How to Plan a Menu: Step by Step Instructions

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Screen shot 2012 11 13 at 11.02.30 AM How to Plan a Menu: Step by Step InstructionsStep 1: Make a Planning Grid The 8 rows are for the days of the week and the 5 columns are for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Check out our sample grid!

Step 2: Fill in the Grid with Dinner Ideas First Determine what you will serve for dinner each night. Try to utilize cooked items a few times. For example, you might prepare a large pot of rice one evening and then use the leftover rice the next night in a soup or stir fry dish. It also doesn't hurt to double up and freeze leftovers in portion-sized containers for busy days.

Step 3: Plan Lunch Try to use dinner leftovers for lunch during the week.

Step 4: Plan Snacks Make a list of fruits, veggies and nonfat yogurt in the snack column.

Step 5: Plan Breakfast Find 3 breakfasts that are low in fat and high in fiber that you can repeat during the week. Good ideas include oatmeal, whole grain toast and whole grain cereal served with skim milk or yogurt and fruit.

Step 6: Store List Make a list of what you need to buy for all of the meals. It helps to keep a running grocery list so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the store.


  • Ask family members what they like - you can modify recipes to make them healthier.
  • Try to include a fruit and vegetable with every meal. Keep all items low in fat.
  • Plan to fill half the plate with veggies and keep meat small and starch high in fiber.
  • Use recipes from
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