A Month of Semi-Vegetarian Weekly Meal Plans

Meal Plan

Happy New Year! (-Ish!)

It’s almost the end of one year and the beginning of another, cueing our collective conscience to remind us about all the ways we’d like to make better choices in the year to come. In considering positive change, I’m guessing no one is surprised to learn that eating better and/or losing weight is perennially the number one choice of resolution makers. If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably been there. I don’t have a lot to say about the topic of resolutions and whether or not they’re a good idea to make, but I do have some opinions on healthy eating–one of them being that eating a semi-vegetarian diet (about 50% of meals) is an excellent choice for your health, your budget, and the planet. (See this post for some convincing reasons why.) So today, as we look forward to 2017, I have a little something for you.

But first, a short history. A few months ago I had hoped to start a paid meal planning service on A Love Letter to Food. I got all hyped up about it and even ran a giveaway on my Facebook page in which I created a week of custom meal plans for three winners. The idea was that it I, as a nutritionist, could consult with clients about their family’s food needs and preferences, in order to provide customized, healthy meal plans for a fairly small fee. Who doesn’t want to minimize the stress and time of planning meals for an entire family, right?

In the end, though, I realized that for now, this is not a direction I will be taking with A Love Letter to Food (though I would still like to in the future). Other sites are already providing similar services for rock-bottom prices I don’t know that I as an individual could compete with. (But hey, if you ever want help with custom meal planning, feel free to make me an offer and we’ll chat!)

And, you know, I genuinely do enjoy creating combinations of healthy meals! So today I want to offer you, my readers, four weeks of semi-vegetarian meal plans–the kind I would shop and make for my own family. Most of these come from this blog, but even those that don’t are all recipes I have fed my family and which have gone over well! (We are a family of five with children ages 5, 7, and 9.) Most of these are based on servings for four adults, which you can of course modify for your own family size. You will notice that each week contains some repeat items, both in the sense of repeat ingredients and repeat finished products–for the sake of minimizing prep time and groceries purchased. I have noted where to make extra in one meal to save for a later meal. You also may notice that this meal rotation is intended for the season of fall/winter. No fresh tomatoes, berries, etc. here. Lastly, I’ve tried to take cost and ability into account, so you won’t find any crazy ingredients or difficult cooking techniques in these recipes. Just reliable, family-friendly, delicious, healthy meals.

I hope you find them helpful! Here’s to your health in 2017!

WEEK 1

Monday: Salmon Kale Caesar Wraps, Tortilla Chips, Fruit Salad (any fruits you like)

Tuesday: Lentil Sausage Soup, Garlic Bread (store-bought or homemade)

Wednesday: Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Refried Beans (canned, warmed on the stovetop)

Thursday: Mexican Quinoa, Tortilla Chips & Guacamole (store-bought or homemade)

Friday: Chicken Pot Pie

Saturday: Dinner out

Sunday: Spicy Kale Lasagna, Garlic Bread (store-bought or homemade)

Week 2

Monday: 1 1/2 recipe of Parmesan Vegetable Pasta (make according to recipe except for adding chicken; save extra half for side dish later in the week), Green Salad

Tuesday: Creamy Red Pepper Cauliflower Soup, Toasted Crusty Bread

Wednesday: Parmesan Salmon (Combine 2 parts mayo and 1 part shredded Parmesan cheese and spread over tops of salmon fillets. Sprinkle with snipped chives and bake at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes), Leftover Parmesan Vegetable Pasta

Thursday: Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken DrumsticksMashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes (reduce amount of chipotle pepper for reduced spice), Corn (fresh, frozen, or canned–heated with butter and salt)

Friday: Bacon-Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Toasted Crusty Bread

Saturday: Dinner out

Sunday: Double Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, Green Salad

Week 3

Monday: Simple Broccoli QuicheGarlic Herb Potato Wedges (make a double batch and save half for later)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Veggie Tortilla Soup (as written but reduce broth to 5 c.), Basic Nachos (spread tortilla chips on a baking sheet, sprinkle with shredded Mexican blend cheese, and broil for 60 seconds) 

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan Burgers, Garlic Herb Potato Wedges (second half from Monday), Green Salad

Thursday: Vegetable Pot Pie Skillet with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Friday: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Perfect Cornbread Muffins (make a double batch and save half for Sunday)

Saturday: Dinner out

Sunday: Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken (Make enough for this meal and about 2 c. of leftovers for next week: Cover chicken with BBQ sauce in a slow cooker, cook 6 hours on low. Drain, shred, and return to slow cooker with a coat of fresh BBQ sauce for another 30 minutes), Perfect Cornbread Muffins (second half from Friday), Steamed Broccoli

Week 4

Monday: Vegetable Feta Tart, Fruit Salad

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (leftovers from last week’s BBQ chicken, store-bought or homemade pizza dough, bbq sauce, mozzarella, red onion, and cilantro), Green Salad

Wednesday: Cajun-Lemon Baked Tilapia w/Dill Cream Sauce, Rice (make a double batch and save half for Friday), Steamed Vegetable (your choice)

Thursday: Black Bean Burritos, Mexican-Style Vegetables (found in the frozen section of the grocery store, heated on the stovetop with butter and salt)

Friday: Orange Beef Stir Fry with Onion and Snow Peas, Rice (half batch from Wednesday)

Saturday: Dinner out

Sunday: Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Garlic Croutons, Green Salad

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