Meal Plan Mondays: healthy meal plan ideas for families

Welcome to Meal Plan Mondays, where we share healthy meal plan ideas for families that won’t cause anxiety! Listen, I hear you. Trying to get in a variety of fruits, veggies, and protein while using local, seasonal ingredients, not to mention a variety of proteins and healthy fats, while not spending all day in the kitchen – like Martha from The Handsmaid’s Tale, can feel overwhelming. Just talking about meal planning stresses me out!

When we wrote Real Life Paleo and built those meal plans, I felt like I needed one of those rooms people in movies solving big crime puzzles have – you know, with thumb tacks and yarn? But, I’ve found a better way that works for family-friendly meal plans, and I’m excited to simplify it even more by sharing it with you.

The goal here is to provide inspiration. Not every meal, every week will work for you and your family. But, I hope at least I can recommend some new, fun things and provide inspiration for your family to plan ahead in a way that works for you.

Meal Plan Mondays

Here’s how it works for us:

  • On Friday we get our Hungry Harvest and any other grocery deliveries.
  • Once we have our box of veggies, we look at what we have overall (cabbage, broccoli, celery, for example) and then explore meals that use those ingredients.
  • We pull from cookbooks we own, our index cards from months of planning past, our own recipes, and my Pinterest board (where I save recipes I want to try from bloggers I love).
  • Then, we build a meal plan based on using up everything in our delivery box, then order any additional ingredients we may need to complete those planned meals.

We have tried to meal plan a variety of different ways, and find this one is by far the best. Our meat is mostly frozen (either from Butcher Box or what we buy we almost always freeze right away). So, by building our meal around the produce that we get, it creates less waste and ensures we consume a greater variety.

We talk more about why a variety of Fruits & Veggies are important, and how we make it work, in THIS podcast.

Couple more factors we consider:

  • We plan our more involved meals around Matt’s work schedule, so it may work better for you to move around days of our plan – since he always works on the weekends.
  • We always build in “Taco Tuesdays” and a leftover day, making the meals we choose 5 – so each of our family members gets to choose 1 meal.
  • While we only plan our dinners, we do have a list of ideas for the boys to make themselves breakfast and lunch. Plus, we always make enough for leftovers and we all eat those for lunch during the week.
  • By having the entire family involved in the process and buy-in to what’s ahead, we look forward to it more and find we rarely have any complaints.

Going forward, we’ll share our weekly family-friendly meal plans with you, here, on Mondays, from the prior week – that way we can tell you what worked well, which recipes we loved, and what we changed from our plans. Here’s two to get you started!


Last Week

Total unique veggie count, just for dinners: 26!
recommend adding a green smoothie, a salad for lunch, and snacking on some fruit to get you to the goal of 30 per week


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 6: yellow onion, butternut squash, broccoli, lemon, celery, garlic
protein type: seafood


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 5: zucchini, carrot, beet, lettuce, baby bella mushrooms – not new: onion, butternut squash
protein type: beef


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 5: avocado, red onion, lettuce (diff kind), tomatoes, lime
protein type: beef


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 5: green cabbage, red cabbage, green onion, ginger, spinach – not new: carrots, broccoli, yellow onion, garlic
protein type: turkey or pork


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 2: potatoes, kale – not new: yellow onions
protein type: pork or chicken sausage


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 3: peas, white mushrooms, parsley – not new: yellow onions
protein type: seafood


  • Leftovers!


This week

Total unique veggie count, just for dinners: 29!
recommend a smoothie, a salad for lunch, and snacking on some fruit to get you to the goal of 30 per week


  • Homemade burgers & fries
  • Roasted Brussel sprouts (based off this recipe)

unique fruit & veggie varieties – 6: baby bella mushrooms, white onions, lettuce, tomato, golden potatoes, Brussels sprouts
protein type: beef


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 9: oyster, white, lionsmane, and shitake mushrooms, 2 varieties of microgreens, lemon, shallot, garlic – not new: baby bella mushrooms
protein type: seafood


  • Ground beef sauteed with onions in Balanced Bites Tex Mex nightshade-free blend
  • Served with Costco’s Organic Avocado Ranch salad (or MYO, this one from Savory Lotus looks great)

unique fruit & veggie varieties – 8: avocado, red cabbage, carrots, lettuce (diff kind), lime, tomatoes (diff kind), yellow (sweet) onions, cilantro
protein type: beef


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 3: beets, butternut squash, spaghetti squash  – not new: carrots, yellow (sweet) onions
protein type: chicken


unique fruit & veggie varieties – 1: zucchini – not new: yellow (sweet) onions, garlic
protein type: beef


  • We had planned leftovers – but, actually, this became pizza night, so some of us got even more new veggies (because yes, artichokes, peppers, broccoli on pizza are delish)!


  • Leftovers, which doesn’t always mean eat it exactly as-is
  • I ended up making Nachos out of the leftover Chicken Yum Yum

unique fruit & veggie varieties – 2: cassava, green onion – not new: avocado
protein type: varied


Any recipe we’ve linked or mentioned we absolutely would recommend. I’d love for you to share some of your favorites below so that we can add them to future meal plans! What else would be helpful as we start making this a habit?

You can always find all of these recipes on my Pinterest Boards for inspiration!

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