A Week in the Life of Healthy Dinner Planning

If you’re not hungry yet, brace yourself, because you’re about to be – this post is 100% dedicated to delicious (and healthy!) meals that you can make in your very own kitchen.

One of the most common misconceptions I encounter from people who aren’t used to healthy eating is that it’s boring or restrictive. I’ve actually had someone say to me, “I like food too much to eat healthy.”

Um, what?!

Hi, I’m Brittany, and I freaking LOVE food. What part of me eating healthy makes you think I love food any less? I just love good food. Real food. Food good for my taste buds and my body.

In fact, now that we eat organic and our food is real, I think I love food more than before. There’s something magical about (gasp!) tasting food, rather than cheap chemical ingredients.

And, because healthy eating inherently comes with an increased use of herbs (especially fresh ones) and spices, I feel like my palate has been blown wide open.

If you’ve read my money-saving post Healthy Body, Healthy Bank Account: Eating Well Without Spending a Fortune, you know that we plan out an entire week of meals and grocery shop for them on Sundays. Some meals are decided by what’s on sale, but mostly it’s just, “Oh hey we haven’t had ______ in a while!”

I’ve seen people cringe when I tell them about our planning, but trust me when I say that this tactic is so helpful. When you set a menu, you tend to stick to it (rather than spend money on unhealthy takeout because there’s nothing to make). Plus, it saves time every evening – no hemming and hawing over what to make, or running to the store for ingredients you need.

It also helps you keep track of what you’re eating! I like being able to plan a week’s menu and ensure that we’re eating meat or dairy no more than a couple times a week, but cramming veggies in at every opportunity!

That being said, I thought I’d give you readers a little window into what it’s like to eat healthy (and organic) on a regular basis, and hopefully clear up misconceptions!

Is it all organic? Close, but not 100% – everything except the jasmine rice, pineapple, sausage, chicken, and peanut butter are organic.

Everything was prepared using coconut or olive oil, and seasoned with minimal salt, instead relying heavily on garlic powder and other sodium-free seasonings. (The exception, of course, being soy sauce/coconut aminos, but most weekly menus don’t require soy sauce. This menu is a rarity, using it twice in the same week.)

Without further ado, feast your eyes on one of our recent weekly menus:

Sunday:   B.F.D. (Breakfast For Dinner)

Dairy-free

0618171907 retouched

This is one of my husband’s favorites! The kitchen is 100% his when this is going down – he multi-tasks on every burner with the skill of a seasoned chef!

I guess I wouldn’t exactly call this meal one of our healthiest, per se, but we absolutely adore breakfast food, so we’ve found a cleaner way to do it, with better choices. Plus, I try to sneak nutrition in where I can (adding veggies to the scrambled eggs).

What’s in it:

  • Nature’s Path Organic Waffles (found in freezer section), topped with a little organic maple syrup (Whole Foods 365 brand)
  • Homemade hash browns (shredded using our VeggieBullet)
  • Scrambled eggs (Pete & Gerry’s Organic Free Range Eggs) with roma tomatoes and spinach (prepared using almond milk, seasoning, and mainly egg whites – just one yolk between us)
  • Chicken Breakfast Sausage (Kirkwood “Never Any!” brand, found at Aldi)

Monday:   Pineapple Chicken over Zoodles

Dairy-free

retouched pineapple chicken

We usually prepare our chicken with a simple sauce and serve it over rice, though now that the VeggieBullet has entered our kitchen, we totally take advantage of the ability to make zoodles! We happened to have a pineapple this week, so I suggested we saute up some onions and pineapple as a lovely addition to our dish!

What’s in it:

  • Sauce:  6 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or tamari) + 4 Tbsp honey + 2 Tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp minced garlic
  • Yellow onions and pineapple slices, sautéed in olive oil
  • Zucchini noodles (done using the VeggieBullet)
  • The Fresh Market chicken breasts (100% vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free, cage-free – sourced from Springer Mountain Farms)

It really is as simple as cooking up the chicken (with half the sauce), then setting it aside on a plate to sauté the onion/pineapple for about 5 minutes. Then, add in the zoodles (and the rest of the sauce). Cook until the zoodles are tender, then add the chicken back in to re-heat briefly. Sprinkle some sesame seeds, and voilà!


Tuesday:   Avocado Quinoa (or Pasta)

Meat-free & dairy-free (vegan)

IMG_20170608_191852_162

I know, this meal isn’t exactly the most photogenic one, but it’s so delicious and easy, that it doesn’t matter if it’s not “pretty”!

The challenge of this meal is basically waiting for your avocados to be ready, so when I buy them on Sunday, I go into the week knowing that I may have to shift meal nights around based on the will of the avo gods!

We started out using this recipe, but I’ll be honest – 90% of the time, we don’t have basil or lemon/lime on-hand, so I make it without. Our version is also sans cheese, so it’s super basic.

What’s in it:

  • Aldi’s Simply Nature organic quinoa – my fave quinoa! (I cook up 1 cup of dry quinoa for this meal, to serve two adults.)
  • Two ripe avocados (halved/pitted/peeled) + hearty dash of garlic/onion powder + black pepper + 1 diced garlic clove + splash of olive oil (about 1/8 cup or less)

This recipe comes together in minutes – simply cook your quinoa (or pasta) while you get your other ingredients blended in a food processor. Blend till creamy smooth, then serve over hot quinoa/pasta.

You can also sauté up some onions and tomatoes to top off this dish, which is excellent!


Wednesday:   Veggies & Lentils in Peanut Sauce

Meat-free & dairy-free (vegan)

Lentil peanut retouched

If you like peanut butter, you’ll love this recipe from Vegan Richa. It’s a little bit of a longer prep, but it’s 100% worth it! It’s totally something I’d expect to get from a high-end Thai restaurant.

This has become one of my new favorite “comfort foods” because the sauce is just so wonderfully creamy and satisfying!

What’s in it:

  • Sauce: Peanut butter, coconut milk, spices, lime juice, sesame oil, Sriracha sauce, & soy sauce (you can sub coconut aminos or San-J Organic Tamari, like we do)
  • Veggies (zucchini, carrot, onion, red pepper), lime, ginger, garlic, & cilantro
  • Served with a side of jasmine rice – so aromatic and comforting!

Feel free to leave out the salt and/or sugar in the recipe (I usually do) because there’s just so much other flavor going on!

Be sure to use a high-quality peanut butter (no over-processed junk) so that you get a smooth, velvety melt. Our PB of choice these days is (shockingly) Smucker’s Natural Creamy PB. We actually don’t buy the organic version, but this product is literally just peanuts and < 1% salt (no added sugars, oils, preservatives etc.).

On a related note, be sure to grab a full-fat version of coconut milk, since it helps make a thicker sauce. We love Native Forest brand (bonus: BPA-free cans).


Thursday:   Pizza & Salad

Meat-free (vegetarian)

Pizza Retouched

Even when you need a low-key night and reach for something frozen, it doesn’t have to be total garbage. We’ve tried out many different brands of organic frozen pizzas, but Monteli is one of our fave brands (along with Amy’s). Pictured is Monteli’s Organic Roasted Vegetable pizza – one of the best!

For a super quick meal, we threw one in the oven, and complimented it with a quick side salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and onion.


Friday:   Chipotle

Friday nights are our one “cheat” night a week, where we fully enjoy not dirtying up the kitchen! It’s usually Chipotle or Chinese, to be honest.

Even as far as cheat food goes, Chipotle makes their food fresh from real, non-GMO sourced ingredients and quality meat/dairy. Plus, between the beans, the fajita mix of green peppers/onions, the mild salsa, the corn salsa, and guac, you’re getting nutritional value! I’ve actually broken myself of getting cheese on my bowl, but I still need a dollop of sour cream.


Saturday:   Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Meat-free & dairy-free (vegan)

IMG_20170201_174117_926

I’m so happy to add this wonderful recipe by The Garden Grazer to our culinary repertoire! It’s way more filling than you’d ever expect, so we often don’t even serve it with a side! We each end up eating two halves, so at minimum it requires two peppers. But, if we use three peppers, then we have lunch the next day!

What’s in it:

  • 2 – 3 bell peppers (choose your fave colors)
  • Stuffing mix: Diced grape tomatoes/onion/carrot, black beans, corn, nutritional yeast, cilantro, cumin, paprika, chili/onion/garlic powder, and black pepper + Aldi’s Simply Nature organic quinoa (cooked)
  • Served with guacamole for garnish

This recipe is super easy to customize too – any diced veggies (or even nuts) you want can go into your stuffing mix!


So, hungry now?! I am! I wish you could actually taste these dishes, but I promise, they are nowhere near bland or boring!

If you’d like to check out some of my other favorite recipes, which also get put on our weekly menus, check out my food board on Pinterest!

Hit me up with any questions in the comments section below!

Wishing you healthier, happier days!

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5 thoughts on “A Week in the Life of Healthy Dinner Planning

  1. Now I’m starving. Meal planning is where I go wrong when I get off track. It’s so essential!! Plus I think you just gave me a few new ideas with this one!! (That breakfast tho!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this article. You were right it did leave me hungry …..The breakfast was my favorite. Put the stuffed peppers looked yummy.!!!!

    Like

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