How to never run out of dinner ideas

You’ve studied and worked and discovered delicious recipes everyone loves. And then the expectation sets in and every meal starts feeling a bit boring and you feel like you are still searching even though your go to meals are totally in the bag.

I have a special trick for keeping things fresh.

It’s based on the principle that when you have some limits, it actually helps you achieve more. (like lines in the road help traffic move more quickly and efficiently, right?)

Here’s what you do:

Grab a sheet of paper and write the days of the week down the side.
Now think about the kinds of meals you like to eat. Come up with a category for each meal. (some examples are pasta/casserole/rice and beans/pizza)

Next, assign each category to a day of the week. For example, Monday: Stir fry, Tuesday: Tofu/ Tempeh
Consider things like when you’ve done groceries, when you have more or less time, what your nutritional needs are, etc.

You’ve just taken part of the guesswork out of the dinner planning equation. And you can get onto the more interesting aspects, like what flavors and experience you want to create.

Challenge yourself to do things differently. You don’t have to do things the same way every time, instead, use each category as a launchpad for your culinary vision.

Here’s my weekly dinner blueprint:

Monday: Beans and rice (this could be Mexican, Indian, or Middle eastern inspired, so may flavor combinations, I never get bored!)
Tuesday: Tofu/ tempeh. (because tofu Tuesday has a ring to it)
Wednesday: Casserole (something low maintenance for hump day)
Thursday: Veggie madness + great grains (another grocery shopping day + farmer’s market day in my town during summer)
Friday: Pizza (made from scratch, because I love pizza and like to make and eat it every week)
Saturday: Pasta (can be made light or filling, fast or slow depending on our day)
Sunday: Stir fry (partly to make up for two carb-heavy days and partly because I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays so I’m eager to use the fresh veggies!)

I edit my list once and a while as things always change with time. Be prepared to go through a few weeks until you find just the right plan for you, then have fun imaging all the ways you’ll prepare your food each day.

To get you started I made you this empowered meal planner with the days and some prompts to inspire your next meal.

4 comments… add one
  • This is the best meal planning idea I’ve ever seen!
    I have never been able to stick to meal planning because I miss the spontaneity nor can I decide a week in advance what I want to eat.
    I am going to implement this before my next grocery shop. Thank you!!

    • Steph

      Thank you Reannon! It definitely makes my life simpler and more tasty as the same time; I hope it does the same for you. Enjoy.

  • Lynn

    Crikey, I thought I was the queen of meal planning, as in spending three hours every weekend trying to list what we’re eating each day, and always going back to what we’ve had for the previous 4 weeks but just mixing the days around! How did I never even think to have a good category?!! Thank you for your vision

    • Steph

      Oh I am so glad that people are liking this idea. Have fun!

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