Build Your Own Weekly Meal Plan Template

asian stir fried noodles with beef peppers and onions panorama

For those of us that need to focus and address our goals of balanced family dinners, here is a template that I made for my family to help ease the struggles of rushed, chaotic and unplanned dinner time routines.

Assess Your Week
• Identify days of the week where you or your family get home later, have evening sporting events, meetings, etc. and making dinner is just not in the cards, primarily for limited time.

• Identify days of the week where you will likely be tired, stressed or more fatigued than others. Maybe it’s the middle of the work week slump or maybe you have weekly meetings on a particular day and it just drains your energy.

• Identify possible days where you can feasibly cook a relatively fast and straight forward meal, or days maybe when you’re off of work and can throw something in the slow cooker or make a large meal to eat off of for a few intermittent meals throughout the week.

Plan Your Goals
• Aim for one or two meals out where you are not prepping, cooking or cleaning up. For example, this could be dinner one night during the week and a lunch on the weekend. This will not only help with your nutrition goals but also help with limiting food waste.


Build Your “No-Recipe” Collection
• Create a stock of easy, quick meals so that you can have meals in a cinch – without looking back and forth at a recipe. These meals can be really great for those nights you’ve determined that you’re home too late or too mentally or physically fatigued to cook.

• Staple or family favorite recipes like tacos, stir fry or spaghetti and meatballs that you’ve made so many times, you don’t need to look at the recipe.

• Skillet meals are also great to try and add to your collection. These should be relatively few ingredients where almost, if not all, the ingredients can be made in one dish or pan.

• Sheet pan meals are just that – everything on a large pan – focusing on lots of veggies and lean protein to keep everyone full and energized. They could take upwards of 30-45 minutes to bake in the oven, but the oven does most of the work and cleanup is simple.


Put it All Together {sample meal plan}

• Monday and Tuesday – It’s the start of the work week and you may still be refreshed from the weekend, cook something easy like a skillet or sheet pan meal from your recipe box.

• Wednesday and Thursday – The middle of the week may cause you to start feeling tired and overwhelmed. Utilize leftovers or plan take out.

• Friday – You are ready for the weekend. Celebrate by throwing something on the grill or assembling easy, semi-homemade pizzas and having a movie night.

• Saturday and Sunday – Maximize your time and energy by preparing some meals that are comforting but may require more of your attention. Pot roast, enchiladas, stews and soups may be good ideas.

 

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Rebecca Miller, MPH, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who shares recipes + inspiration on her blog, Twisted Nutrition. She can be reached at TwistedNutritionBlog.com or via email BMillerRD85@gmail.com.

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