At Home Menu Planning

A week in advance, my boyfriend and I really try to make a weekly meal menu; well more so me than him, because I’m the designated cook and he’s the designated cleaner – Works for me!

I felt compelled to share our menu planning template because of his dear sweet mother. She basically told him that she wanted to make healthier choices when it came to food and needed some help. My friends and many others have this issue when it comes to food. We all want to make healthier choices but its difficult when juggling a busy schedule and more so, when you have kids.

Our menu plan below:
Saves time & money – you’ll know what and how much to buy
Cuts out the guessing game of “what to eat?” (which for me, always ends with me ordering greasy take out)
Helps you make healthier choices everyday
Keeps track of the things you eat
Helps with counting calories
Keeps you organized

Below is an example of our weekly menu. Feel free to create your own or you can always copy and print out mine. Put it in a place where the entire family can see it and use. If you’re not home in time, your significant other will know what to make for dinner.

Menu Example

I usually take a few minutes on Fridays to create mine; doing this helps me to compile my shopping list for grocery shopping on Saturdays. My sample menu is formatted by the days of the week and meals I plan to eat during the course of the day. I always start off with the dinner section, because that helps me move around any remaining or leftover ingredients throughout the menu.

For example…….

Sunday’s Dinner: ‘Chicken Breast with Spicy Carrot Slaw and Cauli-rice’ – Because I usually buy the four breast in a pack and its just two of us, I know I need to have Chicken breast somewhere else on my Menu.
Thursdays is our Soup Day, so I know we can have a Chicken Soup of some sort on Thursday and there goes the 4 pieces of Chicken. A Chicken Breast Salad could be another option as well.

There are two snack columns on my menu, but I use the last snack column either before or after dinner. If I’m terribly hungry before dinner, I grab that snack; if not, I know I get dessert that night. And who doesn’t love dessert! As you can see most of the snacks in that column are on the sweeter side, so its perfect for a sweet snack or a delicious dessert.

Drawing a Blank?
If you draw a blank while filling out your menu, here are some more helpful tips:

1. Create diet days - for example: Wednesdays could be a Vegetarian Day, Fish Day Friday, Mexican Tuesday or Sunday Brunch.

2. Stay within your limits - yes its great to be adventurous and you totally should try new things. But, if you are drawing a blank, go with what you know.

3. Pick your proteins first – I find it easier when I start off with my proteins- for example: I know I want fish one day, poultry another, and a vegetarian protein on some other day. So, for this menu, I picked Salmon for my fish, Chicken for poultry and Seiten for my vegetarian protein

4. None of these days are set in stone – things will change and its okay to go with it. Some days I want a smoothie for breakfast; but I have a breakfast sandwich on my menu. Fine, I’ll just have my smoothie today and on one of my smoothie days, I’ll have a breakfast sandwich.

5. Jot down ideas – you know you want chicken but you’re not sure what to have with it? Its okay, it will come to you. – for example: I jot down ‘Spinach Apple Salad’ for Wednesday. I know I want to use up my Spinach before they go bad, I know I want a salad on that day and because I try to eat an apple a day, I know I need to include an apple somewhere and I chose dinner. On that day, I may add candied nuts or I may add some pomegranate, I don’t know? So, I jot down what I do know and later, I’ll take it from there.

6. If you work – create breakfast and lunch meals that are easy to grab and go – for example: Wraps, Sandwiches, Smoothies and Juices.

7. Ask the people in your household what they want and make it healthy. If you have kids, this is a great way to give them some control of their diets. They make the choice and again, you make it healthy. – for example: my boyfriend wanted a burger, so I created a healthy ‘Jerk Turkey Burger’ for Tuesday’s dinner.

8. Look in your refrigerator and pantry – and take stock of what items you can make a meal with – for example: I always have canned Sardines in my pantry. So Monday for dinner, I’m making a ‘Sardine Salad’.

9. Yes! take out and dining out is ok – so make a day for it. Whether its Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner – For example: We usually make dinner on Fridays or Saturdays; or have it as an ‘Open Day’. Which means we either go out or order in.

10. Check out your favorite food blogs, cookbooks, magazine and sites to find inspirations – for example: Spanish Town Kitchen. You’ll be able to find recipes for most of the dishes on my menu and even more on my site, so check back in.

This is not hard and you can do it! Here’s a menu template; you can copy and print out or make your own.

Empty Menu Template

If you have any questions, comments, or advice, please feel free to use the comment section of this post. Thank You!