Meal Planning Cheat Sheet

Part of the Cheat Sheet series

Opened notebook with handwritten meal plan

Let’s talk about meal planning…

Meal planning is one habit you can add that will help you meet your nutrition goals. Having a plan for the week makes it easier to stay on track and anticipate potential problems before they become nutrition sabatogers.  You should tailor your specific plan to best fit your personal preferences and lifestyle, but the guiding principles shown in this cheat sheet help with healthy and balanced eating throughout the week.

A cheat sheet for meal planning

Try This: If doing everything on this meal planning cheat sheet seems overwhelming, start with one or two and add in a couple more each week. Eventually it will become intuitive.

For a printable version of the Meal Planning Cheat Sheet, click on the button below

How I Do Meal Planning

I use the principles from the meal planning cheat sheet within the following framework when meal planning:

Dinner & Lunch:

To start, I make a very clear dinner plan. It can always change a bit, but this ensures I have healthy meals available to prepare at home.  I usually plan to eat out one dinner a week and have something I can throw together (hello breakfast for dinner!) if we don’t feel like going out. This helps cut down on food waste from overbuying. Lunches depend on the week’s schedules and what’s available in the freezer. If I’ve built up several 1 or 2 serving leftovers, I may have a very loose plan. If we’re low, then I’ll plan 2-3 easy things that can be eaten across several days. This works well for me since I work from home and have a flexible schedule. It may help you to prep needed lunches over the weekend – and remember frozen leftovers are your friend!


For breakfast, I usually have one or two “special” things planned. Then I’ll make sure I have a variety of ingredients that can be put together for a healthy breakfast. Some example ingredients are eggs, veggies, greens, nuts and seeds, plain Greek yogurt, whole grain organic bread, frozen root vegetable hash browns, avocados, fresh herbs.

Tea Time:

For tea time snack, I plan 1 healthy snack to eat throughout the week with green tea. . This may be a homemade healthy treat with lots of nuts and seeds and healthy ingredients like dates and dark chocolate or mini grazing board ingredients (dates, strawberries, apples or other fruit, nut butter, and dark chocolate). Savory snacks might be steamed edamame or humus.

When meal planning for the week, don’t forget to check your calendar. Note days when you need to utilize super-quick meals, leftovers, or meals you have frozen.

Looking for a healthy meal to add to your plan?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *