By now we've all heard that one of the main ways to reduce your grocery bill and food waste is to meal plan, but where do you start? A couple of months ago I found a magnetic menu board from the Target Dollar Spot and thought I was well on my way. Each week, I would take a look at our family calendar and determine what meals I would make based on what we had going on each day. Late swim class? Trader Joe's Mandarin Chicken for the win. Lazy Sunday at home? Barbara Lynch's rigatoni pasta (a family favorite) with a nice bottle of wine. It worked...somewhat. I mean, it certainly helped us be aware of our schedule and plan accordingly but it also wasn't as efficient as it could be. Then a couple of weeks ago I heard about The Seamless Meal Planner by Allie Peach and I was ready to pitch the menu board and give it a try.
What sets The Seamless Meal Planner® apart from the rest is that it is inventory-based. Designed for making the most of what you already have on hand, it helps you to maximize on every dollar while also reducing food waste. With a beautifully illustrated cover and hand-lettered accents throughout, the planner is as pretty to look at as it is efficient to use.
The 132 page planner features:
• A5 (5.8x8.3") pages with your choice of 3, 6 or no hole punch, making it easy to add to your daily planner or half-page binder of choice.
• 3 Months of undated, weekly meal plans
• Usefuls Guides such as the kitchen conversions and substitutions quick reference guide, pesticides in produce guide, and a "what's in season" guide
• Go-to family favorites page
• Weekly inventory list (my favorite feature)
• Weekly meal brainstorming 2-page spread
• Lined notes pages
• Weekly meal plan 2-page spreads
• Front-and-back grocery lists
• Spaces for reminders and recipe locations
By far, my favorite feature is the weekly inventory list. A quick check in the fridge and the pantry allows me to make note of what I already have on hand so I can build on that rather than buying things I already have and, therefore, don't need. It also helps me to remember the things I need to use quickly before they go bad.
My second favorite feature is just having everything in one place. No longer do I have the menu planner on the fridge, the grocery list at my desk, the family calendar in the daily planner, and a list of the kids' favorite meals in the cookbook...now it's all in one place. That makes grocery shopping a breeze because I have my list right there and am able to quickly reference back to things as needed.
Oh, and the grocery list is broken down into sections like Produce, Bread, Dairy/Refrigerated, etc which is genius especially in those rare occasions that I send the husband to the store in my place. Having it all laid that way ensures that nothing is missed and that we aren't having to double back to the produce section for those onions that were down at the bottom of the list.
So if you are ready to toss all the scrap pieces of paper and commit to an easier shopping and meal planning experience, go grab the Seamless Meal Planner now by clicking here. If you feel like you need a little more help in the kitchen than a meal planner can offer, check out Allie's Meal Planning Course. It's packed with all kinds of information on how to meal plan around your life, write an effective grocery list, choose the right recipes and stretch your grocery budget while putting your health first. Not ready to commit just yet? No worries. Allie has a ton of great blog posts on everything from budgeting to packing the kids' lunches that you can find here. It's a great way to test out the waters and get familiar with The Seamless Meal Plan before making a purchase. Either way, go check it out. Your budget, your waist line and your sanity can thank me later.
Photography by Paiges of Gray
Disclaimer: Paiges of Gray was gifted this product by The Seamless Meal Planner in exchange for an honest review, but, as always, all of the opinions expressed are my own.
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