Do you understand the benefits of meal planning for your family, but need a little help getting started? If you’re determined to make meal planning a new habit for less stressful days, but don’t know where to begin, this 7 day family meal plan is just what you need.
If you are looking for fresh, real food ideas, you’re in the right place!
I’ll give you my best tips for kid-friendly meal planning, an actual 7 day meal plan with recipes, and even a shopping list to get you moving in the right direction.
How to meal plan for your family
Once you develop a simple strategy for meal planning, you’ll save time, money, and energy — all while feeding your family healthy meals that everyone enjoys. Here are my top five planning tips.
1. Use a calendar!
We all have certain days of the week that are more hectic than others, requiring crockpot meals, leftovers, or a clean-out-the-fridge night. Pull out your calendar — digital or paper — to get a good feel for what’s to come and plan your meals according to your schedule.
Knowing what’s to come reduces decision fatigue, overwhelm, and the possibility of giving into poor eating habits.
2. Consider your family’s tastes
Considering your family’s favorite meals provides a place to start from — even if their favorites require some tweaking to bring more nutrient density to your table.
I always encourage families to keep a running list of their top ten breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes so that a couple can be incorporated into each weekly plan.
Our family loves tacos, so each week we have Taco Tuesday night for all to look forward to. Try your own theme style planning.
3. Aim for balance and variety
Throughout the course of the week, it’s important to make sure that a variety of foods are making an appearance.
- When it comes to fruits and veggies, aim to “eat the rainbow” in colorful produce.
- Include different types of meats and seafood.
- Break free from the same old sources of natural fats that you may turn to over and over.
Seeking variety over the course of the week will give you and your family the best chance of getting a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from your food.
In addition, aim for balance within your meals.
- Do you have a source of quality protein?
- Do you have a source of colorful fruit or veggies?
- Do you have a source of natural fat?
Do a quick check for reassurance that you are getting the macronutrients that you and your family need.
4. Prep ahead and love your leftovers
When laying out your 7 day family meal plan, consider what foods could be prepped in advance to pull delicious dishes together quickly. Any washing, chopping, whisking, or cooking that can be done ahead is always welcomed.
Never undervalue leftovers! Repurposing food that you have already cooked is one of my favorite time-saving strategies for putting together healthy meals! Plan for the use of leftovers right within your meal plan.
5. Include your family in the process
This may sound crazy, but anytime you can include your family in the meal planning process, the more buy-in you’ll get. That means fewer scrunched noses from picky eaters.
Have your kids help select which veggies they get for lunch, which type of fish will be cooked on Friday, and which seeds will top their favorite salad.
Giving kids (and spouses) a voice, makes healthy eating and DIY cooking a stronger and enjoyable family commitment. It’s also an opportunity to teach kids about nutrition.
7 day family meal plan
Here’s an example of a 7-day real food family meal plan (for four people) that you can follow to a tee, or tweak to meet your needs.
It’s packed with recipes if you are looking for new ideas and things to try. But, it could also be greatly simplified by using dinner leftovers with a side salad for lunch on most days.
|Day 1||Banana Almond Pancakes & bacon||Turkey Caprese Roll-ups & fresh fruit||Mini Garden Meatzas & baked sweet potatoes|
|Day 2||Veggie omelet & fresh berries||Curious Cobb Jar Salad||Quick Fix Chicken Tacos|
|Day 3||Nutty Banana Overnight Oats||Ultimate Turkey Sandwich||Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas|
|Day 4||Breakfast Tacos||Snack-time Skewers & fresh fruit||Chicken Teriyaki Bowls|
|Day 5||Blueberry Sausage & scrambled eggs||Italian Sub Pinwheels||Ginger Shrimp Curry|
|Day 6||Lemon Blueberry Muffins & chicken sausage||Sweet Potato Toasts||Primal Chili|
|Day 7||Egg Muffins||Coco-cado Smoothie||Mexican Lasagna|
These are some of our family’s go-to breakfast recipes week after week! Check them out.
Banana Almond Pancakes
Who knew that a banana, scoop of nut (or seed butter), and an egg could create such a yummy pancake batter? This basic Banana Almond Pancake recipe is a weekly staple in our house, served alongside chicken sausage or bacon.
Nutty Banana Overnight Oats
As a mom, my favorite part of this Nutty Banana Overnight Oats recipe is that my kids like to make it themselves! Measure and mix a handful of ingredients in a jar… let it soak in the fridge overnight…and top with fresh sliced bananas in the morning.
When Breakfast Tacos are served as part of your 7 day family meal plan, the family comes running! I like to use organic deli ham as my taco shell, but grain-free, or non-GMO corn tortillas can be added to the outside as well.
Savory Blueberry Sausage
Fresh blueberries and fresh rosemary add a fun surprise to your everyday sausage. This recipe is a great way to expose your kids to the power of herbs. Try Blueberry Rosemary Sausage patties paired with a side of eggs cooked to order.
Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Muffins are a treat in our house, but I always feel good putting these Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins on the table. The combination of fresh lemon, chia seeds, and blueberries will satisfy your family’s taste buds. Pair them with chicken sausage for a boost of protein.
Egg Muffins are perfect for primal families and primal kids. Whether you’re cooking with toddlers or teens, your kids can help and choose the veggies they want to add. You can make them ahead of time for busy weekday mornings.
Mix and match these lunch ideas into your week for delicious flavor, healthy ingredients, and a little fun along the way.
Turkey Caprese Wraps
The best part of a “wrap” is that the inner ingredients can just as easily be used as the wrap itself. In this Avocado Turkey Caprese Wrap, the turkey becomes the shell — all the flavor and nutrition remain. Pair with a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.
Curious Cobb Jar Salad
The combination of veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and all-natural salami in this Curious Cobb Jar Salad is so tasty with homemade balsamic dressing. I love how the ingredients above the dressing stay crisp until you are ready to eat.
Ultimate Turkey Sandwich
The beloved Turkey Sandwich stacked high with veggies can be enjoyed real as part of a real food lifestyle with almond flour bread, a quality gluten-free multi-grain, or long-ferment sourdough bread. This recipe uses simple smashed avocado as a healthy fat spread.
Snack Time Skewers aren’t just for snacks, or just for kids — eating off of a stick is fun anytime for anyone.
Italian Sub Pinwheels
I loved Italian subs as a little girl, but now that our family lives a primal lifestyle, I needed to come up with a healthy substitute for the giant hoagie rolls typically used. This Italian Sub Pinwheel recipe meets all my family’s needs flavor-wise and uses an almond flour tortilla to wrap up the inner goodness.
Sweet Potato (Pizza) Toasts
Who doesn’t love a good fancy toast? Substituting the bread for thinly sliced sweet potato keeps it real and full of good nutrition. The pepperoni pizza version is my youngest son’s favorite.
My kids have loved to make this Coco-cado Smoothie by themselves since third grade. They are always surprised by the creamy texture the avocado provides, while the cacao keeps the flavor full of chocolatey goodness.
Give these comforting and tasty dinner recipes a try for simple healthy meals that fit into busy schedules.
Mini Garden Meatzas
Make your own pizza night naturally draws kids into the kitchen, and this Mini Garden Meatza recipe is more nutrient-dense than a typical pizza. Challenge each family member to pick at least three different colored produce toppings as they make their own creations.
Quick-Fix Chicken Tacos
At our house, some version of tacos makes an appearance every Tuesday night. This Quick Fix Chicken Taco recipe is at the top of the list.
Whether you slow-cook a whole chicken, put thighs in the Instant Pot, grill some breasts, or grab a pre-cooked rotisserie bird, it pulls together in a flash. Assign each family member a task, and you’ll be eating in no time!
Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas
Fajitas get the stamp of approval from most family members, and this Crockpot Flank Steak Fajita recipe has the slow-cooker do all the work for you.
Serve them in non-GMO corn, or alternative flour tortillas, or over Mexican Cauliflower Rice (our family’s favorite).
Chicken Teriyaki Bowls
This Chicken Teriyaki Cauli-Rice Bowl is a simple dish to pull together for busy weeknight dinners, and the leftovers make for perfect gluten-free lunches. Serve over cauliflower rice or white rice.
Ginger Shrimp Curry
This Ginger Shrimp Curry recipe can be made with any mild white fish, such as halibut or cod, and in combination with creamy coconut milk, lime, and ginger, any “fishy” taste for picky palates is subdued.
Typical chili dishes are made from a heavy base of beans, whereas this Primal Chili recipe emphasizes vegetables and meat with mild spices and a hint of cinnamon. Set up a topping bar for each family member to garnish with their favorite add-ons.
Layers of noodles, sauce, meat, and cheese! This Mexican Primal Lasagna recipe adds a twist with unique flavor (not too spicy), chicken, almond flour noodles, and mild veggies amongst its layers.
Your 7 day family meal plan shopping list
Here is a shopping list that corresponds with the complete 7 day meal plan above for a family of four. It is chalked full based on the suggested recipes.
Make sure to check what you already have on hand, as many of the foods listed are staples. Simplify as you see fit, and remember to adjust based on the number of people you are feeding.
- Almond butter (or any nut/seed butter), 2 ½ cups
- Coconut flour, ¼ cup (optional)
- Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup
- Shelled hemp seeds, ¼ cup
- Chia seeds, ¼ cup
- Rolled oats, 2+ cups
- Tortillas (alternative flour, or non-GMO corn), 16
- Bread (gluten free, or long-ferment sourdough), 1 loaf
- Gluten free flour (Bob’s Red Mill), 2 cups
- Baking powder
- Coconut sugar, ¾ cup
- Cacao powder, ¼ cup
Fats, oils, spreads
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Butter, or ghee
Liquids, canned, jarred
- Balsamic vinegar
- Pizza sauce (such as Muir Glen), 1 jar
- Tomato paste, 6 oz
- Diced tomatoes, 24 oz
- Fire roasted diced tomatoes, 24 oz
- Red enchilada sauce, 2 15 oz jars
- Salsa (such as Muir Glen), 10 oz
- Canned coconut milk, 2 15 oz cans
- Roasted red peppers, 1 jar
- Sliced black olives, 3 small cans
- Artichoke hearts, 1 can
- Green olives, 1 jar
- Banana peppers, 1 jar
- Chicken bone broth, 4 ½ cups
- Coconut aminos
- Teriyaki sauce (Coconut Secret brand)
- Fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
- Red curry paste
Dried herbs & spices
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Herbs de Provence
- Sea salt
Vegetables & herbs
- Asparagus, 1 bunch
- Baby spinach, 1 lrg container
- Basil, fresh
- Broccoli, 6 cups florets
- Cabbage – 1 small head
- Carrots, 4 lrg
- Cauliflower, 2 heads
- Celery, 1 bunch
- Cherry tomatoes, 2 pints
- Cilantro, 1 bunch
- Cucumber, 2 – 3
- Garlic, 3 heads
- Ginger, fresh, ~ ¼ cup
- Green bell pepper, 3
- Green onions, 2 lrg bunch
- Jalapeno, 3
- Red bell pepper, 10
- Red onion, 2
- Romaine – 1 head
- Rosemary, fresh
- Sweet potatoes, 6 lrg
- Tomato, 2
- White or yellow onion, 4
- Zucchini, 4
- Avocado, 10
- Bananas, 2 bunch
- Berries of choice
- Blueberries, 1 pint
- Fruit of choice for sides
- Lemons, 2 – 3
- Limes, 5
- Oranges, 5
Meats, seafood, eggs, dairy
- Eggs, 3 – 4 dozen
- Ground beef, 4 lbs divided
- Flank or skirt steak, 2 lbs
- Chicken thighs, 5 lbs divided
- Chicken (any cut), 2 lbs
- Ground pork sausage, 1 lb
- Medium shrimp, 1+ lbs
- Halibut (or other white fish) filet, 1 lb
- Deli turkey, 2 ½ lbs
- Deli ham, 1 ½ lbs
- Salami, 12 servings
- Pepperoni, ½ lb
- Chicken sausage, 8 servings
- Provolone, 8 slices
- Cheddar, 4 cups shredded
- Cheddar (or swiss), 4 slices
- Fresh mozzarella balls, 4 servings
- Almond milk (or milk of choice), 4 cups
- Cappellos GF lasagna sheets, 2 pkg (or rice flour lasagna noodles)
With my top five strategies for family meal planning, a 7 day example, plenty of recipes, and a full shopping list, you are now ready to take the wheel and try meal planning for yourself!
If you are looking for more examples like this 7 day plan, be sure to check out the Four Weeks of Real Food eBook!