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.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.