7 Dinner themes for easy meal planning

Meal planning for your family does not have to be complicated or expensive.  As a mom of three hungry kids and a picky husband, I had to learn early on how to plan our meals.  Over the past seven years, I have developed a meal planning system that allows me to be creative, budget-conscious, and appeal to everyone’s taste buds.  Meal planning is all about preparation, implementation, and execution.  Please allow me to share our meal planning strategy that we have adapted for our household.  We use designated days and themes to provide the blueprint for our meals.  You will see that I DO NOT cook every night and that’s ok!  This is about providing meals for your family not running yourself into the ground by being a personal chef seven days a week.

Meal planning: Themes

Each day of the week has a designated theme and within those themes, you are allowed to be as creative and inventive as possible.  Feel free to switch these day designations for your family as you see fit.  In addition, if you have a crockpot, Instapot or Foodi Ninja be sure to incorporate them into your weekly meal plan. 

Sunday: Sunday Dinner

I grew in in NC and every Sunday after church my mom would prepare a bountiful home-cooked meal complete with a dessert.  Sundays are special because you have fewer obligations and you are able to gather around the table for a special meal.  If you are unfamiliar with Sunday dinner then check out these examples:

  • Fried chicken with collard greens, cornbread and a yellow cake with chocolate icing
  • Roasted chicken with root veggies, dinner rolls, and a key lime pie
  • Roast beef with potatoes, rice, yeast rolls, and peach cobbler

These meals may not be light on calories but they are filled with love and great memories

Monday: Leftover extravaganza

Mom’s treat yourself!!  You have just prepared a wonderful meal the night before.  Your family absolutely loved it…..let’s do it all over again but with a twist.  If you are looking to change it up a bit then make a fried chicken sandwich or a roasted chicken casserole.  Whatever you do make it easy on yourself.  

Tuesday: Vegetarian or Vegan

I know what you’re thinking….no meat!  I have kids!  What are they supposed to eat?  Remember we are in this together and I have a 7-year-old and 4-year-old twins.  Vegetarian and vegan do not have to be complicated.  Check out these options:

  • Homemade cheese pizza
  • Stir-fry veggies with rice or noodles
  • 3 bean chili with cornbread
  • Tomato soup with crusty bread
  • Grilled cheese with granny smith apples (Family favorite)

7 dinner theme pins

Wednesday: Pasta and rice dishes

You have reached the midweek hump and you want something quick, filling, and delicious.  What better option than rice or pasta.  My family knows that once a week we will have rice and/or pasta.  My children can eat spaghetti every day but my husband would go nuts so we try to switch it up throughout the month.  The recipe ideas for pasta and rice dishes are endless so don’t limit yourself to the traditional ones.   Check out a few of our favorites:

  • Chicken sausage with peppers (green and red) and yellow rice
  • Chicken thighs and rice
  • Spaghetti (classic)
  • Chicken Alfredo

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner

Yup…good old breakfast for dinner.  This meal will never get old and you can spice it up or keep it traditional.  When we have breakfast for dinner I try to make something special such as a smoothie or parfait to go along with the traditional eggs, toast, pancakes, and bacon.  Have fun and keep it simple and easy

Friday: Fend for yourself

It’s Friday and it is the last day of non-stop busy work and school week.  The last thing that you want to do is cook or prepare a meal.  So in our home on Friday evenings it’s every man for himself….well to a certain degree.  This is when we pick up a meal from our favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-A, or grab some Chinese takeout.  

Saturday: Quick and easy 

If your children are anything like mine then this is their favorite day of the week.  No-fuss, no mess, and all of their favorites.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Hot dogs
  • Tacos
  • Anything from the frozen section of your favorite grocery store
  • Grilled foods

Meal planning: Sample menu

Now that we have our designated days let’s map out our meals for the next two weeks.  I have included a 2-week grocery list based on the meal options listed below. 

Week one

  • Sunday: Roasted chicken with roasted root veggies (carrots, red potatoes, red onions)
  • Monday: Leftover redo such as chicken salad or enjoy that meal again
  • Tuesday: Homemade Cheese Pizza
  • Wednesday: Chicken sausage with peppers and yellow rice
  • Thursday: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, smoothie
  • Friday: Your favorite takeout 
  • Saturday: Grill day!  Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggies

 

Week two

  • Sunday: Pot roast with veggies (crockpot or Instapot) and rice
  • Monday: Leftover redo or enjoy that meal again
  • Tuesday: Cheese quesadillas 
  • Wednesday: Baked chicken thighs and rice, side of broccoli 
  • Thursday: Omelets, bacon, parfaits
  • Friday: Your favorite takeout
  • Saturday: Grab a meal from the frozen section of your grocery store and pop it in the oven

My hope is that you will be able to take portions or all of the meal-planning guide listed above.  I believe that meal planning themes are a great way to get organized but also allows for creativity in preparing meals for your family.  Happy shopping and eating!

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11 thoughts on “7 Dinner themes for easy meal planning”

  1. I love the idea of themes for each day! I like meal planning and this would totally help each week. Also I’d like to note that fend for yourself day is always this momma’s favorite! HA

  2. This is super helpful! More and more I am scrambling at nights to find something to cook, but having a theme would be super helpful to narrow things down!

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