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Publication #FCS8936

Planning Meals: Write a Weekly Meal Plan1

Claudia Peñuela2

Use the weekly meal plan worksheet like the one that follows to help you plan your meals. It will help you organize your meals and snacks during the week. At the beginning, it can seem difficult, so start by planning for only four days out of the week. With practice, this will become habit and soon enough you will be planning meals for all seven days of the week. Take 15 to 30 minutes planning your meals on weekends. This will help you to keep track of your meals, and you can change recipes for variety.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Use leftovers in one of your meals to prevent food waste.

  • Take inventory of foods in your refrigerator and pantry.

  • Review the newspaper to learn what foods are on sale and think about adding them as part of your meals.

  • Include your family's favorite recipes and look for new recipes that might become new family favorites!

  • Keep the family's schedule in mind as well as special events that may require eating outside the home or occasions that may include extra people.

  • Check cook books and the Internet for economical recipes.

  • Choose quick recipes for busy days. For example, casseroles and stews are good choices.

  • Review your plan to be sure foods from all the MyPyramid food groups are included in the meals and snacks.

  • Compare your choices with the MyPyramid recommendations.

  • Keep your menus in a file and reuse them during the year.

  • To keep your family from preferring to eat out, be creative with the recipes you serve.

Tables

Table 1. 

Weekly Meal Plan

Key phrases to remember when planning meals:

include leftovers, check inventory, on sale, favorite meals, quick ideas, new recipes, and food groups

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Breakfast

             

Lunch

             

Dinner

             

Snacks

             

How did I do?

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Grains

Vegetables

Fruit

Milk

Meat/Beans

Adapted from Iowa State University - Plan, Shop, $ave: Optional Menu Planning Activity http://www.extension.iastate.edu/efnep/web/fivedayplanningworksheet.pdf

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8936, one in a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published March 2011. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Claudia Peñuela, nutrition assistant – EFNEP; Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; University of Florida; Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.