Meal Planning Made Easy
Let’s face it – preparing healthy meals throughout the week, especially if you’re cooking for a family, can feel daunting. Meal planning and prepping isn’t always the most exciting task to add to your to-do list, but it can make it easier to get dinner on the table.
First, make sure to look at all of the ingredients you have in your kitchen. From there, you can create recipes out of what you have or brainstorm what to get next at the store.
Rather than overdoing it with the groceries, find recipes based on common ingredients. Not only does it make planning that much easier, but it can help make food more affordable.
The following recipes and shopping list can help give you a starting point for an upcoming weekly plan. The serving sizes may adjust due to the amount of people you are feeding. (Don’t worry – there are a ton of healthy options on this very site!)
Outside of the ingredients below, you’ll want to grab some other healthy fruits and vegetables for your day-to-day schedule. These are quick and healthy options that can be cut up and eaten throughout the week.
Meal planning may feel like a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right ingredients, you can make it a fun and healthy part of your week.
Photo credit: Marco Verch
- Cooking spray
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained well
- 5 eggs
- 6 egg whites (or you can use 8-10 eggs total)
- 1 ½ cups milk of your choice
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. chopped chives
- 1 Tbsp. chopped basil leaves
- 1 ½ cups kale or spinach, roughly chopped
- 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese or other cheese variety of your choice
Quinoa Egg Bake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to coat 9x9 baking dish
2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, chives and quinoa. Then stir in spinach and tomatoes
3. Pour entire mixture in prepared dish
4. Cover tightly with foil and gently shake so that the quinoa settles to the bottom of the pan evenly. Once cooked the quinoa will almost be like a crust.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes, so it just sets.
6. Remove the foil and sprinkle the cheese evenly on top. Bake uncovered until the cheese melts, may wish to bake longer for a golden and crisp cheese topping. 8-15 minutes.
7. Cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or milk substitute of choice
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. honey
- 10 medium strawberries, sliced or chopped
- 1 medium ripe banana, sliced or chopped.
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped or diced
- Small pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips
- Optional toppings: sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, diced pineapple, whipped cream, chopped peanuts and a cherry
Banana Split Overnight Oats
1. In a large bowl, mix together rolled oats, coconut milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla extract, honey, strawberries, banana, pineapple and salt. Add more coconut milk if needed to make sure all the oats are covered in liquid.
2. Divide into two containers of choice. Tightly put the lid on and place in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Remove the lid and stir ½ of the chocolate chips into the oats. Add more coconut milk to loosen the oats. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips over the top along with other desired toppings. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Meal Makeover Moms
- Greek Yogurt (recommend using honey or vanilla Greek yogurt)
- Shredded Coconut
Tropical Island Yogurt Parfait
1. You can either pre-make the yogurt parfait with your child for their school lunch or you can give all the ingredients to the child to put together at school.
2. Layer yogurt and desired fruit and cashews into bowl or cup. Enjoy!
Salad for one person in one jar
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked
- ½ cup chickpeas
- 1/3 cup cucumbers, chopped into chunks
- 1/3 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/3 cup purple cabbage, shredded
- 1/4 cup edamame
- 1/3 cup Asian pear apples, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 scallion, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 tsp. chili powder
Asian Mason Jar Salad
1. Make salad dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients together.
2. Toss salad ingredients together or layer in mason jar.
3. Dress sparingly right before serving. Enjoy!
- 4-6 slices of turkey bacon
- 2 slices of whole grain bread
- 1-2 Tbsp. chevre, at room temperature
- 8 cherries, pitted and halved
- 1-3 leaves of lettuce or a small handful of arugula or your preferred leafy green
BLC - Bacon, Lettuce and Cherry Sandwich
1. Weave the bacon into a square or “bacon blanket". Microwave, bake or fry turkey bacon until crisp. Transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel or brown paper to briefly drain.
2. While the bacon is frying, lightly toast your bread. Spread half of the chevre on each slice of bread, while the bread is warm.
3. Carefully arrange your cherry halves on top of the chevre on one slice of bread, then add the bacon blanket and finally add your leafy green of choice. Top with the other piece of toasted bread. Serve immediately.
- 6 to 8 bell peppers (any color)
- 1-1/4 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice or combination
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw)
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional
- 1 1/2 to 2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Jack, or Mexican blend)
- Optional toppings – sour cream, thinly sliced green onion, chopped avocado, olives, chopped cilantro, diced tomato, salsa
Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Slice tops off peppers, remove seeds and trim ribs, if necessary. Place peppers in a baking dish and add about 1" of water. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Remove peppers from baking dish and pour off water. Return peppers to baking dish.
3. While peppers are in the oven, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook, stirring to break up the beef, until browned and cooked through. Drain off as much grease as possible from the pan. Return the pan to the heat, add onion and garlic and cook till tender. Reduce heat to medium and add the taco seasoning, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, rice, green chiles, frozen corn, crushed red pepper (if using), and 1 cup cheese. Cook until combined and cheese has melted.
4. Fill peppers with the beef mixture and return to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes to 30 minutes, or until peppers are very tender and filling is heated through. Remove foil, top with remaining shredded cheese, and bake for an additional 5 minutes until cheese has melted.
- 3 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 2 small onions or 1 large onion, diced (~2 cups)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 large green pepper, diced (~1.5 cups)
- 1 (14 ½ oz.) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
- 2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, more as a garnish
- Diced grape tomatoes and diced cucumbers as garnish
Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chickpea Chili
1. Add garbanzo beans, canned diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, cumin, oregano, red pepper, green pepper and chicken broth to slow cooker. Stir to combine and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
2. After done cooking, stir in Kalamata olives, lemon peel and feta cheese before serving. Garnish with feta, diced grape tomatoes and diced cucumbers. Serve warm. Enjoy!
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. cold water
- 3 tsp. sesame oil, divided
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 2 heads of broccoli, cut into pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small can of sliced water chestnuts
- 1 package of snow peas
- 1 1/2 cups baby carrots, sliced thin
Asian Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
1. Mix up the cornstarch and cold water and set aside.
2. Heat sesame oil to medium high heat in a wok with the garlic and chicken breasts. Once chicken is cooked thru add all the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Then add honey and soy sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes and then add the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken sauce. Once vegetables are cooked to desired tenderness, serve warm over rice or alone. Enjoy!