While I require my meal prep and cooking process to be easy-peasy, I will admit that the planning part does take some brains. But it’s so worth it! Here’s my personal rule-of-thumb when putting together a week’s menu:
- every dinner should have meat, starch, and greens
- everyday, the meat, starch, and greens should be different from the previous day
- pasta only once a week
- fish at least once a week
- red meat no more than once a week
- any meal not to be repeated for 3 weeks, (with the exception of casseroles/meatloaf/baked pasta dishes which are large and can be served for lunch as leftovers or one lazy dinner when I don’t feel like cooking)
- every meal should be colorful
It’s not a bad idea to come up with some sort of criteria for yourself when meal planning – I treat it as my starting point. It helps me to plan for a variety of nutritious and flavorful foods as part of my regular diet, and it makes every dinner exciting! Often, my husband prefers to eat a home-cooked meal by me than to go to a restaurant, and I feel the same way most of the times too. Getting to control exactly what goes into my meal and saving a ton of money is pretty much an unbeatable combination.
Here’s a sample of what a week of great planning can get you:
Monday: Stir-fried chicken thighs with broccoli rabe and homemade yellow jasmine rice, topped with fresh parsley
Tuesday: Pan seared salmon with white wine whole-wheat couscous and sauteed broccoli, topped with green onions
Wednesday: Baked chicken thigh with crispy skin, roasted yukon and carrots, and wilted swiss chard, paired with carrot tops
Thursday: Broiled rib-eye with sauteed peas and carrots of many colors and homemade garlic bread
Friday: Spaghetti with ground turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, and broccolini, topped with freshly grated parmesan
What will your homemade menu look like this week?