{click here to download}

I find that planning our weekly menus saves time, money and energy. During this busy time of gardening, harvesting and preserving there are even more obstacles to overcome. For one I am currently inundated with produce from our csa, our garden (well, sort of), and the farmers market. In order to prevent waste and keep up with all of the fresh produce I had to develop a new menu planner with a few new features. Let me show you how I use these different features to simplify my meal planning.


This is where I list the produce that we have on hand that needs to get used within the week. Some things like carrots and beets would be left off of the list in favor of more perishable items like greens and berries. By having this list I am able to plan my meals around what needs to get eaten immediately, thereby avoiding waste.


This is where I list the items that I have plenty of in the pantry or refrigerator/freezer. So when I have 4 quarts of homemade chicken stock sitting in there I know I need to plan a couple of meals like soups or beans cooked in stock.

Meal Ideas

With my old menu planner I always wanted a space where I could just jot down some ideas for meals that sounded good or that could be made given my pantry and produce lists. This area allows me to jot down 7 meals in no particular order. I can then sort them out by days in the actual menu plan.

Grocery List

This one speaks for itself. Right now I am finding that I don’t have much of a need for the grocery store, but when there is a meal on my meal ideas list that requires a special ingredient I can jot it down here.

I find that this new menu plan is working well for me during this busy season of abundance. I hope it helps you as well.

This post is a contribution to real food Wednesday.


14 Responses to A Menu Planning System for Summer

  1. Cool planner, I love how pretty it looks, mine is printed from a very basic spreadsheet. I have a bit of a challenge planning meals these days. I menu plan on Monday but pick up produce from the FM on Wed and the farm on Thursday. So I’m using up what we got last week and then planning vague meals with what I know we’ll get. Ie: a zucchini meal or broccoli meal (we base our meals around veggies).

    I buy almost all my pantry goods from a buying club and that’s a once a month order so my pantry is pretty much stocked with the same goods week to week. Except that last week before the order arrives can be iffy if we run out of something, like pbutter this last time!

    Each week I make a trip, as part of my weekly errands, to the health food store to get little things that aren’t available or aren’t cheaper through the buying club.

    Way more information than you wanted to know..


  2. Denise says:

    that is a great idea! it seems as if I menu plan after I go grocery shopping. it should be the other way around. I will get it figured out one of these days. I might have to try this.


  3. What a great menu planner! I’m thinking of doing something similar for the winter to make sure that we use the produce that I put up this summer. You’ve inspired me to make mine a little more attractive!


  4. What a great menu planner! I’m thinking of doing something similar for the winter to make sure that we use the produce that I put up this summer. You’ve inspired me to make mine a little more attractive!

    I shared your post on my blog today.


  5. CHEESESLAVE says:

    I LOVE this! Printing it now.

    It is pretty but more importantly it is so well-designed.

    Thank you!


  6. Pamela says:

    Very well laid out planner. Like you ideas to eliminate the waste we so often encounter when we are inundated with the overflow of produce.


  7. emily says:

    i love this! it’s exactly what i need, thanks so much!


  8. Heather says:

    Thank you for the wonderful planner. I’m going to try it this week!


  9. [...] @ Nourishing Days, A Menu Planning System for Summer Today I share a free download for a menu planning system for the busy harvest time of summer. It is [...]

  10. Great menu-plan template! I’m going to have to try it, I’ve been bad about actually writing down my meal plans, and I think it would help a lot…


  11. I agree! Meal Planning is the way to go. :-) Thanks for being part of the carnival last week!


  12. [...] what’s for dinner.  I started out with a plan that covered breakfast, lunch and dinner (see plan here), but after using it a few weeks I quickly saw that I needed a plan that focused on dinners (see [...]

  13. [...] Nourishing Days has a weekly menu plan template that I am trying this week. She has a section for produce that needs to be used up, one for excess pantry items, one for meal ideas, and one for the grocery list. I don’t need the grocery list so I may end up creating my own version, but this is a good start for my mostly gluten-free week. [...]

  14. [...] I mentioned in my Daybook entry yesterday, I printed out a copy of Nourishing Day’s Weekly Menu Plan and I used it to mostly plan for this week as I experiment with being mostly gluten-free. I ended [...]

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