How to Plan a Healthier Weekly Dinner Menu

I regularly follow a weekly menu plan link party... I have gotten some terrific ideas and recipes from looking at what other people have come up with for their dinners each week. Though often, I see menus that are too heavy with meat and cheese and/or too repetitive. How many times a week can you eat chicken? 

I thought I would share with you the thought process I try to use when planning my weekly dinner menu. 


I try to mix up types of meat and break up eating meat with having vegetarian dinners in between. 

Remember a serving of meat should be no more than the size of a deck of cards. Adult's only needs about 3 ounces of protein a day... fill up on vegetables. Use meat, especially red meat, more as a condiment instead of the center of the meal.

I also try to rotate the starch in our meals: potatoes, bread, quiona, pasta, different types of rice: basmatic, jasmine, black rice. We also eat barley and farro a very interesting Northern Italian grain. 
I try to serve a variety of cuisines: Mexican, Chinese, Turkish... thought Italian food is my foundation. 
Now I don't rigorously follow this guide... especially now that I am letting my older children have more say in our menu planning, my son wants red meat... my daughter wants cheese... but if I glance at my menu and it doesn't look balanced I go back to my guide.

My Menu Plan Guide: 

chicken dish (usually with potatoes) such as: Chicken CasseroleHerb Chicken, or Man Pleasing Chicken(it makes women happy too) 

1 bean dish (usually with rice) such as: Escarole & Beans or Black Beans & Rice, or a Bean Salad

red meat dish (usually as part of pasta dish or with potatoes) such as: Shepherd's PieBeef Stew, orSteak Pizzaiola

egg dish (usually with bread) such as: QuichePizzagaine Mexican Eggs, or Scrambled Pasta

cheese dish (usually with bread)  such as: QuesadillaEggplant Parmesan,  or Cheese Vegetable Casserole

ethic dish (Usually Asian dish with rice) such as: Noodle dish, or a Rice Dish

fish dish (usually with a grain like quinoa)  such as: Sicilian Tuna PastaSautéed Fish,  or Breaded Shrimp with Escarole and White Beans


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