[Update:] Now with a second page for the weekend plus expanded shopping list! See below.
Last year I introduced the Weekly Bento Planner, a simple form to plan your bento lunches. It’s been very popular, and both files have been downloaded thousands of times.
One comment I got several times was that the form was fine for mapping out the week’s bento plans, but what if you wanted to plan all of your meals for the week too? To address this need, after a lot of thinking and testing - and just in time for the Bento Challenge! - I present you the Weekly Menu Planner With Bento Lunch form.
(Click on the image to get to the flickr page where you can see it at a large size.)
This form has Monday to Friday columns for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. The key feature though is the Lunch box, which looks like this:
As you can see, it’s divided up like a mini bento box. There are sections for protein, carbs, and vegetables, with a small area for fruits and snacks. The section sizes are meant to represent more or less how much of each kind of macro-nutrient food items you should try to pack into your bento box. (The vegetable section is bigger on purpose, to encourage you to pack more of them.) Here’s a box filled out:
You can use the sections as-is for straightforward bentos, but don’t let the lines hold you in! On days when you have a combination food, such as spinach fritatta (protein and vegetable) you can write it so that it spans both Protein and Veg sections. Or, if you’re planning to go to a restaurant, you can write that over the whole box. Zoom in on the large image on the flickr page (click All Sizes at top) to see how you can use it.
If you want a simple form to just plan out your lunches, the original Weekly Bento Planner is for you. But if you want to plan your whole eating day a bit more, you might want to give this form a try.
You could use either form as a diary instead of a planner too. If you really want to go the extra step, use one form to plan out your meals, and another one to record what you actually ate. (I did this for a week and it was a bit depressing. Potato chips are the bane of my existence I tell ya.)
I’ve now added a Page 2 to cover the weekend! Click on the image below go to the Flickr page, where you can enbiggen it:
As you see, I’ve added two columns for Saturday and Sunday, and used the other side of the page for a shopping list, or notes, or whatever. You could print this on the back side of the weekday planner to save some trees.
The Weekly Menu Planner With Bento Lunch forms are PDF files. Windows users will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader. (Mac users can open and print the forms in Preview.) You may need to select the Fit On Page or similar setting on your printer to make everything print.
Special thanks to Antje, who made all the different language forms for us!
Thank you to Antje for the German versions!
Thank you to Momoko * Bárbara for the Portuguese versions!
The following are .zip files containing both the Weekly Meal Planner and the Weekly Bento Planner pages in each language.
French planner pages (thanks Céine!)
Norwegian planner pages (thanks Ren!)
Hungarian planner pages (thanks Ren!)
Related forum discussion: How do you plan your bentos?
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