Weekly planner

Easy Meal Plan Ideas You Can Repeat (Without Getting Sick)

Sick and tired of eating exactly the same meal every single week?

Sick and tired of the same grueling questions every single day?

What’s for dinner, mummy?

Mum, what are we having for lunch?

KFC or Maccas takeaway?

Questions I dread to answer if my brain is too tired from the day’s busyness with work and home.

There are days I wish I had someone to worry about the meals 3 x a day, not to mention an additional snack or two, but then, reality kicks in as I realized I am the primary operations manager (not that I volunteered) of my home which includes making foods every single meal.

Lucky are those who don’t have to worry about the daily grind in the kitchen.

The fact that you are here reading this blog post, I can only assume you are not one of those lucky ones.

Don’t you worry… There is still hope!

Thanks for dropping by and I hope to make your stay worthwhile.

First and foremost, I am writing this post because, just like you, I am struggling, too.    I can certainly echo your sentiments, the same struggles I am hearing from families and friends.

I hope this post can bring calm and order to your daily kitchen lives to simplify weekly meal planning with these repeat meal ideas without getting fed up with the same food over and over again.

Please read on if you want to get the gist of how to simplify the daily kitchen meal planning battles.

But, before we proceed, why meal plan?

Meal planning is a way of strategizing your decision-making regarding what to prepare in the kitchen and what to eat. There are tons of benefits when you meal plan. Some of the benefits of meal planning include encouraging intentional and healthy eating, saving you time in thinking about what to cook, and saving you money when you grocery.

According to 2018 Forbes article, it could cost you 5x more when you eat out than to cook at home. Isn’t that enough to convince you that home cooking is better than restaurant meals? It makes it even worthwhile when you do it together with planning your meals ahead of time.

It just requires a bit of advance preparation to execute a meal plan.  See below 3 simple steps to start your meal planning today:

  • List your preferred or your family’s favorite dishes
  • Identify your star (theme) ingredients that you are happy to include in your menu
  • Pick the days you wish to have those kinds of menus

Note: For simplicity purposes, I will focus on a single meal per day e.g. dinner, or could be your lunch if you don’t eat the usual dinner meals.

 

Here is how it goes with ours:

 

1. Family favorite dishes

– Filipino foods
– Japanese foods
– Other Asian foods (Korean, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian…etc)
– Australian foods
– Italian foods
– American foods
– Mediterranean foods … etc.

2. Star ingredients/types of dishes

– Rice
– Noodles
– Bread
– Pasta
– Vegetables
– Meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.)

3. Schedule

– Monday – Meatless Monday (Anything vegetables)

– Tuesday – Taco Tuesday (Wraps, bread, etc…)

– Wednesday … so on and so forth…

Strategically assign a theme dish on specific days. For example, on Mondays, you wish to have no meats, so your star ingredients to highlight in your meals are any types of vegetables or meat substitutes. Or on Saturdays, you want to assign your fancy day meals when you make restaurant-inspired kinds of meals. Be creative or ask your family’s suggestions too, and you’ll be surprised with what you guys can come up with together.

The easiest way to make a meal plan is to have a rotating schedule either weekly, fortnightly, or monthly plan that you can repeat every time.  This will save you so much time in thinking about what to prepare on the day or night before. Create a cheat sheet to inspire you on what to cook and allow your creativity (e.g. use of whatever available ingredients in your fridge and pantry) to do its magic. Remember, you can experiment with whatever you wish to try in your own kitchen.

Meal planning is such a lifesaver!

Please give it a go, you can thank me later!

 

Below are types of dishes from our usual favorites which, hopefully, can spark light to your meal planning schedule.

 

1. Rice Bowl or Rolls

As an Asian, I love rice. Almost every single meal. Rice bowls are very versatile meals to include in your weekly menu.  If you are like us who enjoy rice, this will be a smart choice to have an easy meal plan because there are so many varieties of rice bowls you can alternate in your weekly menu to avoid getting bored with your selections.

– Donburi
– Bibimbap
– Rice poke bowl
– Sushi rolls

 

 

2. Fried Rice

Of course, isn’t it quite obvious how we love rice? The second entry is another rice variant. Fried rice is a usual go-to meal when you have leftover rice (basmati for the win) or dishes that you can stirfry together. Such as eggs, hotdogs, bacon, sausage, chicken, fish, and many more. You can also choose to go meatless if you wish. I preferred cooking my fried rice using leftover basmati rice because it’s just a lot easier to work with and does not form mushy clumps. But of course, feel free to use whatever rice is available in your kitchen.

– Plain Garlic fried rice
– Vegetable fried rice
– Meat fried rice

 

 

3. Pasta with sauces

One of the easy and healthy meals you can whip up to save you time and energy is cooking pasta dishes. All you need is pasta cooked to your desired aldente and some kind of base sauce. And the great thing about this, you can prepare the sauce well in advance (refrigerate or freeze as you like) and toss the pasta whenever you are ready for your pasta meal.

– Tomato-based sauces
– Cream-based sauces
– Wine-based sauces

 

 

4. Pasta salads

Another variation of pasta dish that you can include in your meal planning is pasta salad. It’s a light and healthy pasta dish that you can enjoy with the family any time of the day as a main meal or as a side dish.

– Oil-based pasta
– Dressed pasta

 

 

5. Veggie Salads or Rolls

If you are on a carb diet, this could be one of your staple meals. Or if you are like me who doesn’t bother counting calories or carb intake, I just mix this veggie salad with some heartier option dishes for a balanced meal, like meats and chips (happy kiddies and oldies).

– Fresh/raw Veggie salad
– Cooked veggie salad
– Rice paper rolls

 

 

6. Vegetable pancakes

When you feel like going meatless on a Monday, then this will be your best bet. But, no one is stopping you to make this on days other than Mondays, of course. Especially, if you’re a vegetarian. Meatless every single day.

– Tortang gulay
– Okonomiyaki
– Yachaejeon
– Vegetable fritter

 

 

7. Stirfy noodles

Who does not love noodles? Next to rice, noodles are our next go-to meal.
And being Asian, we enjoy stirfry noodles and loads of vegetables and meats. So, this is a must in our regular meal plans.

Pancit bihon/canton
Pancit palabok/luglog
– Yakisoba
– Japchae
– Pad Thai

 

 

8. Noodle soup

If you want a hearty meal that will warm the tummy and heart of your family, make sure to include noodle soup on your weekly menu. These are (oh so) perfect during cooler weather if you happen to be geographically located in a place with hot and cold weather.

– Ramen
– Chicken sopas/sotanghon
– Vietnamese noodle soup

 

 

9. Wraps/ Flatbread

If you are pressed for time and still want a nice meal to enjoy, you can’t go wrong adding to your weekly meal these very simple and easy-to-prepare wraps. And if you are not that type who makes things from scratch, there are tons of varieties of healthy wraps that you can choose from the shops, gluten-free, wholegrain, spinach and herb, and lots more.

– Meat/vegetable wraps
– Tacos
– Souvlaki/ Shawarma/ Gyros
– Pizza wraps

 

 

10. Burger/ Sandwiches

These are classic meals that will never go out of style. Because they are easy to prepare and easy to eat too. My secret to enjoying a perfect burger or sandwich is the combination of tanginess and sweetness from the dressing or sauces and loads of vegetables too. Trust me, your kids won’t even notice it’s there! (At least it worked for my kiddos, no harm in trying with yours! 😁

– Plant-based burger/sandwiches
– Meat burger/sandwich

 

 

11. Crispy meals

I am pretty sure when you ask your kids, “What do you want to have for dinner?” Something crunchy and something juicy will be top of the charts! It’s just way too satisfying. Even adults loved them. I enjoy eating them too!

We even have our favorite at home which my kids fondly called “MFC”- Mummy’s Fried Chicken.
They love the crunchiness and juiciness of these precious chicken pieces dunked into their favorite sauces.

– Fried chicken
– Spring rolls (meat or vegetables)
– Pork crackle
– Pan-fried dumplings

 

 

12. Roast or Grilled meals

I have been living down under for nearly 15 years. Oh! Wow, it’s already 15? Well, time flies indeed, especially after the epic pandemic we are all still in.

Aussies love their barbies (slang for barbecues). It’s quite evident when you go to the nearby Bunnings (household hardware chain) where you can enjoy a quick snag or during the summer season, particularly on Australia Day when the barbecue is everywhere, at home or the park. But, barbie day down here could be every day. And this means you can enjoy a dinner with grilled meats, seafood, or vegetables of your choice.

– Steak (Grilled meats) or Meat Barbeque
– Roast/Grilled seafood
– Roast/Grilled vegetables

 

 

13. Soup meals

If you want a long-lasting meal that will feed the family for a couple of days, soup meals are your best friends. This dish deserves a special day in our weekly planning as we love soups. And being Filipinos, we love eating soup with rice!

– Sinigang (pork, beef chicken, fish, prawn, etc)
– Tinola/Batchoy
– Nilaga (pork, beef chicken, fish, etc)
– Egg drop soup
– Vegetable soup

 

14. Stewed meals

Another meal that will extend your kitchen break is stewed meals. They are saucy and tasty meals perfect combo with rice or bread.

– Kaldereta/Menuda/Afritada
– Kare-kare
– Curry dishes
– One pot stews

 

 

15. Hot pot meals

Hot pot meals are a fun way to enjoy all your favorite ingredients dunked and cooked with your favorite choice of soup stocks. It’s an interactive way of sharing meals with your family and friends.

– Shabu-shabu
– Vietnames Hot Pot
– Thai Hot Pot
– Jeongol (Korean Hot Pot)

 

 

16. Steamed meals

If you want a cleaner meal without the guilt of oils, then steamed meals are your best choice.

– Steamed dumplings
– Steamed buns (siopao)
– Steamed fish and vegetables

 

 

Example Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly Meal Planner
Hometiculous Weekly Meal Planner Printable

Example Monthly Meal Plan

Monthly Meal Planner
Hometiculous Monthly Meal Planner Printable

 

Meal plans like any other plans are a great tool to map your weekly meals. It’s a guide ONLY. There are some dishes that are only one-time meals and some could last for a couple of days (yay! Kitchen break it is!)
Work around and schedule the dish that works best each day of your week. If you are tired of your weekly meals and clueless about what to prepare every single day or week, this could be your hope for stress-free meal planning.

Check out this space every now and then as I will link my own and others’ recipes for some cooking tips and ideas.

Happy Meal Planning!

Please feel free to share your thoughts about this meal planning technique. If you have other ideas that are working for you, I will be happy to hear them too.

 

Ann of Hometiculous

I am a busy mummy of 2 and a wifey to one. I am very careful when it comes to the needs of my family and home. I am particularly lazy to look for things and thoroughly crazy to do everything that’s why I am thankful for organizing. I am a certified meticulous when it comes to anything that involves effort, time, and money at home and beyond our home. In my spare time (if I am lucky), I engrossed myself reading, experimenting in the kitchen, exploring my tiny little garden, learning and saving from DIYs.

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