Free Menu Planning Resources

Menu planning can make your life easier, sure – but did you know that it’s easier on the budget as well? When you’re not rushed into a dinner plan, you’re not tempted toward takeout. Planning meals in advance also allows you to make great use of the items you bought at a great price (taking advantage of that stockpile!). Often, coming up with recipes that will work is half the battle!

Understandably, online menu planning services are becoming quite popular. For a small monthly fee, you can have a menu and shopping list provided for you each week. Of course, there are always cheaper options to find similar information with a little effort. Since many of you have made meal planning a resolution for the new year, here’s a list of FREE resources to get you started!

FREE Menu Planning Websites, Services & Resources

5 Dollar Dinners Weekly Meal Plan
Erin at 5 Dollar Dinners links up 5 frugal recipes each week, plus some extras, along with a complete ingredients list.

Make Dinner Easy
Each week, you’ll find five free simple weekly dinner menus, quick & easy dinner recipes, and an organized free printable grocery list. Each menu includes kid-friendly recipes that use fresh fruits and vegetables and a minimum of processed ingredients.

Menu Planning Monday at Organizing Junkie
Bloggers from everywhere link up their weekly menu plans each Monday. You’re bound to find a ton of meal ideas if you don’t mind hopping around!

Monthly Menu Planner
A free website full of meal and menu planning ideas, complete with recipes and grocery lists. You can also create your own custom menu! Sample menu calendar

Once a Month Mom
Freezer-friendly meals for each month that feature seasonal grocery specials – available in 2 formats, traditional and diet! Look back through previous menus for great ideas as well. Also great information on making and freezing homemade baby food.

Say Mmm…
A free meal planning calendar helps you keep all your recipes and meal ideas organized in one place. There are daily meal ideas for when you need a little inspiration, and you can automatically create shopping lists from your meal plan. Smart phone accessible.

Secrets of Healthy Eating
Features three weeks of healthy meal plans (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You could easily rotate these for a 21-day plan:
Meal Plan Week 1

Meal Plan Week 2

Meal Plan Week 3

Register (at no cost) to receive 5 meal and 2 side dish ideas via email each week. You can add your own recipes and quickly create a shopping list (grouped by grocery aisle!) based on your choices for the week. Sample weekly menu

Woman’s Day Month of Menus
A complete dinner menu for the month with a side dish recommendation and printable shopping list. Take a look at previous months for ideas as well!

An article to get you started…

Menu Planning Made Easy by the Hillbilly Housewife
Great information on how to plan meals based on the three basic methods: the night before, a week/2 weeks/month at a time, or a rotating menu plan.

Plus printable forms to help you put your ideas on paper!

Printable Menu Planning Pack from Money Saving Mom
You’ll find fourteen different customizable forms you can print – you can even modify them and save to your computer. If you like to reuse menu plans, this is a great option to have! You’ll find shopping lists, one-week, two-week, and month-long planners in different formats, so you’re sure to find something that works for you.

Can you think of a website I’ve missed? Please comment!

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
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    Wow! Thanks so much for the resources! One of my goals for 2011 is to get back to following a menu so this is a huge help! :-)

  2. 3

    savysaver says

    AWESOME!!! Just started menu planning with my girls this week as a New Year’s resolution. Trying to introduce new foods every few days and stay away from those “fast food” nights that seem to happen way to frequently.

  3. 4

    Elizabeth says

    Thanks for the great list. I menu plan each week but I feel like sometimes it takes me forever. I think having these resources on hand will be a huge help. :)