Free Weekly Meal Planning Printables with Tons of Easy and Healthy Weeknight Family Dinner Ideas

Free Weekly Meal Planning Printables with Tons of Easy and Healthy Weeknight Family Dinner Ideas

Want to make your weekly meal planning easier?! Check out these free weekly meal planning printables with tons of easy and healthy weeknight family dinner ideas!

I can’t believe it’s already that time to think about it, but as we gear up for back-to-school and try to get ahead of the game (I mean, we can try to get ahead, right? Try?), I’m gettin’ together with some fellow blogging friends of mine (they’re amazing!) to help you get ready for the back-to-school season!

We’ve got all sorts of fun stuff up our sleeves – articles on how to save money on school supplies, simplifying the process of organizing school clothes, helpful books, fun printables, meal planning ideas (that’s me!), and soooo much more! I’ve linked to all of them at the end of this post, so be sure to check ’em all out – I’m certain you’ll get some great ideas!

No Prep Protein-Packed Green Chile Chicken and Quinoa Enchilada Soup

Ok friends, let’s get down to meal planning business!

Let’s face it. I don’t know about you, but even though I really enjoy cooking (and eating), it is often such a struggle to plan our weekly meals. I find myself taking far too long to get organized, decide on meals I’m going to make for the week, make my grocery list (without forgetting anything…why is this so challenging?), and then venture out to the grocery store with my munchkins in tow.

After thinking about it, I realized that the majority of the battle (and thus time spent) is in deciding what to make for dinners on a given week. Because I’m such a strong believer in the power of regular family meals, I really want to make it easier to get all of us around the table. So, since deciding what to make for dinner often consumes most of my time and thus seems to be the biggest challenge of meal planning, I decided I could make this a lot easier on myself by creating some basic meal categories – like casseroles, soups, and one-pot meals – and adding a ton of recipe ideas under each category. So, meal planning would then look more like this:

Meal Planning Steps

  1. Look at the calendar and think through what we have going on that week. Any busy evenings that need a really quickly-prepped meal? Are we having company for dinner? Are we going out of town and need to have some meals planned for when we return?
  2. Then, I just use the basic categories I’ve created and put a category for each day I want to cook. I never cook all 7 days of the week – I always plan for leftovers!
  3. Once I’ve put in the category, then I can look at my handy-dandy bank of meal ideas and just start filling in a meal for each theme I’ve chosen that week! Hardly much thought involved!
  4. Once I’ve decided on the meals, if I don’t already have recipes for some of them on a recipe card or in one of my cookbooks, I’ll quickly go look on Pinterest for specific recipes, and then save the ones I want to use that week to my “Make This Week” board. This way I can easily reference them when it comes time to make my grocery list and then actually make the meal once I’ve got all the ingredients.

Shepherd's Pie Soup - a hearty and flavorful soup full of protein, flavor, and vegetables!

If you think this process would help you simplify your weekly meal planning efforts, check out these free pretty meal planning printables I’ve created for people like us who love to cook but need some help getting organized!

Fill out this form to get ’em delivered to your inbox!

Get your Free Weekly Meal Planning Printables with Tons of Easy and Healthy Weeknight Family Dinner Ideas! Remember these meal planning ideas & share ’em with others – be sure to pin this to your favorite Pinterest board!


Get easy weeknight family dinner ideas plus a free weekly meal planning printable template! #mealplanning #weeknightdinners #recipeideas

Get easy weeknight dinner ideas for families plus a free weekly meal planning printable template! #mealplanning #weeknightdinners #recipeideas


Check out all of the other awesome ideas from my bloggin’ friends to help you get ready for back-to-school! You’re going to love ’em!

Oh, and don’t forget to cherish these sweet fleeting moments of summertime with your family before the craziness of the fall begins! 🙂

10 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Shopping 


A Complete Back-to-School Supplies Checklist (With Free Printable)


How to Make a Back to School Shopping Plan that Saves You Money


10 Unconventional Back-to-School Books Your Kids Will Love


First and Last Day of School Free Printable Signs


Save Time Every Morning With This Easy Way to Organize School Clothes


  1. These meal planners are so thorough and amazingly thought out! I love the detail you’ve put into them, they will certainly help make meal planning a breeze. And it doesn’t hurt that they are absolutely BEAUTIFUL, as well! 🙂

  2. Meal planning is the thing I struggle with more than any other in my home! I will organize my whole house and eat a bowl of cereal before sitting down to cook. I just don’t like it.

    But even though I don’t like it, I do it because my husband and two boys like food. I have about 5 go-to meals that are easy for me to cook. However, I am excited to get this meal planning idea list! Hopefully, it will give me the kick in the pants I need!! Thank you so much.

  3. you have the prettiest prettiest printables EVER and this one was made for my life. i never know what to make so i make the same things over and over. LOVE the category idea. my family will want to kiss you for this because they will finally be able to eat a better variety. ha! thanks for all your posts that make me so excited to gather my family together – no matter what state of CRAZY we are in!


  4. I’m so excited to go explore the meal ideas you sent to my inbox. I think this might just be what I needed to get me started on meal planning every week. I love that you mentioned that you don’t cook 7 days of the week because my biggest struggle in following my plan was that I didn’t plan for the leftovers.

    I would assign a recipe for each of the 7 days and then I was left with a pile of leftovers and ended up crossing off a lot of the recipes in my plan. That felt really frustrating because I didn’t see the point of creating a plan if I couldn’t follow it!

    Now that I know I have to plan for the leftovers and just assign recipes to a couple days out of the 7, I feel much better about creating a meal plan that will actually work for my family! Thanks, Mauri.

    1. Yes! I typically plan to cook 3, maybe 4 times per week. If we’re having guests over throughout the week, I’ll cook more often, but I usually plan 3 big dinners, because we’ll almost always have leftovers from each of those that we can eat for lunch or supper the following day. We have a potluck once a week and trade off making the main meals for that. It definitely helps to plan for leftovers, especially when it comes to our grocery bill! Whew!

Leave a Reply

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