Plan A Weekly Menu


Are you struggling to manage a busy lifestyle and eat right? Menu planning may be the answer. You’ll find it easier to eat nutritious meals, save money and become more efficient in the kitchen. Here are some steps to help you plan meals and menus throughout the week.

Plan A Weekly Menu

Use The Days Of The Week As A Guide

  • Begin with asking others for lunch or dinner ideas.

  • Decide on the protein and vegetables for the week. For example, if you shop on a Saturday, you might want to have leafier greens and soft herbs on the weekend as they don’t last as long as root vegetables or woodier herbs. The same goes for chicken and fish/seafood. Use those items up first as they do not last long (unless frozen).

  • As the week progresses, you can begin to use up other pantry staples and heartier vegetables. Beef and lamb tend to last a little longer, use those up next.

  • Then, you may want to have noodles, pasta, rice or other grains on the Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

  • Thursday is a good time to use some leftovers from previous meals with frozen items added. Perhaps even a vegetarian or vegan dinner is appropriate at this stage of the week.  

  • Any remaining protein or veggies in the crisper can be used up on a Friday with a curry, stir fry or stew.

Make Lists

  • Use a list as an idea starter. Keep it to use again as a reference.
  • Write down the shopping list for each recipe.
  • Try to create recipes based around items that need using up.
  • Experiment with substitutions to avoid wasting excess produce. For example, can you use that bunch of thyme instead of rosemary listed in your recipe?

Find Out What You Have & What You Need

  • Check the fridge, cupboard and freezer before heading to the supermarket or markets.
  • Note what needs to be used up soon so it does not go to waste.
  • Keep the pantry well-stocked with healthy basics including dried and canned beans, sauces, rice, grains and pasta. 
  • Try to do a weekly shop, it will save you time not having to go back and forth to the supermarket.

Start Planning

  • List three meals and one or two snacks daily.
  • Keep meals simple during the busy work week.
  • Post menu plans in a visible spot for everyone in the household to see.
  • Store menus in a binder or online to use again.

Eat Healthy Meals & Snacks

  • Plan meals and snacks using healthy basics prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or sodium. Whole foods, fresh fruits, salads and nuts are a great starting point.
  • Buy fewer packaged, ready-to-eat and take-out foods where possible.
  • Serve at least one serving of vegetables, fruit or legumes/pulses with each meal.

Work Smarter Not Harder

  • Use leftovers for lunches or as part of another meal.
  • Use time-saving appliances: slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cookers. 
  • For a cook's night off, make your own healthy frozen dinners. Cooking in batches allows to freeze and use for another time.