No matter what project you’re doing—from painting a room to writing a report—good planning will set you off on the right foot. Preparing nourishing, budget-friendly meals each day is no exception. It takes time to schedule a week of dinners, but the payoff of successfully feeding your family homemade food is well worth the investment.
And we’re here to help. We’ve worked with registered dietitian Kristy Hogger to design weekly meal plans that make it easy for you to cook a balanced, delicious and budget-friendly meal each night of the week. Here’s an inside look at how we create these recipe lineups.
Planning for Flavour
Great taste is the first priority in every recipe we create. We’ve developed our meal plans to have a scrumptious combination of flavours, textures, and tried-and-true ingredient pairings so everyone in your house leaves the table satisfied. “We make sure there is variety—in both taste and nutrition—by including different types of vegetables, fruits, grains, meats or meat alternatives and milk products or milk alternatives,” says Hogger. This wide selection of flavours and nutrients will help foster healthy eating habits and make dinnertime an adventure you look forward to.
Every week, you’ll find delicious meal solutions the whole family will love, including a mix of crisp salads, grilled mains, pizzas, pan-fried chops, stews, lasagnas and much more. Plus, you’ll learn easy ways to bring great new flavours to your table.
We’ve also made it easy to tailor the meal plans to suit your own tastes. If your family isn’t wild about a specific ingredient or flavour, says Hogger, tweak the recipe a little by substituting something similar that everyone enjoys. For example, if kale isn’t your favourite leafy green, you can still make a recipe that calls for it by swapping in milder-tasting spinach.
Planning for Nutrition
We make sure our meal plans are balanced so you can be sure you’re cooking a nutritious meal every night. “A balanced meal contains full servings from at least three of four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide,” says Hogger. “These food groups are Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives.” This way, your body receives the nutrients it needs for energy and good health.
If a recipe doesn’t include a full serving of a food group, we’ve made sure our meal plans offer a delicious way to round out the meal. For instance, says Hogger, “a homemade pizza may contain half a cup of red peppers over four servings, which isn’t a full serving of vegetables per person. In that case, our meal plan may suggest you add a big leafy salad to the meal to make up the veggie shortfall.” Likewise, a stir-fry of meat and veggies misses out on grains, so our meal plan may recommend serving it with a simple side of steamed rice to cover your nutritional bases.
Planning for Cost
We paid attention to budget when we developed these weekly plans, says Hogger. “With dinner in mind for the week ahead, you can keep an eye out for sales on ingredients you might need,” she says. “And you won’t have to fall back on expensive takeout or restaurant meals.” Plus, with a grocery list in hand, you’ll be less tempted to pick up items that aren’t on your menu.
Planning for Ease
“The recipes we created for our meal plans feature easy cooking techniques, and many take less than 30 minutes to make, including prep and cooking time,” says Hogger. This simple, step-by-step approach takes the guesswork out of making dinner and gives you more time to yourself in the evenings.
Planning for You
Most of all, we want to give you the tools you need to make delicious, stress-free meals that you enjoy cooking and your family loves eating. Having a plan allows you to prep ahead: You can shop on the weekend, prewash and chop veggies, prep greens and herbs, cube meat or poultry and get everything organized for the week to come. With our meal plans in hand, it can be easier to feed your entire family wholesome, nourishing food every night. Cooking really can be the most satisfying part of your day—for body and soul.