Have you always wanted to finally get organized with your meal planning and recipes? Well, I'm here to explain to you the first step to making meal planning a simple reality. It's recipe organization! I'm talking about a doable, simple way to keep your recipes and meal ideas organized. You can even download my printable for free!
You will need:
- 3 ring binder
- page protectors
- your recipes that you actually use
Purchase a nice size 3 ring binder. I started with a 1" and ended up having to switch to a 3". You will also need lots of page protectors. I found them to be the cheapest on Amazon. For the dividers, I used the sticky divider tabs.
Download the pages below to set up your different categories for your meals binder. You can use them all or just a few. It's up to you! There are two folders to download for this.
Download these pages to put in the front of your binder. This is where you are going to write down all the different meals your family eats. This way, you don't have to look through the entire binder to come up with meals. It will all be in the first few pages, categorized. You should hand write the meals so that you can always add to the lists whenever you try out a new recipe that you love.
*TIP: ONLY ADD THE MEALS AND RECIPES YOU LOVE! In my house, we have to love the recipe enough to want it again in order for it to make it into the binder. I don't add in any new recipes until we've tried it.
Collect all your favorite, go-to recipes. This is the most time consuming part, but once it's done, you will be much more organized. So, get out all those cook books, magazine pages, and Pinterest recipes.
- First, I printed out all my Pinterest recipes that I use. Slide each of them into page protectors.
- Then, I went through all the magazines I was keeping for recipes and simply tore out all the recipes I wanted and put those into page protectors and threw out the rest of the magazine that I didn't need anymore.
- For all the random cookbooks, I just used my phone to take clear pictures of the recipes and then printed them out and put them in page protectors.
- I even have some recipes that are just written on post it notes or old school recipe cards. Don't worry about making them look pretty - just put that post it note or recipe card in the page protector.
- TIP: You may want to print out more than one copy of some of the recipes. For example, if it's a crockpot recipe or Instapot recipe, I usually print 2 copies, one for the meat it's under and one for the cooking method. So for Crockpot Chicken Tacos, I have a copy under Chicken and under Crockpot. This is just personal preference. I just don't want to have to remember, Did I put that recipe under crockpot or chicken? This way, I can turn to either one and it will be there.
Fill in your "Ideas lists" that go at the front of the binder. These don't just have to be the recipes, but all the meals you typically eat for dinner. For example, I have Grilled Chicken down on my Chicken list, but there's no recipe for it; it's just a common meal we eat. It's just a place for you to quickly go to when you start meal planning. So, add pizza, topsy turvy, spaghetti, tacos, etc. on these lists even if you don't have a recipe printed out for it.
Put your binder together. The page that says Recipes is obviously the cover. Then, put in your Ideas Lists. Again, just use the ones you want; it may not be all of them. Then start adding in all the recipes and categories. Every page should be in a page protector. That way it's easy to add more and the recipes stay clean. Keep all your extra page protectors in the back.
Use the sticky divider tabs to mark your categories. You can print out the labels from my file or you can just write on them. If you print them, just cut each one out and tape it on. No need to be fancy. Then stick each one one the category page. Click here for the printed labels.