A Pinterest board of 700+ recipes to try, 25+ cookbooks on the shelf, all coupled with loads of dietary dogma everywhere you look can make it stressful to know what to cook for dinner tonight.
Food is to be celebrated, not a source of stress!
I adore food, but I don’t particularly enjoy cooking it. I’m a work at home Mom with 3 kids, and I don’t have time to mess with long and complicated recipes at 5pm. I want everyone to be fed healthy, simple, and yummy meals.
I find that my children and I thrive on simplicity around meal time. They like to know what to expect, and so do I. I have developed this meal rotation plan to keep dinners simple, so I can focus on more important things.
Each night has a similar theme. Within each theme, you can pick/choose what meal to prepare. Like anything, take what works for you and tweak the things that don’t.
Each night has a theme, and each night has 2 meal options. That way, you have two weeks of meals and won't get bored with the same thing every week
Sunday – Comfort meal
Option 1: Soup and bread. Alternate between different soup recipes your family likes. We love a simple veggie soup, black bean soup, or split pea.
Option 2: Chili and cornbread. We love the chili recipe from Nourishing Meals.
Tuesday – Stir Fry night
Option 1: Asian stir fry. Cook up some brown rice. Sautee some vegetables (we do peas, carrots, endamame, onions, broccoli, chickpeas). Add in some Braggs Aminos to taste.
Option 2: Cook up brown rice or quinioa. Sautee some veggies (sweet potatoes chopped up small, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, carrots, onions, kidney beans, ). Top the veggies over the rice or quinoa, and top with a simple sauce (olive oil, garlic, lemon, Bragg seasoning) and avocado.
Thursday – Leftovers night
Option 1: Use up any leftovers you have and everyone can pick/choose what they want.
Option 2: Kids choice. I find that older children (7 years+) can have a lot of independence in the kitchen, if they are given some space. Let them know they can pick out and help cook the meal for that night. If it ends up being macaroni and cheese, that’s ok! Instilling a sense of purpose and confidence in your children, is much more important than a perfectly healthy meal. You are teaching them skills for a lifetime. Celebrate what they come up with and have fun!
Saturday – Out
I love to eat out, and there are several options for healthier choices. We love Chipotle, Sticks, Panera, and local restaurants like Blue Mountain and Citizen Burger. I crave taking a break from cooking, the kids love going out. We look forward to it all week.
Monday – Italian night
Option 1: Pasta. Sautee onion, seasonal veggies (right now its squash, carrots, peppers), and frozen spinach. Add sauce, heat through. Cook some brown rice pasta (our favorite is the TruRoots pasta).
Option 2: Lasagna, or your other favorite Italian dish. Lasagna doesn't have to be as complicated as it seems. Make your sauce the same you would for pasta, cook lasagna noodles, and layer. You can add in some mozzarella cheese in the layers, if desired.
Wednesday – Southwest night
Option 1: Rice and bean bowls. Rice, black beans, tomato, avocado, chips, cheese (optional), and the incredible vegan nacho sauce from the Peas and Thank You cookbook.
Option 2: Burritos. Layer refried beans and goat cheddar into a sprouted spelt tortilla. Cook on both sides until warm and golden brown. Top with avocado and salsa.
Friday – Family movie night
Option 1: Pizza. Use your favorite crust recipe (ours is this one from 100 Days of Real Food, we use spelt flour), chop some veggies, and let the kids decorate the pizza. Serve with simple salad or fruit, if desired.
Option 2: Burgers and fries. We buy a local veggie burger (No Bull Burger), and top it with avocado, lettuce, tomato, etc. I will cut up potatoes (we switch between sweet potatoes and red potatoes) during the day and roast them at dinner time.
These meal rotations are ideal for busy school nights, when there isn't a lot of time to plan or prepare food.
Do you meal plan? What are your favorite repeat meals? Let me know if you try out the rotation, and how you like it!