How to Plan a Healthier Weekly Dinner Menu
By Diane Balch on June 18, 2012
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:
1 chicken dish (usually with potatoes) such as: Chicken Casserole, Herb 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
1 red meat dish (usually as part of pasta dish or with potatoes) such as: Shepherd's Pie, Beef Stew, orSteak Pizzaiola
1 egg dish (usually with bread) such as: Quiche, Pizzagaine , Mexican Eggs, or Scrambled Pasta
1 cheese dish (usually with bread) such as: Quesadilla, Eggplant Parmesan, or Cheese Vegetable Casserole
1 ethic dish (Usually Asian dish with rice) such as: Noodle dish, or a Rice Dish
1 fish dish (usually with a grain like quinoa) such as: Sicilian Tuna Pasta, Sautéed Fish, or Breaded Shrimp with Escarole and White Beans