In 2007 I created a simple dinner menu plan method to solve the problem most busy parent face: “What’s for Dinner?” Fast forward to my current life stage of empty nester, I still plan the weeks’ dinner for my husband and I. It has become a habit, and essential to reducing stress and eating a healthy diet.
Planning means doesn’t have to be complicated, cumbersome or time consuming. My plan doesn’t rely on technology or new products — it’s a method.
Follow these principles or download my free worksheet. No email necessary or strings attached. If you love it, would love to hear from you via my blog, social media or email.
Fundamentals of planning:
- Start with determining how much time you have to cook dinner each night.
- Think about what after school / work activities you have and what time you want to eat. Now you know you have either 20, 30 or 40 minutes to make dinner – you can move to step number 2 of selecting the menu.
- Select meals you’re familiar making. Limit making one new recipe per week.
- Balance your meals per your dietary style. Let me explain. If you’re following the typical western diet, as I was in 2007, you’re centered around a protein each day (chicken, fish, steak, etc). From there you compliment the protein with a vegetable and a healthy complex carb. If you’re following more of a plant based diet, as I am today, the choices look different. Involve your family in selecting the week’s meals. I cannot stress enough how everyones contribution to the dinner menu will reduce stress and help the picky eaters eat the dinner that its in front of them.
- Create your shopping list – and go shopping, or order food online.
- If you’re short on time the delivery fees is well worth it.
- Post the dinner plan in a common area for all to see.
- My youngest loved this, because he would look forward to the night his favorite meal was being made.
A couple of other suggestions:
- Prep in advance when you can. For example, if you go shopping on Sunday, prep what you can at that time.
- Incorporate meals that freeze well and double the recipe. For example, Vegetable soup freezes and reheats well. Saves a lot of time during the week.
- Plan for left over nights. Maybe you make extra rice on Monday, which turns into a vegetable stir fry on Wednesday.
- Plan for a night out. When my kids were young it was typically Friday Pizza night. I know many friends in Cincinnati plan for Tuesday Skyline. Do what works with your family.
I’m not dictating WHAT you should eat. My goal is to EMPOWER you to plan your meals to reduce the stress and help you achieve your goals.Betty Rodriguez-Hakes
Click this link to download GourmetBetty’s Simple Dinner Menu Plan. Print on the front and back side of one sheet of paper.