Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget.

What’s more, coming up with delicious, nutritious, and kid-friendly meals can be quite the balancing act.

Still, plenty of recipes are not only scrumptious and nutritious for the whole family but can also get your kids engaged in the kitchen. Moreover, it’s possible to do all your shopping at once instead of constantly stepping out to the store.

To help, this article provides a 1-week meal plan and shopping list for a family of 4 or more.

Monday

Breakfast

Egg sandwiches with sliced oranges

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs (one per sandwich)
  • 4 whole grain English muffins
  • Cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 1 tomato (one slice per sandwich)
  • lettuce
  • 2 oranges (slice up and serve as a side)

Instructions: Crack each egg and add gently to an oiled or nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook until the whites have turned opaque. Gently place a spatula underneath, flip the eggs, and cook for another minute or so.

While the eggs are cooking, cut the English muffins in half and toast them until golden brown. Add the egg, cheese, tomato, and lettuce to one half, then place the other half on top and serve.

Tip: It’s easy to expand this recipe to yield more servings. Simply add additional eggs and English muffins as needed.

Lunch

Lettuce wraps with milk

Ingredients:

  • Bibb lettuce
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • matchstick carrots
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 block (350 grams) of extra firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise, sriracha, or other condiments as desired
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of cow’s milk or soy milk per person

Instructions: Slice the tofu, peppers, carrots, and avocado. On a large lettuce leaf, add the mayonnaise and other condiments. Next, add the vegetables and tofu, though try not to add too many ingredients to each leaf. Finally, tightly roll the lettuce leaf with the ingredients inside.

Note: Cooking the tofu is optional. Tofu can safely be eaten from the package. If you choose to cook it, add it to a lightly oiled pan and fry until golden brown.

Tip: For a fun family event, prepare all the ingredients and place them on a serving platter. Allow your family members to prepare their own wraps. You can also swap out the tofu for chicken or turkey slices.

Snack

Sliced apples and peanut butter

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter per person

Dinner

Rotisserie chicken with roasted vegetables

Ingredients:

  • store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a bowl, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and spices. Place the vegetables on a baking pan and drizzle them with this mixture, then bake them for 40 minutes or until crispy and tender. Serve with chicken.

Tip: Refrigerate the leftover chicken for tomorrow.

Tuesday

Breakfast

Oatmeal with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 4 instant packets of plain oatmeal
  • 2 cups (142 grams) of frozen berries
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds (optional)
  • a handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of milk or soy milk per person

Instructions: Cook instant oatmeal in a large pot using water or milk as the base, following packet instructions for measurements. Just before it’s ready, mix in the frozen berries. Serve with 1 cup (240 mL) of milk or soy milk.

Lunch

Chicken sandwiches with tomato soup

Ingredients:

  • leftover chicken (from the day before) or sliced deli chicken
  • 4 whole grain ciabatta buns
  • lettuce, torn
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise, mustard, or other condiments as desired
  • 2 cans (10 ounces or 294 mL) of low sodium tomato soup

Instructions: Follow the directions on the tomato soup package, which may require stovetop cooking. For additional protein, use milk or soy milk instead of water.

Tip: You can let your family members make their own sandwiches. If you don’t have leftover chicken from Monday, use sliced deli chicken instead.

Snack

Hummus and sliced veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package of hummus

Tip: To get your kids involved, let them choose the type of vegetables.

Dinner

Vegetarian tacos

Ingredients:

  • 4–6 soft- or hard-shell tacos
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of black beans, rinsed well
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • lettuce, shredded
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • taco seasoning

Instructions: Cook the black beans in a lightly oiled pan with taco seasoning. For additional protein, use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Wednesday

Breakfast

Cheerios with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (27 grams) of plain Cheerios (or similar brand)
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of cow’s milk or soy milk
  • 1 banana, sliced (per person)

Tip: While you can use other types of milk, soy and dairy milk have the highest protein content.

Lunch

Egg salad sandwiches with grapes

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) of Dijon mustard
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (151 grams) of grapes per person

Instructions: Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them into quarters. In a medium-sized bowl, add the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, mix the eggs and condiments. Make sandwiches using the whole wheat bread and lettuce.

Snack

Air-popped popcorn with drizzled dark chocolate

Ingredients:

Tip: If you don’t own an air popper, simply add 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) of olive or coconut oil to a large pot, then the popcorn kernels. Place a lid on top and cook until almost all of the kernels have stopped popping. Watch it carefully to avoid burning.

Dinner

Pasta with tomato sauce, ground turkey, and veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (900 grams) of macaroni or rotini noodles
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or 443 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of lean ground turkey
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Instructions: While the pasta is cooking, add ground turkey to a large pan and cook it over medium heat. Prepare the vegetables and add them to the pan. Pour in the tomato sauce near the end. Drain the noodles, add the sauce, and serve.

Tip: Make an extra batch of noodles or save extras for leftovers tomorrow.

Thursday

Breakfast

Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana

Ingredients:

Tip: Give your kids a glass of cow’s milk or soy milk for additional protein.

Lunch

Pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 4–6 cups (630–960 grams) of cooked, leftover pasta
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup (150 grams) of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (73 grams) of black olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) orange or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)

Instructions: In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, orange or lemon juice, honey, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Prepare the veggies raw and stir them into the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add dressing and stir well.

Snack

Boiled eggs and celery sticks

Ingredients:

Dinner

Homemade burgers with french fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground beef
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 package (2.2 pounds or 1 kg) of cut french fries
  • Monterey Jack cheese slices
  • lettuce leaves
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • several pickles, sliced
  • mayonnaise, mustard, relish, ketchup, vinegar, or other condiments as desired
  • salt, pepper, and other spices to taste

Instructions: Prepare 4 patties with the ground beef, salt, pepper, and other spices. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 425°F (218°C) for 15 minutes. Prepare the toppings and place them on a serving tray. Cook the french fries according to package instructions.

Tip: Allow your kids to choose their own toppings and dress their own burgers.

Friday

Breakfast

Cottage cheese with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (210 grams) of cottage cheese per person
  • strawberries, sliced
  • blueberries
  • kiwi, sliced
  • drizzle of honey (optional)

Tip: Allow your kids to mix and match the fruit of their choice.

Lunch

Mini pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole wheat English muffins
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 16 slices of pepperoni (or other protein)
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • 1 handful of baby spinach

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut the English muffins in half, then add the tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese, tomato, onion, and spinach. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Tip: To involve your children, allow them to assemble their own pizzas.

Snack

Fruit smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1–2 cups (197–394 grams) of frozen berries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of Greek yogurt
  • 1–2 cups (250–500 mL) of water
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds (optional)

Instructions: In a blender, add the water and Greek yogurt. Next, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Dinner

Tofu stir-fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (350 grams) of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups (185 grams) of instant brown rice
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 grams) of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) of honey (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) of red wine vinegar or orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of sesame oil or vegetable oil

Instructions: Prepare the brown rice according to box instructions. While it’s cooking, slice the veggies and tofu and set them aside. To make the sauce, mix the ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce, oil, and red wine vinegar or orange juice in a medium-sized bowl.

In a large, oiled skillet, cook the tofu until light brown. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel. Add the broccoli, pepper, onion, carrots, and 1/4 of the stir fry sauce to the skillet. Cook until tender, then add the cooked tofu, rice, and remaining sauce to the skillet.

Tip: You can use any leftover veggies in the stir fry to reduce food waste.

Saturday

Breakfast

Baked frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) of water
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli
  • 2 cups (60 grams) of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Whisk the eggs, water, and spices in a bowl.
  3. Lightly oil a large skillet, cast-iron pan, or oven-safe pan with cooking spray.
  4. While the oven is preheating, sauté the veggies in a skillet or pan over medium heat.
  5. After a few minutes, add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and the top is beginning to bubble.
  6. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until done. To check, place a cake tester or knife in the center of the frittata. If the egg continues to run, leave it for another few minutes and retest.

Lunch

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of peanut butter or nut-free butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of jam
  • 1 cup (152 grams) of strawberries per person

Snack

Turkey roll-ups

Ingredients:

  • 8 mini soft-shell tortillas
  • 8 slices of turkey
  • 2 medium avocados (or a package of guacamole)
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 cup (30 grams) of baby spinach

Instructions: Lay tortilla shells flat and spread avocado or guacamole on top. Next, add one slice of turkey, baby spinach, and shredded cheese to each tortilla. Roll the tortilla tightly and cut in half.

Tip: To keep the roll-ups from falling apart, add a toothpick. Be sure to remove the toothpick before serving it to small children.

Dinner

Homemade chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground beef
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or 443 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups (475 mL) of low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese (optional as a garnish)

Instructions: In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in oil until translucent. Next, add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat has browned. Add all spices, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and red kidney beans.

Next, add the broth and bring it to a bowl. Reduce the temperature to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. Top with cheese if desired.

Sunday

Brunch

French toast and fruit

Ingredients:

  • 6–8 eggs
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (151 grams) of blackberries or strawberries, frozen or fresh
  • maple syrup (to taste)

Instructions: In a wide bowl, whisk the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract until combined and fluffy. Oil a large skillet with butter or oil and bring it to medium heat. Place the bread into the egg mixture and coat each side. Fry both sides of the bread until golden brown.

Repeat this process until all the bread is cooked. Serve with fruit and maple syrup.

Tip: For an extra treat, top with whipped cream or powdered sugar.

Snack

Cheese, crackers, and grapes

Ingredients:

  • 5 whole grain crackers per person
  • 2 ounces (50 grams) of Cheddar cheese, sliced (per person)
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) of grapes

Tip: Many crackers are made with refined flours, oils, and sugar. For a healthier option, select 100% whole grain crackers.

Dinner

Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized soft-shell tortillas
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of boneless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil, as needed
  • sour cream, as needed
  • salsa, as needed

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large skillet, add the oil, peppers, and onion. Cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and spices and fry until completely cooked through and golden on the outside.

Place each tortilla shell on a baking tray. Add the cooked veggies and chicken to one side of the tortillas, then top with avocado and cheese. Fold the other side of the tortilla over. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Tip: For a vegetarian option, you can use black beans instead of chicken.

Shopping list

The following list can be used as a shopping guide to help you gather groceries for this 1-week meal plan. You may need to adjust the portions depending on the size and needs of your family.

Vegetables and fruit

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 package of baby spinach
  • 1 large head of Bibb lettuce
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 large English cucumbers
  • 1 large piece of ginger
  • 2 packages of strawberries
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • 1 package of blackberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 pack of matchstick carrots
  • 5 avocados
  • 1–2 heads of broccoli
  • 7 yellow onions
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 bulbs of garlic
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 bag of Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large bag of frozen berries
  • 1 bunch of bananas
  • 1 large bag of grapes
  • 1 jar of black olives
  • 1 jug (33 fluid ounces or 1 liter) of orange juice

Grains and carbs

  • 8 whole grain English muffins
  • 4 packets of plain, instant oatmeal
  • 1 bag of hemp seeds (optional)
  • 2 loaves of whole wheat bread
  • 1 package (900 grams) of macaroni or rotini noodles
  • 1 package of whole wheat bagels
  • 4 whole grain ciabatta buns
  • 1 package of hamburger buns
  • 1 package of instant brown rice
  • 1 package of mini soft tortillas
  • 1 package of medium-sized soft-shell tortillas
  • 1 box of whole grain crackers
  • 6 hard-shell tacos

Dairy

  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 2 blocks (450 grams) of Cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 gallons (6 liters) of cow’s or soy milk
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) of feta cheese
  • 1 package of Monterey Jack cheese slices
  • 24 ounces (650 grams) of cottage cheese
  • 24 ounces (650 grams) of Greek yogurt

Proteins

  • 2 blocks (500 grams) of extra firm tofu
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of black beans
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of red kidney beans
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground turkey
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) of ground beef
  • 1 pound (450 grams) of boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of pepperoni slices
  • 1 package of turkey slices

Canned and packaged items

  • 2 cans of low sodium tomato soup
  • 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 jars (30 ounces or 890 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 bag of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 package of hummus
  • 1 box of original, plain Cheerios (or similar brand)
  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) of popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 jar of strawberry jam
  • 1 package (2.2 pounds or 1 kg) of cut french fries
  • 2 cups (500 mL) of low sodium beef broth

Pantry staples

Since these items are usually pantry staples, you may not need to buy them. Still, it’s best to review your pantry inventory before shopping.

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • sriracha
  • salt
  • honey
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • vegetable oil
  • pepper flakes
  • brown sugar
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • taco seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  • pickles
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract
  • maple syrup

The bottom line

Coming up with a weeklong meal plan that meets the needs of your whole family can be tricky.

Notably, this 1-week meal plan provides your family with delicious, nutritious, and kid-friendly meals. Use the shopping list as a reference and adjust it based on your family’s needs and budget. When possible, involve your kids and other family members in cooking.

At the end of the week, ask your family members which meals they liked best. You can then revise this list or use it again for another week.