A Guide to Planning Your Meals for the Week

Life gets busy, but that should not get in the way of you having a delicious home-cooked entrée/dish/recipe every evening. It’s easy to get in the routine of dinner planning, so you always know what is on the menu for the whole week.

Start by making a list of a wide variety of entrees that you enjoy preparing and eating. Vary the type of cuisine by including meals with Italian, Mexican, Chinese, or classic American influences. Choose options that incorporate different starches, like pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. Lastly, vary the proteins on the list by including vegetarian, pork, chicken, seafood, and ground beef recipes in your plan.

Steps to fill in your meal plan for the week

Identify which evenings you will have more time to cook, and which evenings you will need to eat right after you get home.

  1. Fill in slow cooker recipes for nights when you will need to eat immediately after getting home. Many chicken recipes allow you to spend just a few minutes in the morning putting the ingredients in your slow cooker. You will come home to a delicious dinner in the evening.
  2. Choose a make-ahead meal for nights when you will be at home for a little while before dinner, but have things to do besides cooking. Manycasserole recipes can be prepared on the weekend and frozen. Thaw the casserole in the fridge during the day and pop it in the oven to reheat when you get home.
  3. Fill in the other meals for the week with dinners that use different main ingredients and are from a different family of cuisine. If you have a gap in your meal plan, decide what type of dinner you would like and search for a new recipe that fits the bill.
  4. Meal planning is an ideal way to reduce dinnertime chaos and allow you to avoid ordering take-out when you don’t know what to cook. Plus, it allows you to save lots of time on shopping because you can make your full list and make one trip to the store that will cover meals for the whole week. Each time you make a week of meal plans and a grocery list, save these and don’t be afraid to reuse them next month!
  5. Don’t forget to take advantage of the quick shortcuts at your local grocery store. Pre-made rotisserie chicken can be transformed from dull to delicious by adding it to a salad, layering in a quesadilla, or pairing it with frozen veggies.