Meal Planning Ideas

I was going to make you a cute download for today, but decided I needed to stop and plan some meals for the next month instead… or at least think about it:-)

After listening to our awesome MOPS speaker, Brenna Stull, I was motivated to get more organized for my family’s well being. Did you know sharing a meal regularly, research suggests, can boost children’s health and well being, reducing the likelihood that they’ll become obese or use drugs, and increase the chances that they’ll do well in school? That means a LOT of good comes out of family meals!! I have not made that a priority lately and decided to do some research on the web to find some ideas for meal planning. Here’s what I’ve found so far. Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions. This busy mom needs all the help she can get!!!


Dinner Tonight

Daily dinner ideas from Everyday Food

Lazy-Day Chili





This Week for Dinner

Every Sunday Jane Maynard posts her weekly dinner plan. TWFD friends then post their menus in the comments section, providing her (and everyone else) with fresh ideas every week.



I love the recipes on both of these sites, they are perfect for my family, but I’m really busy and would love to have everything for the week in a printable document with a grocery list.

So I dug around Martha’s site some more and found a section called Grocery Bag! It has the week’s meals planned out with a printable grocery list. Perfect!

I really like this week’s menu…




I also found this site that has exactly what I was looking for with free weekly meal plans that include everything organized in a printable pdf file. Complete with grocery list and recipes. You have to pay to get personalized meals. I’m going to try out the freebies for now. You can download any of their past meal plans for free without having to sign up here. The recipes I’ve seen are okay, but not as yummy sounding as Everyday Food’s.

I’d love to know what resources you have found. Please let me know in the comments. Look for a new download later this week after I’m done meal planning:-)

UPDATE: Since posting this, my facebook & Twitter friends gave me a few other ideas. I’ll have to check these out too: They also have an iPhone app.



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About Amy Locurto

Amy is a creative mom of two and graphic designer. When she's not working on Living Locurto, she's busy designing Printable Party Supplies and working on I Heart Faces, her photography blog. Find Amy on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.


  1. my family meal planner – it’s awesome with a cookbook of recipes and tear off shopping lists that coordinate. perfect!

  2. Yea; another great find! I’m going to add this to my feedreader. Fabulous blog, Amy! You’ve always been so creative; I’m in awe. Thanks for the recipes. After being out of commission all last week (that darn Influenza B), I’ve got to get back into my cooking routine. I’m thinking I for sure need to do the carrot risotto and the tortilla soup with black beans…

  3. thank you for the shout out, amy! I love hearing positive feedback…and love it when people spread the meal planning gospel! 🙂 thanks again and “see” you around the blogosphere! (and thanks for your post…super helpful!)

    Jane Maynard’s last blog post..I {heart} my rolling pin. For real.

  4. Go, Amy, go!!! 😉

    Bella Casa’s last blog post..Etsy Blog Party & Giveaways!!!

  5. Wow, Amy, you’re shaking things up over at Martha Stewart now! That is way cool. 🙂

    Julia @ Hooked on Houses’s last blog post..“The American President:” The West Wing on the Big Screen

  6. Hey,
    Thanks to this post, I think we are going to start posting all the recipes for the upcoming week on Sunday night. That way people can choose to include our recipes in their week of menu or not and know what they need for groceries.
    Let me know if that helps!

    Alison Sickelka’s last blog post..Go Green!

  7. Those are great resources. Another one that I like is – you can sign up for free and have access to tons of recipes and ideas. You can even get a free magazine sent in the mail monthly (or maybe its quarterly… I’m not sure on that). Anyway, thanks for the links!

    Wanni’s last blog post..Teamwork Works For Me

  8. Amy, this is very funny! I’ve noticed your comments on Donna’s blog from time to time. Then I ended up at your blog via linking from various blogs from my former church which I believe is your current church, so I wondered if I knew you.

    Now I came here from Rocks in my Dryer and saw your home tour and clicked on it.

    I’m the Amy who used to live down the street from you at 602! It all comes together now.


    Amy’s last blog post..Works for me- Is it an ear infection?

  9. Check out for some great ideas. The site has recipes from Cooking Light, Southern Living, Cottage Living, and Sunset mags. I like the “Dinner Tonight” feature.

  10. Growing up my family sat down for dinner together every night. I do the same with my family. I love it!

    Problem is … I hate cooking! We set the table and eat as a family even if we have takeout or pizza.

    I’ve been good this month. One of my favorite sites for recipes is: — great stuff.

    I am going to check out some of your finds too.

    mommyknows’s last blog post..Happy Book Day to You ~ the Series – the story of Edgar Sawtelle

  11. I have to say that when I plan the entire week’s menu on Sunday and shop for it, the rest of the week goes so well. It’s not that I make fantastic food, but it’s that I only have to go on autopilot to complete the meal. For me, the thinking is the hard part. There’s also a good show on Food Network (I can’t think of the name) where she cooks a meal and makes it stretch for 3 nights by using chicken 3 different ways or tomato sauce 3 different ways, etc. It’s good for planning.
    But you’re right…planning is the key. I just kick myself when I don’t do it.
    Oh…and I also found that once a week shopping (except for new milk and occasional fresh veggies) saves money and time at the grocery store.
    Must. Plan. Ahead.

    min’s last blog post..Snow Fun!

  12. I was just going to tell you about Menu Plan Monday at, but I see that the owner already left a comment. 🙂 That was pretty cool.

    I haven’t participated in it myself, but I have seen it on other blogs and used some of the recipes that the participants added to it. Yummy!

    I think eating a meal together is one of the most important things a family can do each evening. We usually try to play some fun games during the meal as well to bring a sense of togetherness and have fun at the same time.

    Now, if I could just become a better cook…{sigh}

    theArthurClan’s last blog post..It’s That Time Of Year Again.

  13. I started doing menu planning this month to help save on the grocery budget. I actually spent more to start in order to restock my pantry, but now it is looking better and better for our budget. And we get to eat something different every night.

    I use the free list. They also have the grocery lists and detailed directions in the recipes.

    We all sit down for dinner every night. It’s cool to think what a legacy this could be building for our kids.

    Lori’s last blog post..Menu Planning – Go Ahead, Try It!

  14. This post is a grrrrreat idea. When I do presentations for family-organizing this topic comes up every-single-time.

    Here is what parents (in the audiences) tell me they really want:
    A healthy kid-friendly menu.
    Alternatives to veggies (maybe fruits that provide just as much flavor, vitamins, fiber).
    QUICK-FIX ideas that can be “recycled” for a 2nd meal.
    Ways to save money w/o coupon clipping.
    A list of low-sugar-high-fiber foods that are ready to eat (like cereals)
    A grocery list of what to buy so they don’t have to create one.

  15. Oh Man, you read my mind! Last nights dinner was so….well not amazing. {I’m having a time trying to cook for just two}
    Thanks for the links-

    teresa’s last blog post..Joy on his Face-

  16. Before we had our kids, my husband and I started planning menus. It cut down on eating out and whoever got home from work first would start dinner. We subscribed to a few menu planning services but never found any that we really liked. The ones we used were heavy on meat dishes and the recipes often used cream soups. I have loads of cookbooks, so I just do my own now. I highly recommend getting a good crockpot cookbook. We use our crockpot about once a week and I LOVE how easy it is. Even though our kids are 2 and 4, we enjoy eating together as a family and I hope we’ll continue to do so as they get older and more busy!

    Tracie’s last blog post..I Heart Faces Kid Submission – Joy

  17. You know… I just have never gotten on the meal-planning kick. I’ll plan my meals before I head to the grocery store, but even then… with our schedule (or the weather, since I love to grill outside!)… something does not get cooked and veggies spoil, etc.

    Que lastima…

    Erica’s last blog post..Two for one

  18. Menu planning has been a huge lifesaver for me which is why I started Menu Plan Monday a couple of years ago. I love encouraging other women to give it a try. Today we have almost 500 participants! Please come check it out and hopefully join us!


    Org Junkie’s last blog post..Bloggy Giveaway ~ Blis {Best Life Information System}

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