How to Plan the Best Dinner Every Time

This article shares how to plan the best dinner every time by sharing our expert tips for planning, organizing, and buying fresh ingredients.

Plan the best dinner every time

I don’t know about you but lately, I’ve been feeling uninspired when it comes to cooking. Around here we probably eat the same 10 things every single week and even thou they are healthy and good for weight loss I just need a little more excitement when it comes to food. I mean there’s only so many times I can eat the same rice and turkey, or pasta and spinach. On top of that, we were just saying how Penelope only ever eats noodles and apples (weird combo I know). That’s why I really wanted to make cooking dinner enjoyable and trying out new recipes easy.

If you’re looking for a snack to give your picky toddler try this recipe.

How to Plan the Best Dinners

So recently I came across these meal planning pads I found on Amazon (of course). I immediately ordered them and I’m so glad I did because they’ve totally reinspired me to plan different types of meals. To be honest I’ve always loved cooking and trying out new recipes but planning them stressed me out. It was hard for me to mentally remember everything I needed at the grocery store and also remember the amounts and plan on how long they would keep. It just overwhelmed me!

When I found the Kate Spade Weekly Meal Planner I thought it was pretty, but also functional. There is enough space to write out your meal ideas, and an easy to tare grocery list so you can bring it with you. I also wanted to say that there is no right or wrong way of meal planning but I do want to give you some tips that have helped me plan better.

Spend one day a week planning your meals and sorting through recipes.

The two ways I find recipes for the week are from my favorite cookbooks (I’ve shared below with direct links) and I also use Pinterest to find new recipe ideas.

Ask your family what they like to eat

I always have to plan around what my family likes to eat. Some of them are super picky which can mean I make a separate dish just for them.

Start doing theme nights

Its so much fun doing theme nights and certainly makes it exciting for children. We have taco nights and I get Penelope to help with putting tacos together, I get to try a new tequila and we watch Coco or some other movie that relates to the theme. The key is to make it fun to try new things!

Designate a day for shopping

Never ever forget your shopping list, because I have and it was a massive fail. Now I always keep a backup picture on my phone just in case.

Plan for the season

I love shopping in season and using produce that is available from local growers. It’s not only fresher but you’re also supporting local farmers.

Plan for leftovers

What’s great about most of the meals we use, is that there is usually a lot left over which makes planning tomorrow’s lunch super easy. I’m all about saving time!

Prep the food as soon as you get home

That means we chop the onions, wash and dry lettuce and put them in glass containers in the fridge. Sometimes it’s a good idea to label them if you can so you know when you bought it and when it needs to be used by.

Keep your plan where you can see it

Pinning your plan somewhere that you can see it every day is a good idea, that way you can prepare and food you need too or double-check your ingredients. I also keep a running list of groceries as they get used up or if there is something I forgot or might need.

meal planning for a family

5 fun recipes to try this week

Kale Caesar Salad

Asian BBQ Salmon

Harvest Chicken Casserole

Vegan Burrito Bowl

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta


My favorite cookbooks

The Kinfolk Table

The School Year Survival Cookbook

Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Thug Kitchen

The First Forty Days (great for new mothers)

Fraiche Food

Cravings: Recipes for all the food you want

Cravings Hungry for More

Reese Witherspoon: Whisky in a Teacup

True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen

I would love to know if you have any favorite cookbooks, also I am looking for some vegan and gluten-free cookbooks to try.


My friend Rasi has a post on the best way to meal prep and live healthy! She has some great tips. Check it out here:

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  1. I love these ideas. Salmon is a big hit in our family. As for cookbooks I don’t really use those anymore, I look for recipes online and then I put them in an oldfashioned recipe notebook:) MY favorite vegan dish that I make is Vegan Pad-thai that I make with tofu and Rice noodles so it is also Gluten-Free.

    1. We LOVE salmon in our home, I want to start being more adventurous with cooking because I find we eat the same thing over and over again. I also love that too I have an oldfashioned recipe notebook too! And I need to try that vegan pad-thai legit my mouth is watering writing this lol.

  2. Great post – I am totally with you when it comes to meal planning as it’s sooooo important. It’s really helped us save money, whilst avoiding food waste, encouraging diversity of meals, and making cooking fun! Great recipe and cookbook suggestions, too.

    1. omg yes, the money you save is incredible! We would always waste so much produce because it would go bad before we used it, but now when I plan out what we eat it saves us on buying random things that never get eaten.
      Thanks for stopping by! <3

    1. I totally get that! I enjoy the prep too, and it’s always easier to eat healthily when we reach for something to snack on.

      Thanks babe!

  3. Great tips here, I always plan and have a set day to do my food shopping every week!! I use a thermomix to cook and it’s been a lifesaver!! Check out my post on it at my blog to see what I’m talking about, it has amazing vegan recipes built into the app!! xx

    1. I seriously want a Thermomix! I read your post and told my mom about it right away, it sounds amazing.

  4. That sundried tomato pesto pasta sounds amazing!!!
    I always seem to have the hardest time with prepping the food right when I get home from shopping….

    1. I know, to be honest, it usually takes me until the next day to actually prep them. But once I do it makes a world of a difference. <3 Let me know if you make the Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta, it's delicious.

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