“What’s for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what are my options?”
“Whatever you want, just tell me.”
“We don’t have any noodles…”
“What kind of chicken?”
“I don’t know, chicken fettuccine?”
“Still don’t have any noodles.”
“Baked chicken then.”
“It’ll take too long to bake, it’s already 7:30.”
How many times have you had this conversation in your home? I refuse to believe it’s just my husband and I who have this back and forth of never knowing what to have for dinner.
I can be incredibly indecisive. It’s a main character trait of mine. So asking me to choose dinner at a moments notice feels like a life or death decision. Too much of life is already complicated and difficult, why are we letting this simple decision ruin our night?
No more. Never again.
Are you ready to always have an answer to this question: “what’s for dinner?”
Are you ready to not only KNOW what’s for dinner, but to be prepared with all ingredients on hand after only ONE weekly trip to the grocery store?
Are you ready to create a life changing meal plan that’s going to save your family time, stress, and money?
I’ll be honest, creating this meal plan initially took me a couple of hours over the course of a few days – but I also didn’t have anyone walking me through the process.
I’m all about this new concept of paying it forward – to YOURSELF.
Put in maximum effort right now, so you can chill later, knowing that “what’s for dinner?” is already taken care of.
Here we go.
STEP 1 – Brain dump your meals.
Write out a list of every meal you know your family already likes and the ones you’ve been wanting to try out. Any meal you can think of, just write it down.
Need some ideas? Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a list of some of our favorite meals, plus links to all recipes!
- sub step: if you’re trying to eat healthier or follow a specific diet, cross off every meal that doesn’t work for your diet. Think outside the box though, there may be a lot of meals that don’t work for YOU, but still work for your family and can be modified by plate. For example, tacos may not work for a carb free diet, but it’s just as easy to make a carb free taco salad with most of the same ingredients. Keep those sort of meals in your plan.
STEP 2 – Structure your week.
Pull out your calendar or planner and look at your week. Be realistic with your time and your energy when you consider this: what sort of meals can you make each day?
If your day is chaotic and full of errands, you probably don’t want to make an elaborate meal. You’ll likely only have enough energy and the time to make a 30 minute, 1 pan meal.
If you’re home all morning but gone the rest of the day, until dinner time, then a slow cooker meal is more realistic for that day.
If it’s a day when the whole family is home, that’s probably a good day for a more difficult meal.
STEP 3 – Plug it all in.
Use my newly updated (2021) printable 6 week meal plan template.
Now assign every meal to a day. Don’t over plan though. Only plan 4 or 5 days of meals each week. This gives you 2 or 3 nights each week where you can fill it in weekly, go out for dinner, have a frozen pizza, or left overs.
You might like to add variety to your weeks based on protein, meal type or ethnicity of the meals. Check out my Easy Weekly Meal Planning post for more info on how to do that.
I only plan for Monday – Thursday and Saturday. I leave Friday, as that’s often a date night out, and Sunday for left overs or pizza.
SEASONAL MEAL PLANNING
Now you know how to create a killer meal plan. Share with the people you love, so they can too!
25 Great Meals to Add to Your Meal Plan
I’ve recently discovered the amazing simplicity of a rotating meal plan.
If you don’t know what that is, let me tell you, it’s life changing! You choose 3-5 meals per week and schedule them out for 4-6 weeks. This plan repeats over and over until you decide its time to change things up.
For my family, I planned out 4 meals per week for 4 weeks. I love this plan because I only have to decide on 2-3 meals to add each week. This is where I have the opportunity to schedule a date night out, a left over night or whatever new recipe I want to try.
If you’re stumped on what to add to your meal plans, here’s a great list of meals and recipes for inspiration. Many of these are ridiculously easy too!
ONE PAN MEALS
RIDICULOUSLY EASY MEALS
MY FAMILY’S FAVORITES
What are some of your family’s favorite meals? How do you meal plan?