Does making tasty, healthy meals seem overwhelming and unachievable for you?
If so, I get it. You’re already juggling your kids, work, the household, your own needs, and “life.” But a bigger reason might be unrealistic expectations. Sampling foods from around the world in local restaurants, admiring mouth watering photographs of food on the internet, and watching television chefs grab a basketful of ingredients and transform them into a gourmet meal in minutes can make your everyday cooking skills seem inadequate – especially if you’re expecting your kids to praise the final product.
You Don’t Have to Be A Gourmet Chef to Make an Excellent Meal
In addition to satisfying the palate, meals for you and your kids serve other goals that don’t require you to be a gourmet chef or to make everything from scratch – you can buy prepared food from your local market and add to it. You and your kids are eating to nourish your body – choose wholesome, unprocessed, organic foods when possible. Eating also feeds the brain for mental wellness – hello serotonin and dopamine! And mealtimes offer a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time with family, friends…or your own wonderful company if you’re on your own or if it happens to be one of those days when your teenagers are maxing out with one-word responses to your efforts to bond over dinner conversation.
Tasty AND Easy? Yes.
You don’t have to choose between good taste and ease. One highly effective way to keep meals tasty and easy is to repeat the same basic menus from week to week. Think of the savvy office professional who wears the same suit over and over and switches out the blouse, shirt, scarf, or tie. It’s the same idea with your meals: repeat the meals and change things up with variations and liberal use of sauces and condiments (you can read about that here. )
A weekly dinner schedule takes the guesswork out of meal planning, streamlines weekly food shopping, and expedites cooking because you’ll get skilled and efficient with these meals – let’s go on scoring one for your ego!
Here’s a 7-day dinner plan I often share with clients.
The Easy 7-Day Dinner Menu
Store-bought roasted chicken, microwave “baked” potato, and steamed green beans all topped with BBQ sauce.
Monday Swap out options: Store bought or home-cooked baked salmon, microwave acorn squash, steamed broccoli, and fresh lemon juice, dried or fresh basil, and olive oil.
Corn tortilla tacos with broiled flank steak (sliced) topped with chili powder, Greek yogurt, shredded coleslaw mix, and salsa from a jar.
Tuesday Swap out options: Flour tortillas, broiled white fish seasoned with curry powder, crumbled feta cheese, mango chutney, cucumbers.
Cooked pasta heated with defrosted frozen shrimp and baby spinach until spinach is wilted tossed with grated parmesan cheese, chopped garlic from a jar, Italian herbs, and lemon-infused olive oil.
Wednesday swap out options: Spaghetti squash, tofu, shredded kale, shredded carrots, sesame oil.
Cooked quinoa, sautéed chicken thighs, and steamed broccoli all in a bowl and topped with teriyaki sauce.
Thursday swap out options: Brown rice, sautéed ground pork or chicken, kimchi, Gojuchang sauce.
Beef burgers on a bun (or lettuce leaves) with cheese, tomato, onion, pickles, and hot and spicy mustard, and mixed salad tossed with bottled vinaigrette.
Friday swap out options: Salmon, veggie, or turkey burgers, chipotle mayo, raw veggies, hummus.
Pork loin, wedges of sweet potato, and asparagus tossed with Himalayan salt, ground white or black pepper, olive oil and fresh or dried rosemary and roasted on a large baking sheet in a preheated 425F oven for 25 minutes (remove asparagus after 10 minutes and cover with foil to keep warm.)
Saturday swap out options: Cod, corn on the cob, bok choy, lemon zest, melted butter (roast for 10-15 minutes).
Simmer drained canned chickpeas, frozen peas, chopped zucchini, and chopped carrots in curry sauce from a jar for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve over rice.
Sunday swap out options: Chicken tenders, tofu, shrimp, cod or other white fish, broccoli, and serve over microwave “baked” baby potatoes (don’t forget to pierce potatoes with a fork before microwaving!)
You can switch out one, two, or all of the ingredients, change the day of the week you’re eating the meal, or decide one night a week is going to be take-out night. Or simply come up with your own meal plan that works for you. The idea is to establish a routine with minor variations.
Happy cooking, and bon appetit!
If you’d like support or guidance on incorporating tasty, easy, healthy meals into your diet and that of your kids, I’m here to help! You can book a free consultation with me to learn more. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂
I love the 7 day menu options, great ideas and easy..thank you