With the Plan It- Don’t Panic meal planning challenge beginning this Monday morning, now seemed like the perfect time to share some really helpful resources to help you succeed with your menus.

Learn more about how to make meal planning work (and some different methods for doing it), find tons of my favorite online recipes and cookbooks, and score some great resources for planning and tracking all of your meal planning efforts.

The How-To of Meal Planning:

Healthy and frugal meal planning help Part 1 and Part 2 (this is my weekly method that works based on shopping once every two weeks or so)

A Seasonal Menu Plan (this is a method that requires more planning up front but can be used for months at a time with little effort afterwards)

Healthy Homemaking: Meal Planning Primer (some basics on meal planning)

Organization in the Real Food Kitchen: Planning to Make Food Preparation Happen (so that what you plan actually ends up on the table!)

Organization in the Real Food Kitchen: Meal Planning (includes my 21 meals list and how I do monthly meal planning)

Cook More Real Food: This was an event that I ran over a year ago, with 4 different components-  Pantry Inventory, Fridge and Freezer Inventory, Meal Planning and a Freezer Cooking day. There are several videos within these posts, showing how I do my inventories and planning.

My Recipe Binder

A Basic Guide to Menu Planning and Back to the Basics: Menu Planning, both @ Simple Mom

A New Way to Menu Plan, 9 Tips to Successful Meal Planning and Menu Planning 101 @ Simple Bites

Recording Your Menu Plan

Plan to Eat (an online meal planning program that allows you to store recipes, categorize and tag them, pull in recipes from your favorite sites, make simple drag and drop menus, create instant shopping lists and more)

ListPlanIt (these are the printable/downloadable organizing lists that I have been using for a couple of years now- their meal planning ones are fantastic, and I use so many other lists with my membership as well)

Sunday Planning @ Design Finch (seriously adorable free printables- menu planning, weekly planning, cleaning charts, everything!)

Free menu planning printables @ Money Saving Mom (This include many different variations on meal planning- one week, 2 week, monthly, shopping lists, and options like vertical or horizontal)

Free Daily Docket and Grocery Shopping printables @ Simple Mom (This is the grocery shopping list that I use- I print out extras and keep them on top of my fridge. The daily docket is more of a general organizer, but includes rooms for meal planning if you want something that will multi-task for you.)

Weekly Menu Planning and Shopping Lists @ Life…Your Way (these are among a HUGE list of other free printables, over 150! Pick and choose individual ones for free, or download the entire package in nicely organized folders for only $7)

Evernote.com– I’m the first to confess that I just don’t “get” Evernote. People rave about it, I’ve tried it out and haven’t found it particularly helpful. I do know that they have a desktop app, as well as a phone app. Maybe those who use and love Evernote could share in the comments how you use it and why you love it?

iPhone/iPad apps- I don’t use this option at all, but there are sooo many apps out there. Does anyone want to share which ones they use?

Google Docs– I know that many people simply create a free google doc and store their menu plan in there, just tweaking it weekly or monthly, however you do your planning. You can also save previous menu plans if you like, so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week, but sometimes just recycle a previous menu plan.

Google Calendar– Although I don’t use this for my meal planning, I use it for all of my blog planning, and for our family calendar, and I think it is fabulous. You can repeat events if your family doesn’t mind the repetition (but you can choose how often they repeat- once a week, every two weeks, every month, every 3rd Friday, etc.) and have reminders sent to your email. I know that Tsh from Simple Mom uses this method.

Image by Annie Mole


A selection of my favorite whole foods recipe ebooks:

In the Kitchen ebooks

Healthy Snacks to Go (love the many simple but wholesome snack ideas in this one- our favorite are the mock-Larabars!)

The Everything Beans Book (if you’re looking to include more frugal and nutritious bean recipes in your meal plans, this is the book for you)

In the Kitchen- Real Food Basics (lots of information and basic, wholesome recipes for those just starting out with whole and traditional foods)

Treat Yourself (so, maybe this one isn’t truly necessary for menu planning, but yummy nonetheless- healthy desserts!)

Against the Grain (grain-free recipes, many of which are suitable for GAPS or SCD)

Simple Food {for winter} and Simple Food {for spring} – Both of these books are packed with delicious seasonal recipes. The winter one has a lot of comforting soups and stews in particular.

Real {Fast} Food (another one with wonderful basics on nourishing cooking and lots of simple, tasty recipes)

Fresh- A Salad Cookbook (this is from The Nourishing Gourmet, one of my favorite food blogs and a dear friend as well, and the recipes are wonderful. Lots of main dish salads, as well as green salads and various side salads, some grain salads and more.)

Sourdough from A to Z (this sourdough ebook is amazing- tons of recipes for everything from breakfasts, breads, desserts, as well as main dish items like tortillas, biscuits, pizza dough and more)

Other Recipe Books:

Sue Gregg Cookbooks (I have and adore the grains book and use it frequently. Her other books are also awesome and on my wish-list. Very simple, family-friendly yet nutritious.)

Jamie at Home (I love this book by Jamie Oliver. Some recipes are more complex than I prefer, but I am still often inspired and have loved some of the simpler recipes. The food and garden photos just make me swoon.)

Nourishing Traditions (probably still my favorite cookbook after many years)

Image by homard.net

Recipe Blogs I Like:

Recipe index here at Keeper of the Home (yes, shameless self-promotion)

Simple Bites

Heavenly Homemakers (so many that are very simple and wholesome, yet kid friendly)

The Nourishing Gourmet (for those who need it, there are a lot of dairy free recipes here, but just a wide variety in general)

Kitchen Stewardship

Passionate Homemaking

Nourishing Days

Naturally Knocked Up


Modern Alternative Mama

Frugal Granola (plenty of gluten-free recipes here)

A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa

The Purposed Heart

AllRecipes (not a food blog, but I still go to this site often when I’m looking for something in particular. Just skip over the recipes with processed-food ingredients and you can often make easy adaptations to make a recipe healthier. I love the ingredient search function and store a ton of recipes in my Recipe Box.)

Phew! I hope that is helpful!

For those who are new to all of this and feeling a bit overwhelmed, here’s my suggestion. Don’t look at a whole bunch of these links. Pick a few that sound particularly helpful or interesting and look at only those ones. Maybe it’s some new recipe inspiration, or some great printable pages for writing down your menu plan. Just don’t overwhelm yourself with too much “good” stuff (because when you get overwhelmed, even good stuff isn’t useful).

What are your favorite meal planning and recipe resources?

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links mixed in to this post. They’re mostly for recipe books or programs that I really like and personally use. I don’t recommend things that I wouldn’t use myself or can’t stand behind. There is no obligation at all to use my links if you purchase anything, but know that when you do it helps to support this site, so thank you!