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A lot of moms (and women in general) tell me that their biggest diet struggle is preparing healthy meals for dinner.  They do well for breakfast, lunch, and snacking, but then everything seems to fall apart after work/taking care of the kids/errands/etc.  Today, I’d like to share what I do to avoid that trap in our house…plan meals ahead of time and grocery shop for the entire week at once.

Sounds simple, right?  It is!

whats for dinner from @kellymcnelis

Planning and shopping for a week at a time usually works like this…during the week I start thinking about dinner ideas for the following week (Right now I’m getting tons of ideas from Pinterest, anyone else?).  I jot down the ideas in the notepad on my phone (or my COZI online app) and when Saturday rolls around I compile all of the ingredients that I need onto one shopping list.  I also keep track of the household items that we need during the week and add those to the list.

Here’s an example of 6 dinners (My husband and I usually do a “dinner date” out for #7):

  • “Chicken fried pork chops” with cheesy potatoes and green beans
  • BBQ chicken cornbread pie
  • Baked chicken wings with salads
  • Cheesy broccoli chicken foil packs
  • Taco pizza
  • Hamburgers and baked french fries

I don’t adhere to any kind of specific “diet” other than trying to prepare as many of our meals as I can.  I also try to include vegetables, variety, and reasonable portion sizes.

So now you now my basic dinner strategy.  I find it a lot easier to keep my eating in check when I have meals planned in advance and a kitchen stocked with the necessary ingredients.

What tips and tricks do you use for meal planning?


You can follow my recipes and recipe reviews on Pinterest @kellymcnelis.

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12 years ago

Love the shop all at once strategy! It seems like the only way to make dinner work as going to the grocery store more than once in one week with little kids seems impossible! Now that it's summertime, our favorite thing to do is stock the freezer with bulk protein items from Sam's Club/Costco etc. Chicken, fish, pork tenderloins… anything really. Then all week I can just thaw what we need and my husband tosses it on the grill! We keep various marinades/rubs/bbq sauces in the pantry for flavoring. Even the veggies can be grilled as well. Quick and easy,… Read more »

Jen @ Concrete And Coffee

I can't plan meals more than two days out, so we shop several times a week. Our store is right next to the gym so it's not like I'm taking an extra trip. For me, if I go shopping every other day just for items I need for the next couple days' worth of meals, I'm more likely to use all the produce I buy and not buy things we don't need because I'll use a hand basket instead of a cart. The exception to this is Target. I NEVER make it out of Target with only the things on… Read more »

12 years ago

I found that my favorite dinner weeks were when I prepared all of my dinners on Sunday. I would plan out the weeks dinners, go shopping for only those ingredients on saturday or sunday, and then start cooking. I would boil the pasta while peeling potatoes with meat in the oven, shred cheese for the homemade mac n cheese while the milk and butter were warming. As soon as I finished with one pan, I rinsed it and refilled it with something else. By the end, I would have at least 4 full weekday meals, and a 5th night of… Read more »

12 years ago

I find it cost effective to base my meals on what is on sale at the store that week. After reviewing the ads, I visit the internet for recipe ideas based on the ingredients on sale. So if eggplant is on sale for example, I will Google search eggplant recipes. It cuts down on food costs and helps maintain a good variety of meals.