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Easy Healthy Meal Plans (5 FREE Meal Plans!)

Apr 9, 2024 | Meal Planning | 0 comments

Easy Healthy Meal Plans

Get expert tips on how to meal plan, meal planning for beginners & meal prep, PLUS 5 FREE Easy Healthy Meal Plans.

Key Takeaways

  • Meal planning can truly make your life easier, decreasing dinnertime stress and helping you to feed your family well without spending hours in the kitchen.
  • Meal planning helps decrease food spending, cutting back on both food waste and takeout
  • If you need help getting started, make sure to grab your 5 free easy healthy meal plans below!

What does dinner time look like in your house?

Is it a happy, peaceful time when the family comes together at the end of the day for good food and conversation? What about the process of getting dinner on the table? Is it enjoyable, or at least reasonably calm?

Or is dinner time a bit more chaotic than that?

I get it, family dinners aren't always how we imagined they would be. Kids get hangry and we get busy, making dinner a mad scramble to get something on the table, preferably something the kids will actually eat. You may end up thinking, “is this even worth it?”

Well I'm here to tell you, yes, it is worth it. AND, there is an easier way. I'm a huge believer in the importance of family dinners, so much so that I've devoted my career to creating tools to make easy, healthy family dinners a whole lot easier. I understand that you need a simple meal plan that helps you make healthy, unprocessed food without devoting hours to the kitchen.

Whether you're a total newbie looking for meal planning for beginners or you're a meal planning veteran looking for some free easy, healthy meal plans to add into your rotation, this is for you! Make sure to scroll to the end to download your 5 free meal prep meal plans including 3, 1-week meal plans, a freezer meals meal plan and prep-ahead lunches.

Why Meal Planning?

Meal Planning for Beginners

At this point in my life I can't even imaging not having a meal plan. I think I would lose my mind!

But if you're new to meal planning or simply looking for a little boost in motivation, I'm going to share what I see as the biggest benefits of meal planning.

Save Money on Groceries

If you want to save money on groceries, I would argue that meal planning is the number one thing you can do. Without a plan, it's way too easy to grab random things in the grocery store, resulting in a mish-mash it's hard to actually turn into meals. Not having a plan also often means the items you do buy will go to waste. If you grab celery but have no idea what you're going to do with, it's much more likely it will linger in the fridge until it's past its prime and eventually wind up in the garbage or compost.

Furthermore, not having a meal plan always leads to more takeout, which is SO much more expensive than cooking at home.

Meal planning allows you to go into the grocery store (or online grocery order) with a clear plan, avoiding those pesky impulse purchases that add up so quickly. Meal planning also makes it much more likely that you'll actually use what you buy.

Encourages Healthy Eating

When you sit down and make a weekly meal plan, you can think about your priorities for feeding your family. What does healthy eating look like to you? Does it mean lots of protein and veggies? Does it mean little to no processed foods? Or, does it mean including lots of variety and new foods?

No matter what your meal time priorities are, it's so much easier to incorporate them into your meals when you sit down to make a plan than when you're rushing through the grocery store.

Less Stress

While I love the financial and health benefits of meal planning, perhaps my favorite thing about it is what it does for my state of mind. As an entrepreneur with two young kids, things can get pretty busy over here in the Schaaf household. One thing I try to do to combat this is to be fully present with whatever it is I'm doing.

When I'm with my boys, I want to really be there with them, not thinking about what I can throw together for dinner or trying to complete a last minute grocery delivery on my phone while they play. I absolutely love knowing that I always have a plan and have dinner prepped and ready to go.

Eat More Variety

I love introducing my boys to new foods. It's a wonderful way to combat picky eating and I love knowing that they (and my husband and I!) are getting the variety or vitamins and micronutrients that come from a varied diet. Meal planning allows me to thoughtfully think about what new foods I can incorporate that week, rather than rushing through the grocery store and grabbing the same standby items each week.

Tips for Making Easy Healthy Meal Plans

If you're sold on meal planning but don't know where to get started, here are some quick tips for you:

1. Check the Calendar

Check your calendar to see what nights you'll be home late, be extra busy, need to serve an early dinner before soccer practice, etc. Then figure out how many meals you'll need to plan for that week.

2. Be Realistic

Especially if you're new to meal planning, don't get carried away! Avoid choosing all new recipes you've never made before. Incorporating 1-2 new recipes a week keeps things interesting, but don't be afraid to intersperse them with some family favorites.

3. Prep Ahead

If you know me at all, you know I'm a huge fan of meal prep. I love life hacks and anything that makes my days run more smoothly and meal prep is at the tippy top of the list. If you've never heard of meal prep and have no idea where to start, simply wash and chop your produce for the week when you get home from the grocery store. Just doing that one task will make your life SO much easier all week long. You can also check out my Meal Prep for Beginners Guide for tips.

(Psst! Think you don't have time to meal prep? Check out my short video on Time-Saving Meal Prep Hacks.)

4. Overlap Ingredients

In our Prep Dish meal plans, we pride ourselves on no wasted ingredients. That means if you use half an onion in one recipe, you'll use the other half in a different recipe that week. We also often include a common ingredient in multiple recipes. For instance, you might make one big batch of quinoa and use it in two or three recipes in a given week. This cuts down on meal prep AND cuts down on food waste.

5. Keep it Simple

Meals don't have to be complicated to be healthy and delicious! Sometimes a simple meat + veggie + carb is the perfect meal. My salt & pepper drumsticks are super popular and they couldn't be any simpler! I actually have an episode of my podcast, Meal Prep Monday, all about 10 proteins that need nothing by salt and pepper to taste delicious.

Prep Dish – The Simple Healthy Meal Plan System

Easy Healthy Meal Plans for Families

If you love the idea of meal planning but feel overwhelmed by the idea of it or simply have no time, Prep Dish meal plans may be a good fit for you.

My career began as a personal chef. I would go into homes and prep the week's food for my clients. They could simply finish and reheat the dishes when they were ready to eat. I quickly realized that this is a system that would benefit everyone! We can't all have personal chefs, but Prep Dish is the next best thing.

Every week our subscribers receive 4 meal prep meal plans: Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb and 1-Hour Super Fast. Each meal plan includes a done-for-you grocery list and detailed meal prep instructions to help you prep ahead. The idea is you spend 1-2 hours in the kitchen at the start of the week and then have very minimal work to do to finish cooking the meals throughout the week.

That said, plenty of people use and love our meal plans without this weekly meal prep session! They are truly designed to be flexible so you can make them work with your schedule and your season of life.

We make sure our meal plans are seasonal and include lots of protein and produce. Our meal plans are whole foods based and avoid processed foods. They're designed to make easy healthy meal plans doable for every family!

Try it for yourself! 5 Free Easy Healthy Meal Plans

I know that deciding how to feed your family is an important, personal decision. That's why I love encouraging people to try our meal planning system before subscribing! We offer a free trial where you can try our our whole system but I also wanted to offer you a bonus today – 5 free easy healthy meal plans!

In this bonus download, you'll get a Prep Dish beginners meal plan, freezer & pantry friendly meal plan, beginners low carb meal plan, freezer crockpot meal plan and prep ahead lunches meal plan.

Resources for Creating a Healthy Food Plan for Beginners

Looking for more tips and resources for meal planning for beginners? I've got you covered! And if you want tips and meal prep recipes on the regular, sign up for my free weekly newsletter. Every Tuesday I'll send you meal planning inspiration, easy, healthy recipes and tips to make the whole thing easier.

Easy Weekly Meal Prep

The Comprehensive Guide to Meal Planning for Beginners

If you're new to meal planning, this is the guide for you! I break it down and make it simple with 5 easy steps.

How to Start Meal Prepping

How to Start Meal Prepping – Everything You Need to Know

Meal prep does not have to be all or nothing! In this resource, I give you easy steps to start with so you can be successful in the beginning.

Meal Prep Meal Plan

How to Make a Simple Meal Prep Meal Plan

With over a decade of experience in helping thousands of families meal prep and meal plan, I've learned strategies and tips that make crafting a meal prep meal plan simple. This is where I share this knowledge with you!

Gluten Free Meal Prep

10 Best Foods for Gluten Free Meal Prep

While these 10 foods are excellent for gluten free meal prep, they're also a great place to start if you're not gluten free!

Dairy Free Meal Plan Tips

Dairy Free Meal Planning

If you need to go dairy free, this is a great resource on crafting a dairy free meal plan.

FAQ – Everything You Want to Know about Easy, Healthy Meal Plans

What is the simplest, healthiest diet?

The simplest, healthiest diet is the one that focuses on whole foods and excludes processed foods as much as possible. There are many healthy ways to eat and every body is different, but including real food and plenty of produce and protein is a wonderful way to start. Our Prep Dish meal plans always focus on produce and protein and avoid processed ingredients to make healthy eating easy.

What is an ideal healthy meal plan?

An ideal healthy meal plan is the one you will actually eat and enjoy. Include plenty of produce and protein but also make sure to include meals you will enjoy. Food can absolutely be healthy AND delicious!

How do I make a healthy meal plan for the week?

Take a look at your calendar and determine how many meals you need to plan. Plan 1-2 breakfasts you can repeat throughout the week. Determine which dinners you'll make and consider doubling the recipes for easy lunches. Try to incorporate a variety of proteins and veggies to maximize both taste and nutrition. Or, to make it truly easy, try our Prep Dish meal plans for free!

What are 3 healthy lunches?

I personally love doubling dinner recipes and serving for an easy lunch the next day. Some meal prep recipes that work well for lunch include easy salmon wraps, chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts, slow cooker lasagna soup, chicken enchilada bowls, Middle Eastern Salad, and slow cooker beef & vegetable stew.

How to make a cheap meal plan?

Balancing budget and nutrition can be tough but I truly believe you can have meals that are both budget-friendly and healthy (not to mention delicious!) Check out my 10 Tips for Frugal Meal Planning for more.

Beginner Menu Guide


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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Learn more…

See How You Can Eat Healthy All Week Without Spending All Day Prepping Meals!

Get healthy and delicious done-for-you meal plans delivered right to your inbox! Join thousands of families who have discovered how Prep Dish makes life so much simpler!


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