Bullet journaling is used for all kinds of things, but one of my favorite ideas is meal planning. It helps you stay organized and can even help you save time and money. Check out these bullet journal ideas for meal planning inspiration!
A few weeks ago, Nathan and I took a closer look at where our money as going. Unfortunately, we were pretty disappointed to see how high our food costs were. Between eating out and groceries, it was well above what we should be spending. Especially when we have freezers stocked full of food.
With us wanting to finally start putting money away for college for Lily and even for retirement, we knew this needed to change.
So we came up with a plan to reduce our spending.
We’re now a week and a half into what started as a no-spend week and we haven’t eaten out in over two weeks. But I want to keep the momentum going so we’re going to add in meal planning and a do not buy list into our routine as well.
I love using my bullet journal for intentional living so it was only natural to incorporate meal planning into it. There’s SO many options so I figured I’d share some of my favorite bullet journal ideas for meal planning.
But before I hop into those ideas, I’ll give a little run down of bullet journaling in case you’re new to it!
What is a bullet journal?
I talked about this some in my intentional living post, but something I’ve come to learn over the years is that bullet journals seem overly complicated at first. I think it’s because there really isn’t a right or wrong way to use/create them and there are so many ways to customize them.
Bullet journals are truly a customizable organization system that can include a variety of things, mostly lists of some type. Think:
And the list goes on, and on, and on. The beauty of it is that it can be all of these things in one, or just one or two. You get to decide!
The biggest purpose of a bullet journal (for me at least) is helping me unplug. With how much focus there is on digital living now, a chance to get organized and unplug is crucial for me to feel centered.
The original bullet journal is pretty basic, but it’s become an art for many to take that structure and turn it into some beautiful. You get to decide how detailed you make it which is why bullet journaling has such an appeal.
Supplies Needed for Bullet Journaling and Meal Planning
Bullet journals are for anyone, no matter the budget. Always keep that in mind, especially if you’re unsure how to start a bullet journal.
I do use the fancier notebooks that many people recommend for bullet journals, BUT that does not mean that’s the only way to do it. A cheap notebook and a cheap pen can work just as well, if not better, when it comes to bullet journaling.
That’s why it’s so simple to get started with bullet journaling. You don’t have to be extensive with your supplies!
But if you want to get a little fancier, here are some of my favorite supplies to use, specifically for meal planning with a bullet journal:
Just like there are a plethora of ideas on how to start a bullet journal, there are so many bullet journal ideas for meal planning. So while I plan to list a few ideas, I know there are many more options!
And if you have other bullet journal ideas or meal planning ideas, please share! This is a lofty goal for us to reduce our costs in this area so I’ll take all the help I can get.
If you think about meal planning in it’s simplest terms, it’s essentially lists within a list.
A list of meals to make/prepare for the week
A list of recipes for those meals
A list of ingredients to make those meals
A list of ingredients you need to purchase to make those meals
So, meal planning with a bullet journal makes total sense. There are other bonuses to meal planning with a bullet journal though.
Bullet Journal + Meal Planning Pros
Not sure how a bullet journal can help you meal plan over another system? These are my two biggest benefits so far:
Coupon storage: You can easily keep your coupons tucked in your bullet journal with a paperclip so you don’t lose them when you do your shopping.
Shopping list and meal plan all in one place: Save time and stay organized by keeping everything in one single location. You’ll be able to easily switch between your shopping list and meal plan so you never have to wonder if you forgot a crucial ingredient.
Meal Planning Pros
And if you’re on the fence about meal planning in general, here are some of the ways that meal planning has helped us:
We save time: No more “what’s for dinner tonight?” conversations that end up with us eating out anyway. It’s already preplanned and maybe even prepped if we had time earlier in the week.
We save money: Speaking of eating out, this solves that problem as well. Far too often, we just ate out because we couldn’t think of what to have for dinner. No need to think too hard on it now! We also try to meal plan based around what’s on sale that week, too.
We’re greener:We waste way less food now. Meal planning ensures we only buy food we need for that week’s recipes, not dishes we think we might make but never do.
My best suggestion for starting your meal planning ideas with the bullet journal is to not over-plan. We tried planning every single meal at first and ended up not following it by the end of the week because we had too much food.
Try to account for leftovers and any meals you plan to eat out (if any) beforehand. Fill in those blanks and then plan the rest of the dishes you want to make. Be sure to keep in mind how many servings something makes and if you have leftovers, plan those meals or freeze them for later.
Deciding what meals to make
Like I mentioned earlier, we plan our meal plans around what’s on sale that week. But we also go off of what’s in our pantry/freezer, too. We try to buy as little as possible unless we’re hoping to make a meal or two that we’ve been craving for awhile.
It doesn’t matter how you decide what meals you want to make as long as it works for you!
Planning out your meals with the bullet journal
For me, my actual layout is pretty simple for the meal plan itself: a grid with each mealtime as the column header and each row is the day of the week. Then the blanks are filled in with everything.
If you want to have a reusable layout, I’d suggest using one of these sticky note tabs (depending on the size you need.) This way, you don’t have to redraw the grid every week and you can just swap out the sticky notes.
Like I said, it’s pretty simple. But it works. And simple is key for me to keep it going.
Using the bullet journal for your shopping list
This is one of my favorite bullet journal ideas! Each week, I go through the meals we want to make and compile a list of ingredients I need. So, for example, if I was making the ramen noodle salad that week, my ingredient list include all of the following with space in front of them for a symbol.
Ramen Noodle Salad
14 oz Bag of Coleslaw Mix
2 Packages Ramen Noodles any flavor
1.5 Cups Snap Peas Chopped
1 Cup Green Onions Chopped
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Kernels
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
4 Tbsp White Vinegar
3 Tbsp White Sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Then I go through our fridge, freezer, cupboards, pantry, etc. and make sure we have everything we need. Whatever I have, I mark off with a dash in front or a line through. Whatever I don’t have, I use a symbol from the stencil for so I know I need it.
So for example, with the ramen noodle salad ingredient list, it might look like this:
Ramen Noodle Salad – 14 oz Bag of Coleslaw Mix
➜ 2 Packages Ramen Noodles any flavor – 1.5 Cups Snap Peas Chopped – 1 Cup Green Onions Chopped
➜ 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds – 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Kernels – 1/2 Cup Canola Oil – 4 Tbsp White Vinegar – 3 Tbsp White Sugar – Salt & Pepper to taste
Then when I go shopping, I know exactly what I need and I can cross it off when I put it in the cart. I repeat that for all recipes each week and then make sure I have the bullet journal along with my coupons for our shopping trips.
Using the bullet journal for recipe preparations
If you want to prep anything in advance, or if multiple recipes use the same ingredients where it makes sense to prep them together, you can also track that in your bullet journal. If you use the column/row system like me, just add in the prep that you plan to do that day under the appropriate meal.
You can also track if you need to thaw anything or prep anything in advance. Similar to the prep, just add it to the day/time that you need to do it and what recipe it’s for.
Other Bullet Journal Ideas for Meal Planning
In need of some bullet journal ideas on how to make your meal planning easier? You got it!
Price lists: This is something you can do outside of a bullet journal, but having everything in one place is so nice! Price lists are essentially a list of prices that you can expect to pay for something you regularly buy. This way, you know when it’s a good deal.
Planning large gatherings: With summer approaching, I know we’ll be having more people over. Which means more meal planning and recipe conversion. Use this recipe multiplier and quadruple your favorite recipes for your guests. Then use your bullet journal to plan out your meals, snacks, party supplies and more needed.
Freezer meals: Looking to stock up on meals so you can worry about more important things for awhile? Plan out your freezer meals with your bullet journal. Track the meals you plan to make, the ingredients you need for all of them, the prep you can do/combine for all recipes, etc. You can also use the bullet journal to track what meals you have left in your freezer so they don’t aren’t forgotten.
That’s it! I hope that these bullet journal ideas for meal planning have inspired you and filled you with some sort of hope that you can actually easily meal plan. This has helped us reduce costs and made our day-to-day routine so much simpler. Hopefully it does the same for you!
Do you have any other bullet journal ideas for meal planning? How do you meal plan?