Meal Planning

We have been meal planning on and off for a few years, and we can tell that it really does make a difference, budget wise, and health wise, when we plan ahead.

We usually sit down for breakfast on Saturday, and talk about what we would like to eat in the following 7 days. We talk mostly about the dinner menus, since DH has free lunch at work, and DS has his lunch at daycare. Breakfast is usually oatmeal and milk, so no planning there either, unless there is a birthday or anniversary coming up… Then we have pancakes with jam and sugar (not the thick american pancakes, thin crêpe like things).

We use the advertisements from the supermarket to help us decide what to have, but we also try to get around the meat-groups every week (ie. fish, poultry, beef and pork). I fear that if we didn’t make an effort on this, we would never eat anything but ground beef. We mostly have pasta or rice on the side, since none of us are particularly fond of potatoes.

When we have found out the dinner menus, and I have made a note of what I would like to have for lunch during the week, we make the grocery list based on what’s already in the cabinets, and what we need for the menus. Then we go over any basic household supplies that are running low (TP, detergent, etc.) and any kitchen stables that we need (milk, fruit, veg, and so on). This all goes on the grocery list on my phone, in an app called ColorNote. I like to use this instead of pen and paper, because it allows me to move the items around so that they correspond to the layout of the supermarket we’re going to. I used to do this by hand, but I got all perfectionist and would rewrite the grocery list 3 times, because I made a mistake. This is much easier, and less wasteful, and I can send the list as a text message to DH, if I need to.

We usually go shopping right after breakfast (or when the shop opens at 8, if DS decided we needed an early day). That way it’s out of the way, so we can concentrate on other chores and just being together for the rest of the day.

One of the major things we need to work on, are the vegetable portion of our dinners. Mostly we have none (I know, I know), although we use a lot of vegetables when we make pasta sauce and lasagna and stuff like that. But my imagination is somewhat lacking in this department, and we usually end up with a salad, when the veg can’t go in the main dish. A salad can be okay, but I don’t like tomatoes or radishes and a lot of other raw vegetables, so it gets boring real fast – there is a limit to how often you really want to have an iceberg lettuce and cucumber salad with dinner. Maybe we just need to practice actually planning to have vegetables with our dinner, and then get more imaginative when we have gotten the habit in check.


My Life Planner

I call this my life planner, but I suppose I could have called it my Home Management Journal, or Notebook or Binder, or whatever. But since it’s not concentrated solely on my home, but on my whole life, I found Life Planner to be more appropriate. Most of the pages, I made myself, was in a binder I called the Brain before, I just printed them out again, to go in my planner.

My planner is set up in a black A5 Filofax Domino. I love how it fits in my (big) bag and I can bring it everywhere. The size also makes it easier for me to make my own pages, as well as use the abundance of printables available online, and just print two pages on one sheet of A4 paper, cut in half, punch holes with my one-hole punch, and I’m ready to use it.

I have set up this planner so that my family can look at it, if they want (no secrets here), but I don’t expect them to. My dh has very little interest in it, he’d rather just ask me for any info, and ds is only two years old. But when for example the baby comes in late October, dh will be able to look in my planner and find a checklist of all the stuff ds has to bring to the daycare every day, and other stuff that will make both his and my life easier, while I concentrate on the baby.

Materials used

The materials I’ve used, besides the Filofax and one-hole punch, are:

  • The Filofax week per two-pages calendar
  • Green paper for the dividers
  • Dividers tabs
  • Zipper pouch for highlighters
  • Highlighters (5 colors)
  • Plastic folder for prescriptions and other loose paper, I don’t want to hole punch
  • Pen and pencil
  • Notepad


I have divided my planner in to 8 categories, that pretty much sums up my life, as it is right now.

The first divider is my calendar. On the green divider page I have an index of what is in the planner, so I can find everything quickly. Behind the divider page I have a few months worth of monthly overviews, that have room for both mine, dh’s, ds’ and our shared appointments. I made these using the Danish site Behind those I have the Filofax week per two-page calendar. I write all of my own appointments here, as well as the appointments the rest of the family have. I also put what’s for dinner on each day. I use a color coding system to make it easier to see who has what engagements, at a glance. I use pink for me, green for the family, blue for household chores and dinner menus, yellow for to dos and don’t forgets and orange for birthdays, anniversaries and the likes.

The next divider is my goals section, which should be pretty self explanatory. I have written out my personal core values and a personal mission statement, which I use to determine my priorities. I have goals regarding my body (post baby), home and family.

I write out my goals by hand, because it gives me a greater feeling of attachment, than writing them in a word processing program. I use the blue paper that came with the Filofax, to make my goals stand out.

The third divider holds all my lists. Movies and series I’d like to watch, books I want to read, places I want to see, jobs I have applied for (for use in meetings with the unemployment fund) and finally a master to do list. I also have a bible reading plan, since it is one of my dreams to read the bible cover to cover. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, though. Not sure what is stopping me, but I intend to find out some day, so I can get over it and start reading.

The fourth divider is my house and home divider. This has my zone cleaning lists, inspired by, as well as a master weekly schedule of cleaning chores that (should) get done every week. This is one of the sections of my life that needs a lot of work, so I won’t get further in to it here.

The fifth divider also needs some work on the irl side. It is my food and exercise divider, and for now it holds our weekly menu plans, a master shopping list from Tosca Reno’s website,, and my dream exercise plan. This divider is mainly about meal planning for now, since I am pregnant and have decided to wait with my body goals until after I have given birth and my body has had a chance to recover somewhat. The health authorities here in Denmark suggest you wait 6 to 8 weeks to start up any exercise and diet program, so that’s what I’ll do. That being said, I am of course making a conscious effort to stay healthy during my pregnancy.

The sixth divider is our family divider. This holds packing lists for trips and outings and one page per family member with our health information, for example our social security numbers, blood type and any allergies. Health care in Denmark is free, so we don’t really need any health insurance, except maybe to cover dental, which is not free.

The seventh divider is ds (I have his real name here, of course). It holds checklists for daycare and when he has to go to a guest daycare. It also holds a list of what to pack for his diaper bag, which these days is mainly diapers and wipes, and not that much else. I also plan to make pages for recording any medication and supplements he has to take, for example iron drops.

The eight divider is called Baby, because the baby hasn’t gotten a name yet (we have been told from the ultra sound that it is a girl, but we don’t want to settle on a name before we see her for ourselves). This divider holds a packing list for the hospital, for the birth, and some pages I made for a baby calendar (for recording poopy diapers, feedings and so on) – the inspiration for these pages comes from a commercially made calendar we bought when ds was a baby, and it was a great help for the first few months, but a whole year was way too much, so we decided not to buy one for the new baby.

And that is it. That is what I have in my life planner for now. It works great for my life now, but hopefully one day I will get to put a work divider in there as well. I have also thought about putting a divider in it to record my progress with regards to my social phobia, but my therapist and I have decided that I should wait to work on it any further until after I have given birth, and actually need to talk to people again.