8 Ways To Menu Plan With Happy Planner

Girl, Happy Planner makes menu planning fun. At the very least, you won’t mind doing it! Today I’m going to show you 8 Ways to Menu Plan with Happy Planner. You can thank me later.

8 ways to menu plan with happy planner

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Hey there and welcome! Today we’re going to talk about menu planning. No wait, don’t go! I have good news. Happy Planner makes it fun. If you don’t know about Happy Planner, make sure you read my post How Happy Planner Changed My Life.

Now we aren’t going to get into how to create menu plans, as in how to choose which meals to rotate. I actually discuss that in another post. If you haven’t read my post, Easy Menu Planning, go read it. Go on, we’ll wait for you.

Today we’re just going to chat about how to record your menu plans. So I’m going to show you 8 ways to menu plan with your Happy Planner.

Ways to Menu Plan With Happy Planner

Menu Planner Half Sheets

Okay, you may even wonder why I bring this up. Chances are if you’ve been using Happy Planner ®, you’ve been using these forever. Well, I’m sharing it because there are still a bunch of newbs out there! Every day, Happy Planner converts more people into the obsessive, creative planning world. That’s right, come to the dark side…we have stickers! God knows I have converted more than 30 friends and acquaintances.

In all seriousness though, I’m writing this first idea for the planner newbie who isn’t sure about the basics. Happy Planner actually makes half sheets that are specifically for meal planning. On one side are the days of the week. The reverse side has a grocery list. Super. Easy.

Whether you are doing a online grocery order or heading out to a bricks and mortar store, this will save you time. A piece of advice: splurge on the Food Value Sticker Book. It will make menu planning extra fun!

ways to menu plan with happy planner

The Weekly Spread

This is probably one of the more popular ways. This is how I used to record my meal plans until I was more selective about my weekly planner space. It doesn’t matter what layout you have, there are stickers for every need and every space. Can I get a Hallelujah?!

Also, don’t rule out the power of the dash board. I love using it to write sticky notes to myself. Additionally, the Happy Planner came out with a meal planning coordinating pack and clear stamps.

Menu Plan Weekly Spread

Household Extension Pack

Back in the old days, one of the first extension packs was the Household Extension packs. I loved it and helped me keep my chores done so I could sip wine and have a bubble bath instead of folding clothes at the end of the day. #WINNING

Then, like always Happy Planner outdesigned themselves and came out with an updated version of the Household Extension Pack.

It includes:

  • Chores
  • Menu Planning
  • Budget
  • Projects

On the front you have all seven days of the week with a side-by-side grocery list. On the back, the grocery list continues as well as a planning section for snacks and quick bites. It also includes an area for meal prep or for a recipe. I love this section for writing down recipes so I don’t have to search for it on Pinterest when I’m trying to make it on a school night.

Menu Planning extension pack

Monthly Spread

Wait…the monthly spread? Hear me out, girl. I know planning a month at a time scares the bejeezus out of you. Let me tell you, you can actually save money by doing so. You can include staples over the month so things like Costco and Sam’s Club make sense. You can plan to actually use leftovers. I know what you’re thinking. What if my plans change?

Monthly spread menu planning

If you’re really freaked out by planning so far in advance, don’t. You can fill it in a week at a time. Also, don’t forget about those super cute Happy Planner post-its. Like the ones you’ve been stashing away in your craft cart? Come on, girl. Use them! Post its are great for things that you don’t want to memorialize (e.g. like concrete) in your planner. If plans change you can easily move it to another day. Also, if plans fall through completely, simply throw it away and you haven’t lost any prime real estate on your planner. I always use post its for plans that are tentative. You’re welcome.

Daily Half Sheets

My next suggestion is to use any weekly half sheet. What?? Like the ones that just have the days of the week on them? Yup, those! They can capture any schedule you choose, including your dining schedule! Again, it’s up to you if you plan on capturing all three meals or just dinner plans.

Below, is a picture of one of my actual menu schedules. As you can see, it’s very easy to use. Just don’t judge me for having Tuna on Rye twice. I love it.

Menu Planning with Daily Schedule

Sidebar

One of the simplest, yet best features in a Happy Planner is the sidebar. The sidebar can be used for so many things, but personally, I love using it for lists. Enter…menu planning. That’s right, girl. Just go ahead and park that sweet little menu plan in that parking spot. It makes it easy to refer to it all week! In fact, some value sticker books have heading stickers and list style sidebar stickers. However, the Household value sticker book contains weekly menu plan stickers that fit perfectly in the sidebar.

Menu plan sidebar

Fitness or Wellness Planner

Both the fitness and wellness planner can also be used to track menus. In fact, if you’re dieting, it really does help to write down what you eat because it makes you conscious of what you put in your mouth. Take it from someone who once lost 183 pounds.

There are two fitness planners: the classic fitness and Healthy Hero. Both allow for tracking meals. One thing I started doing this year, was merging my fitness into my wellness planner. If you aren’t familiar with the wellness planner, it’s a planner that focuses more on your body, mind, and soul as opposed to just your body or fitness. But you can certainly adapt it to include your menu or dieting plan.

Ways to Menu Plan with Happy Planner
Menu Planning with the Wellness Planner

Dry Erase Boards

Okay, now for the pièce de résistance…dry erase boards. Dry erase boards made their appearance with the late year / New year release. The dry erase boards were part of the Super Mom, Socialite, Faith Warrior, and Healthy Hero product lines.

I would make one small caution. The dry erase can sometimes smudge off if you are opening and closing your planner a lot. I don’t have that problem because I keep it open all the time on my desk or counter. However, if this becomes a problem for you, simply use wet erase and the problem is solved. I’ve put some of my favorite dry erase and wet erase supplies below.

ways to menu plan with happy planner

There you go, 8 ways to menu plan with Happy Planner! I hope I’ve made this humdrum chore a little easier!

If you currently use a Happy Planner to menu plan, I’d love to hear which is your favorite way to plan in the comments below.

Easy Menu Planning

Are you having a hard time figuring out what to feed your family? Well I have a great method for easy menu planning.

No Plan of Attack

Planning might seem like a lot of work, but I promise it’s worth – and I have a method for easy menu planning. Years ago, I would go nearly empty handed to the grocery store, barring a small list of items we were totally out of. So I would wander the aisles at my grocery store, filling my basket haphazardly with any and all items that were appealing. I’m embarrassed to say how much I spent.

Here in Texas, we have an amazing grocery store: H-E-B. Texans have a strong loyalty to the store because of how much they give back to the public and how well they treat employees. They also have amazing sales. H-E-B does a lot of “buy one get one free” sales as well as well as free items (you buy a meat and they give you the rest of the ingredients free to make a complete meal). They also do something ingenious. They tape all coupons to the item on sale. So as you browse through the store, you seek out items with their bright yellow coupons attached like a scavenger hunt! Therefore, you end up buying a lot more than anticipated! Sly, H-E-B. Sly.

Small amounts add up. Just ask anyone who has bought out of the Target Dollar Spot. That’s why sticking to a list is so important.

Beware of small expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.

Benjamin Franklin

Benefits to Menu Planning

  • Reduce Spending
  • Regular rotation of meals
  • Reduce food taking up space in freezer, fridge, and pantry
  • Reduce trips to the store
  • Order quickly with pick-up or delivery services

Guide to Easy Menu Planning

I recommend doing a weekly shop. However, you can plan your meals on a monthly basis to make it easier and I’m going to show you how – the easy way!

I recommend category planning. This is a regular, rotating schedule of cuisine types. For example, I save crochkpot or Insta-pot meals for Mondays since they are always very busy for us. Tuesday’s are for Mexican (Taco Tuesday) or any other international cuisine you want. Wednesdays are reserved for Italian or pasta based dishes. Thursday my husband often comes home late, so I do a casserole, one-pot meal, or sheet pan dinner. We often go out on Fridays, if you have a night out, you can simply omit a category that week. Saturdays I keep really simple (hot dogs, pizza, etc) and easy. Soup is also a favorite of mine, especially during the fall and winter. I love having a traditional Sunday meal. Since I’m from the South, it’s normally Southern Comfort Food or a Cajun dish. You pick the category types.

Meal Planner by Happy Planner ®

Using this method, you can put together a whole month of menu planning in just a few minutes. I’ve created a sample menu plan in pdf format to give you an idea. You can download it here

Tips to Help

  • Save past menu plans. When you don’t have time to plan, just redo an old week
  • Make a list of all the dishes you know, then choose from that every week
  • Create meal plans around items you already have on hand to save money
  • Sometimes using online ordering can help you curb impulse buys

Menu Planner

Happy Planner has some cute meal planning sheets and extension packs to help you get organized. If you don’ know about Happy Planner, take a look at my blog post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life.

If you like a cheaper, simple, more sleek look, I’ve made a menu planner that can be printed as many times as you need (and you never have to buy again). You can purchase it through my shop here on the blog or you can purchase from my Etsy shop.

Menu Planner
My Beautiful Mess Menu Planner

I hope you like my tips for easy menu planning. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what things you do to make grocery shopping easier.