Are you often stuck in a rut for dinner and wondering how to plan meals that are more healthful yet appeal to everyone in your family? Do you want a simple way to plan dinner each week and ensure you are getting enough of the right foods?
Here are 7 different healthful meal themes to pick for each day of the week.
- Bean dish - lentil soup, beans and rice, Minestrone soup, chili, burritos, or vegetarian tacos are just a few bean-based dishes that are easy to make and high in fiber. If you are planning and experimenting with bean recipes each week you will develop a nice repertoire of meals based on them.
- Fish - keep it low in fat and sodium by baking or grilling fresh fish instead of using breaded or fried.
- Brown rice - makes a great base for many different meals including stir fry dishes and bowls. Build a bowl using rice, veggies, salad, and a lean protein and call it a poke bowl.
- Pasta or potatoes - baked potatoes, spaghetti or baked yams make excellent entrees for lowfat plant-based meals.
- Lean poultry or meat - there is always room for a favorite meal of poultry or meat during the week. The good news is that you can roast once and serve more than once - use leftovers in soups, stir fry dishes, salads or chili for one of the other meals.
- Salad - Make a large entree salad with grilled fish, tuna or leftover chicken.
- Lowfat soup - homemade soups that are low in fat and sodium make a heart meal that is high in fiber and low in calories
Weekly Menu #1
- Make your own bean taco
- Baked salmon, potatoes, steamed veggies
- Brown rice stir fry
- Pasta with tomato sauce, salad
- Baked chicken breast, zucchini
- Chef salad with roasted chicken
- Roasted tomato soup, rolls, salad
Weekly Menu #2
- Lentils with browned onions
- Baked tilapia, cornbread, broccoli
- Mushroom risotto, salad
- Lowfat lasagna, spinach
- Turkey cutlets, winter squash, green beans
- Salad with tuna, potatoes,
- Minestrone soup, salad
Weekly Menu #3
- Vegetarian chili, baked chips
- Fish tacos, slaw
- Paella (rice with chicken, shrimp, and vegetables)
- Baked potato stuffed with broccoli
- Chicken stew
- Spinach salad with toasted nuts
- Barley soup with lean beef and veggies
Here is a handy Menu Planner Handout you can use with your clients, students, patients, and employees:
And here are the menu planning tools in the Nutrition Education Store:
Menu Planning Poster, 18" x 24" and laminated:
Menu Planning Wall Decal for walls and bulletin boards 40" x 30" with dry erase finish. Versatile and removable:
KITCHEN HACK: If you are buying more take-out and frozen dinners you should PLAN to have salads, veggie side dishes, and fruits on hand to make sure you have these important food groups at almost every meal. Always read the label to choose the products with the lowest amount of fat and sodium.