Our typical dinner routine used to look like this:
Everyone is hungry. I have no plan for dinner. It’s getting late. I stress and procrastinate until it’s far too late and we’re all far too hungry. I throw something together that’s either unhealthy, doesn’t taste great, or both.
About six months ago I knew our dinner routine had to change. So I sought out simple solutions and tried tons of kid-friendly, healthy recipes. Now my meal planning takes fewer than 15 minutes per month!
I used to use these free printable calendars and hang them on the side of my fridge. Now I use a monthly and weekly planner and write my meal plan on the monthly calendar. Planning by each month helps me to see all our meals at one time so I can try not to repeat meals. You can also use an iPhone or Android app if you prefer a meal plan in electronic form. I haven’t used any meal planning apps so I’m not able to recommend one.
This is what our days look like:
Mondays = Pasta
Tuesdays = Taco Tuesday
Wednesdays = Soup/Stew
Thursdays = Breakfast for Dinner
Fridays = Pizza
Saturdays and Sundays, for us, are free days. These are great days for leftovers, quick and easy dinners, or take out.
You can, of course, alter these types of meals for what works best for your family based on your likes, cooking enjoyment, time available, etc. Some other options for meals are seafood, international foods, salad, and rice.
I have been blessed with some relatively picky eaters, but I refuse to make multiple meals each night. I make one meal and that’s it. There has been some trial and error as I experiment with different recipes to find some that the kids will like but are also healthy.
Here are some of our favorite meals:
Mondays | Pasta
Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta
Garlic Pesto Chicken Pasta
Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
Instant Pot Goulash
Meatballs and Spaghetti with Veggies
Tuesdays | Taco Tuesday
(for Taco Tuesday, I usually make one type of taco meat and let each person in my family decide how they’d like to eat it: tacos, quesadilla, nachos, rice bowl, salad, etc.)
Taco Ground Beef
Cool Ranch Taco Chicken
Taco Ground Turkey
DIY Taco Seasoning
Wednesdays | Soup/Stew
Instant Pot Chili & Cornbread
Jacob’s Lentil Stew
Pre-made soups from Costco, Trader Joe’s, etc.
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Thursdays | Breakfast for Dinner
Scrambled Egg Bowls
Fridays | Pizza + Movie Night (at home)!
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m totally obsessed with my Instant Pot and could never imagine prepping dinner without it. Get yourself one and thank me later. I also love our air fryer, which is perfect for warming up things you don’t want to get mushy like pizza, french fries, tater tots, and more.
I hope this helps you to streamline and ease your dinner routine! Let me know what you think in the comments below!