commenting, and I wish you the best of luck in figuring out what works best for you!

  19. Freaking Brrrrrrrilliant! It’s 8 pm, I got started and will probably be at this for a couple hours! Thanks!

  20. This is genius! Quick easy, simple meal planning. Though I’d probably do a spread just for veggie dishes, and one for chicken dishes etc. since we have a lot of recipes in rotation in my family being Swedish/Danish/Pakistani. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Wow, I bet you have a very interesting family cookbook! I’m glad you like the post and I hope it helps you organize all your delicious recipes ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. hey i trying to start with bullet journal and this meal planner sound really great and easy, but one question. maybe not only for this meal planner.
    Where do you put it, at every month start, in the middle of the book, at the end? As well with habit tracker or saving things,or idea collector, i imagine somewhere in between its confusing…so i thought at the end, but then you have filled pages, nothing and the the trackers?

    Would be so lovely if you would explain or share your opinion, greetings lynn

    1. Thanks for commenting and asking! I put things on the next page available, so whenever the idea pops into my head. If I tried to frontload the journal with all the important stuff and spreads, I feel like I would get nervous of screwing it up and I wouldn’t be able to continue. Putting it in the back could totally work for you if you’d like to give it a shot, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Just keep your index up to date, or if you have a page you want to visit again and again like the recipe bank, consider putting a paper clip or bookmark there so you can flip to it easily. I don’t find it to be too much of a problem finding stuff in the middle, because even without the index, I’m usually able to remember the general section and flip through there. I hope this helps and good luck on your bullet journal journey!

  22. I have a serious love/hate relationship with meal planning. As in I love the thought and hate (so I don’t) the actual planning. Over the years I’ve tried a multitude of different methods. To no avail. I have the same problem as you โ€“ always cooking the same things… It causes me to get lazy and then we end up spending too much dropping by the grocery store for the specialty items randomly throughout the week or just going out. I have compiled numerous “go-to meals” and that’s always as far as I get. *AND I HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS!* I like your idea having all the ingredients listed and by category. I believe I am going to give this a go. I think I’ll print out a handful of recipe cards and fill them out to keep in my notebook as well, so all of the recipes are right there โ€“ NO EXCUSES! Wish me luck and thank you much for the inspiration! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I totally understand your love/hate relationship. I have been struggling to plan consistently for years, and it is so easy to fall into bad habits – like hitting up the grocery store every five days because we forgot to grab cheese or green onions or something. I hope you find this technique to be as helpful as I did! Good luck!

  23. Genius! I get into the ‘same thing’ rut or (worse) the ‘stop for take out’ rut. I’m going to work on my ‘master list’ of meals now and get some ‘super sticky’ post-its.

    1. Awesome! In the few weeks I’ve been utilizing the recipe bank, we’ve had much longer strings of cooking at home and much more interesting meals. The “take out” rut is a dangerous place to be, so I’m really happy to report that we’ve steered well clear of that since using the bank. Good luck starting yours! I think you’ll love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I love this idea……What do you do when the sticky runs out?

    1. Thank you! If one of the notes starts to fall out, I plan on just rewriting it on another sticky note. I am thinking it won’t be a problem for a while since they are pressed flat into the journal, unlike all the sticky note on my wall that get exposed to wind or other factors.

      1. When I wanted to make a visual schedule for my little boy, I typed out the schedule “blank” and put it in a clear page protector. Then typed up all the activities, printed and laminated. I used double-sided tape as my “sticky” and not only did it work VERY WELL to use and reuse every week, but if it ever lost its stickiness, just use another piece of tape!
        Since it is pretty much impossible to laminate in your bujo, if you cover the page or pages in clear packing tape, it works the same. You can do as many pages as you need this way.
        Hope this helps!

        1. Hey Billie,

          That is a great idea, and I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I’ve been cooking for over 45 years, and until recently I never thought about making a meal plan. But now it seems to make sense, and I like the ease and practicality of your method. I’m going to add the cookbook title and page number for those recipes that I have in my small collection of cookbooks.

    1. I’m so thrilled that you enjoy it, Lorraine! I don’t do meal plans every week, but I find that shopping and cooking each night is so much easier when I do. And I need to do the same thing – adding recipes from cookbooks. I’m so bad about buying cookbooks and never cracking them open to use the recipes! It’s because I buy them when I’m hungry ๐Ÿ˜†

  26. Great ideas, Shelby! I’m in the middle of making a layout in my bullet journal with my dinner go-to meals. I also decide my dinner meals for a whole month. I sit down the last Sunday in the month and plan out all our dinners for the following month. I figure if I’m going to sit down and plan out a week (I used to do this every Sunday), I could easily spend a little more time on just one Sunday and plan out a whole month. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That’s wonderful! I wish I could do that in such large batches, it would be heaps more convenient! Unfortunately, I short-circuit after planning more than two weeks in advance, so I have to shorten my timeline a little bit. I bet that the bullet journal is wildly helpful for plotting that all out, though ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for dropping by and happy planning!

  27. This is the absolute best idea I have seen in a long time! Thank you SO much…just what I needed.

  28. That is a great system! I use Plan to Eat, which is basically a digital version of the same thing. I have a big bank of recipes that are tagged in ways that make sense to me…quick, easy, veggies, etc. You add recipes to a queue (think Netflix) and drag and drop them into a weekly spread. It even kicks put a shopping list for you. As I find new recipes that I want you try, I just import them to my Plan to Eat “recipe box” & put them in the queue so I don’t forgot about them. Super neat program and inexpensive too.

    1. I bet that’s awesome! I’m a paper and pen kind of a girl, though. Every time I use a digital planner or organizer, I use it for two days and completely forget about it! I’m glad that there is an option for folks who prefer digital. Thanks for sharing!

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