Making A Weekly Menu Plan

There are a couple of things we do every day. I believe cooking nourishing homemade meals can be part those daily habits. As it becomes a habit, it takes less time to cook and clean up.

Daily meals are based on a well-stocked kitchen and become possible with a weekly menu plan.  I find it is as hard, if not harder to think about WHAT to make as it is to actually make it. Knowing ahead of time—and having the ingredients on hand—can make the difference between a homemade dinner and a drive-through dinner.

Here’s my process:

  1. Choose recipes for five dinner meals alternating vegetarian (generally based on grains or beans) and omivore (usually fish and poutlry, every now and again beef or pork)
  2. Choose wholesome breakfast recipes that can be prepared ahead of time, or fairy quickly
  3. Make a weekly shopping list of needed ingredients as each recipe is selected; list items in organized sections: produce, dry goods, fish/poultry/meats. I may be stating the obvious, but having an organized grocery list makes for more efficient shopping.
  4. Plan the cooking process to do a couple of things at a time; this reduces cooking time
  5. Wash up as I go to avoid dirty bowls, pots and measuring cups from piling up
  6. Maximize the cooking effort to jumpstart a meal the next day, and/or prep dinner’s leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch

It can become a ritual rather than an ordeal. With the technological barrage of gadgets and noise, there’s something de-stressing as I chop, shred and stir. It’s an opportunity to be present in the moment. Being mindful of all the wonderful ingredients available to us infuses the food with goodness. Breathe deep and inhale the aromas. Taste a spoonful, rolling flavors around with your tongue.

Cooking can be a labor of love,—for our bodies, our health and people we care about.

The more you cook, the easier it will get. Things that seemed complicated will take less time and become more routine. Making homemade dinner can become a regular habit.

If your schedule—or cooking interest—doesn’t make the homemade meals on my weekly menus seems do-able think about what might work best for you: Slow cooker meals allowing you to put everything in the pot and come home to a cooked dinner? Meals you can make ahead and have in the freezer?

My wish for you is that when you sit down to eat, you and your family will enjoy homemade food so much, you will look forward to making and eating the next meal.


Additional Meal Planning Resources

Slow Cooker Meals

56 clean eating recipes from Tiffany at The Gracious Pantry. Clean eating focuses on eating natural, unprocessed food without unhealthy additives or preservatives.

Freezer Meals

Check out Tiffany McCauley’s freezer meal section on The Gracious Pantry. She also has a book The Gracious Pantry Clean Eating Freezer Meals.  This guide includes the basics of clean eating, proper freezing techniques, and budget-friendly shopping tips.

Quick Dinners 31 Meals

One month of simple dinners that are healthy, affordable and delicious from Minimalist Baker; a downloadable ebook for $29

Family Meals from Weelicious

I’m a HUGE proponent of “one family, one meal”, as Catherine McCord so successfully advocates and makes possible. Weelicious is one of my favorite resources for delicious, wholesome recipes. She also has crockpot recipes for quick, healthy food your family will love. Her Weelicious Menus for $8 a month include 5 weekly dinner recipes, tips to get kids involved in the kitchen, monthly freezer meal recipe and one-stop shopping list.

Meal Plan Ideas and Resources

If reducing or cutting out processed foods is new for you, 100 Days of Real Food is an incredible resource. Lisa Leake helps busy families who want to cut out processed foods and eat real food. Check out her very helpful ideas resources for meal plans.

Vegan Meal Planning

I like Kris’ conversational tone and her ability to break things down into easy to follow steps. Her Crazy Sexy Meal Plan has great advice and includes a shopping list.