This week’s meal plan should really be called operation Clean-Out-Pantry. As vacation draws near for so many of us, now is the perfect time to use up what’s in our freezer and our pantries. Take some time this week to do an inventory of can go first from your freezer. Create your meal plan based on the protein you have on hand. Need a recipe? If you look on the right side of the blog, you will find a Search box. If you have chicken thighs for example, you can find all the recipes I’ve ever shared on the meal plan where you can use up chicken thighs. Easy, right?

Next week, focus on the refrigerator. Toss out all the old stuff, wipe down the condiments and do a reality check. Will you really use what’s in there over the summer? If not, let it go. You will be some happy to have more room when you come home from the grocery store with a full size watermelon to go in your fridge.

As you write out your grocery list for the upcoming week check out these healthy family friendly recipes from this weeks menu plan. Each featured recipe includes link to the complete recipe.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl, GF

Tuesday: Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Bacon, GF, P (swap butter for coconut oil to make it DF/P friendly)

Wednesday: Justin’s Paleo Meatballs (GF, P), zucchini or whole wheat noodles.

Thursday: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos 

Friday: CORN= Clean Out Refrigerator Night!


Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini


Sweet Potato Toast– yes, it’s the new thing.


5 minute Lemon Garlic Hummus


Make some watermelon ice to give your water a facelift!

Healthy Simple Weekly Meal Plan


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Are you ready for another week of getting your meal plan organized?! It’s time to put pencil to paper, marker to dry erase board, or fingers to your keyboard. Whatever way you keep track of your meal plan, know that it’s okay to change your system if it’s not quite working for you.

Sometimes you need to make an adjustment as your season of life changes. For many, it’s the end of the school year and you may be juggling kid’s at home more often. Or trying to plan for camp lunches as well.

Maybe it’s time to sit down and plan some themes for your week, i.e. meatless monday, taco tuesday. Putting in even 10 minutes can make your week feel less stressful. If some part of your system isn’t working, try something new. Meal planning is effective if it saves you time and overwhelm. If it’s causing frustration, change course.

Take 10 minutes to write out what you plan to eat this week. (or just write down last week so you have a starting point!)

Here’s a little cheat sheet of different ways to record your meal plans each week:

  • Your planner or Google calendar
  • Monthly calendar (there’s a new one in the Wellness Library you can grab! Get the code here.)
  • Weekly meal planner
  • Evernote or Trello
  • Pinterest: create a secret board called Meal Plans and add recipes as you plan them. If they are winners, keep them in the folder. If not, delete the pin.
  • Dry erase board
  • Journal (which is what sparked the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook)
  • Plan to Eat app
  • Order meal delivery from Blue Apron, Plated, etc.

Do you have another favorite way of keeping track of your dinners? Share a note in the comments.

On to the menu for this week!

Rainbow vegetable kabobs

As you write out your grocery list for the upcoming week check out these healthy family friendly recipes from this week’s menu plan. Each featured recipe includes link to the complete recipe.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Monday: Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs. (GF)  This takes a little longer than most recipes at 50 minutes, but it looks oh so good for a Meatless Monday.

Tuesday: Salmon Burgers

Wednesday: Spring Vegetable Soup (45 minutes total to prep and cook, GF + DF).

Thursday: Paleo Beef Short Ribs (P), and  Honey Roasted Carrots

Friday: Pizza night with our homemade dough.

Weekend: Yogurt Marinated Chicken, plan 3 hours for the marinade, (GF). This makes enough for a crowd, or for leftover chicken served over salad.  I recommend the Lemon Pepper flavor. Pairs well with Vegetable Kabobs. Once your prep is done, dinner cooks in about 10 minutes.


Healthy Buffalo Chicken Wrap. This recipe may end up on our dinner rotation this summer while we are at the beach!


Chocolate Buckwheat Waffles with Berries. This recipe caught my eye in a story about increasing the amount of whole grains in our diet. I’ve started to pickup buckwheat flour from our local, natural food store’s bulk bins and just buy 1-2 cups a week for specific recipes. For an even healthier version, you can swap out the unsweetened cocoa powder for 1 tablespoon raw cacoa powder.


Quinoa coconut granola bars. Just made these and they are a winner from Super Healthy Kids. Next time I’m going to make them with sun-butter and pumpkin seeds so the kids can take them to school.

how to make changes to your meal planning routine


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Any Amazon links are affiliate links, thanks for shopping via my site. 

Happy Memorial Day weekend! This holiday weekend edition of the meal plan features some simple, healthy recipes for you to test in your kitchen. If you make a recipe you love, share it in a note in the comments. Or, if you are interested, I have started a Facebook Group, Eat Well Live Well, which you can join if you are a newsletter subscriber. Let me know if you are already a subscriber and would like to be added to the group where we are sharing even more recipe ideas and tips for eating well.

As you write out your grocery list for the upcoming week check out these healthy family friendly recipes from this weeks menu plan. Each featured recipe includes link to the complete recipe.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Memorial Day Monday: Homemade burgers, turkey hot dogs, Red White and Blue Quinoa Fruit Salad,

Tuesday: Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Curry. (P, Vegan)

Wednesday: Paleo Taco Bowl with Cauliflower Rice. Here’s another recipe explaining how to make cauliflower rice as I saw it no less than three times this week in magazines. Clearly a new food trend!

Thursday: 20 minute Honey Garlic Shrimp, brown rice and broccoli

Friday: CORN = Clean Out Refrigerator Night. Or Eggs for dinner.

Weekend: Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Blistered Tomatoes and Basil, with quinoa on the side.


Mediterranean Farro Salad– great for a dinner side or a main lunch dish.


Whole grain toast with almond butter and sliced strawberries

Scrambled eggs with pesto sauce


Banana split with greek yogurt, chocolate sauce drizzle and sliced strawberries

Stovetop popcorn

Healthy Meal plan recipes to help you make your meal plan

Pin this for the next time you are making your grocery list.

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Hello from Canada where we get a holiday weekend a little early while we celebrate Victoria Day. Alas it’s still Monday so I have the meal plan ready to go for the week ahead. Meal planning is a part of my Sunday morning routine where I get to relax with my favorite cookbooks and magazine swipes and select the favorites to test out. Speaking of testing things out, you can take a peek at my Instagram account to see a little more of the process of cooking real food on a regular basis. Over there I share more helpful tips on kitchen shortcuts, healthy swap-outs in recipes and shortcuts! We can all use a few more shortcuts in the kitchen.

As you write out your grocery list for the upcoming week check out these healthy family friendly recipes from this weeks menu plan. Each featured recipe includes link to the complete recipe.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce GF, Vegan. Note: if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can just chop and roast the potatoes instead.

Tuesday: Chicken Thighs with Ginger Sesame Glaze (swap the brown sugar for some maple syrup if you are off sugar). Marinate these in the morning if you have time, come home and toss them on a hot grill pan for a super fast dinner. Saute some snow peas on the side and serve it all over brown rice.

Wednesday: Grilled Salmon with White Bean and Arugula Salad. 20 minute dinner! GF. This was so, so good.

Thursday: Parm-style Chicken Sliders. Steamed green beans and corn on the cob on the side.

Friday: CORN = Clean Out Refrigerator Night.

Weekend: Spiced Beef Tostadas with cilantro-lime rice. A fun weekend recipe that lets everyone pick their favorite toppings.


Strawberry Broccoli Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing


Oatmeal Superfood Breakfast Bars GF


5 minute Lemon Garlic Hummus


Honey Yogurt Popsicles– since it’s finally warm enough for them to eat outside!

Healthy Dinner Recipe Ideas for Your Meal Plan

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to start a new week. We have some summery recipes, meatless mains and peppery salads.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Mushroom, Kale and Cheddar Frittata. (GF, NF). 40 minutes.

Tuesday: Baked Chicken Nuggets, baked sweet potato fries and Israeli couscous.  30 minutes.

Wednesday: Open-Face Steak Sandwich with Parmesan Dressing (skip the bread and you have a delicious gluten-free steak salad). 35 minutes.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos, GF. This is our “busy night = slow cooker night” day. Cook this recipe for 2 hours on high, or 4-6 on low.

Friday: CORN = Clean Out Refrigerator Night.

Weekend: Pizza night! Homemade pizza dough + Zucchini Ricotta pizza recipe and you will be so very happy. The dough takes about an hour, 5 minutes hands-on time and 50 minutes to knead and rise in the breadmaker.


Tempeh Reubens– after reading about gut health, I think I’ll give this a try.


Overnight Oats made with Kefir.

Raspberry Almond Scones– we are celebrating Victoria Day next weekend and I would love to make these for a special breakfast during the long weekend.


The dehydrator came back out this weekend and after making apple rings and strawberry fruit roll-ups, the kids ate them so fast I didn’t have any left for lunch boxes this week. Guess what I’ll be doing again this morning…


Creamy Coconut Margaritas caught my eye this week. I will be making these when it finally gets warm again here next weekend. Did I mention it snowed here yesterday…in May?!


open face steak sandwich with parmesan dressing

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

After enjoying Mother’s Day brunch and some family time, here’s this week’s meal plan for all of you. Time is tight when it comes to making dinner so I’m checking the prep time on recipes for you. A recipe can be simple with few ingredients, but if it takes over an hour to cook on the stove, it may not be right for the weeknight menu plan. For more labor intensive options I’ll make a note of it going forward.

Quinoa taco lettuce wraps

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps, GF, DF, P. (recipe source)

Tuesday: Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato skewers (recipe) GF. Prep ahead for this one. Cook time is only 12 minutes, but you want to marinate the chicken in the pesto for a bit to enhance the flavor. Serve with brown rice. (note: kids often LOVE kabobs; they can be a fun way to introduce new flavors like pesto. We also had success with fish kabobs too.)

Wednesday: Veggie Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce (recipe) GF, DF.

Thursday: Rainbow Pizza (recipe), to save time we make the pizza on Naan bread. Offer new veggies and lots of color to kids and let them build their own pizza.

Friday: Fish tacos. This fish taco recipe is just gorgeous; save yourself some time and buy the precut coleslaw veggies. They are just as good. Skip/reduce the sriracha sauce for the kids. Add in to the grown-up’s serving!

Weekend: Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Mint Salsa (recipe). We made it this over the weekend and the flavors worked so well together. On the side I served quinoa with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint mixed in. The chicken is best marinated for a bit in balsamic vinegar, but the recipe truly could be a weeknight meal too.

Fish taco recipe


Superfood Quinoa Bowl- Vegan/GF recipe:  make one batch of quinoa for the week and use it here and as a side with the Balsamic Chicken recipe.


Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal GF, DF- make this recipe ahead of time and bake early in the morning. I may make it and serve it for lunch and then save the leftovers!

Homemade Granola- I’m going to start playing with this my favorite homemade granola recipe to remove the brown sugar and still make it unforgettable. Orange zest may be another add…stay tuned!


Coconut Cashew Energy Balls, GF, DF- I’ve mentioned this recipe to so many friends it’s worth adding it to the menu again.

BONUS Recipe!

I remembered I had to add this Maple Oat Mixed Berry Crisp I made for a dinner party this weekend. It’s from Real Food Whole Life and it came out amazing. Our hosts couldn’t believe it was actually a healthy dessert! It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free.


p.s. Love and Lemons provides one of the recipes on the blog this week. Their new cookbook is gorgeous! 


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Happy May! This week’s meal plan kicks off the spring season with a Cinco de Mayo dinner and warm weather flavors. After eating my way through Toronto this weekend it’s great to be back in the kitchen.

Buddha bowl healthy quinoa


Monday: 20 minute Turkey Tacos with Apple Salsa, GF/DF. (recipe)

Tuesday: Chopped salad- great way to clean out the fridge and load up on veggies, hardboiled eggs, grilled chicken, bacon or beans for protein. (GF, DF as needed)

Wednesday: Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Onion Salsa, browned butter couscous and asparagus. (recipe 1, 2)

Thursday: For Cinco de Mayo we will make Chicken Tortilla Soup in the slow cooker. Super easy and festive. Plus a Lemon Basil margarita to celebrate!

Friday: Soy Ginger Scallops, leftover brown rice and sautéed greens. One of my all-time favorite seafood recipes.


Buddha Bowl- I had this at a local cafe and I’m going to recreate it with a mix of quinoa, chickpeas, spiraled carrots and beets, micro greens and a tahini dressing. (see below for the dressing recipe)


A frittata was another favorite meal this past weekend. This works for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is another great way to clean out the fridge of extra veggies. I’m going to make this Baked Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula and Pesto. 

**In case you missed it, today is the last day to grab your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. An itty bitty price of $29 for over $1000 worth of learning. (Meal plans, recipe books, organizing courses and more. Learn more here.**

Buddha bowl healthy quinoa

Lemon Tahini Dressing

A light and bright dressing for grain salad or fresh greens. A healthy and diary-free option to satisfy your palate.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Salad Dressing
Author: Emily Roach


  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced (3-4 Tbsp)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  • Hot water to thin


  • Mix together all ingredients through salt and pepper in a mason jar and shake well to combine. Add 1 teaspoon of hot water at a time to thin out the dressing so you can drizzle it easily.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.


Overnight Oats for Breakfast

Hello everyone! Thanks for bearing with me as I switched over email providers and for answering my survey questions.The overwhelming answer about challenges to making healthy choices was time. This week I made sure the recipes are not too complicated and some can be repurposed for other meals during the week. The survey also confirmed the meal plans tend to be quite popular here so I want to make sure everyone gets their recipe inspiration when you need it. Leave a note in the comments sharing which day of the week you do your meal planning.

This week I am testing out a couple of new features with the meal plan. I added in a Shopping List you can print out that highlights the extra ingredients you need to create the meals shared this week. Let me know if you find it helpful, or it a different format works better for you.

Click on the Shopping List here and you will get a pdf printable you can print, update with any additional items you need and then take it to the store. (A blank Shopping List has also been added to the Wellness Worksheets page! Sign up below if you want to get access to the page.)


Below you will see codes assigned to some of the recipe ideas. These are to help those families who have dietary restrictions, concerns and sensitivities. The codes are assigned as follows: GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free.


{GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

  • Roasted whole chicken. This recipe walks you through how to roast a chicken if you don’t have your own favorite way. Roasting a chicken is mostly hands off, you just need to plan ahead to allow enough baking time. I stuffed mine today with apples and onions. Other days it’s lemon and thyme. Use what you have on hand. Oranges are another way to infuse bright flavor into the chicken. Cook this on Sunday and use the leftovers for…
  • Chicken Quesadillas. I like to make these on nights when time is tight. I create custom ones per kid: one likes guacamole/cheese/chicken, another likes cheese/chicken, etc. I will skip the bread and instead have leftover chicken over greens with avocado, cilantro, and tomatoes for a Mexican salad.
  • One pot Quinoa and Kale- serve as a main vegetarian dish or we used it as a side dish for multiple dinners. This recipe is a guideline; keep it simple with regular lemons, walnuts instead of pine nuts and we skipped the goat cheese so it’s more kid-friendly.
  • Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad (recipe) GF, P. This recipe lends itself to be deconstructed for picky eaters: keep shrimp and avocado separate and skip the dressing. Add a serving of brown rice pasta on the side if needed.
  • Lemon Broccoli with Beans & Bacon (recipe) DF, GF, NF. Roast broccoli ahead of time to save time during the week.
  • Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (recipe). This will feed 6 easily so cook it for company over the weekend, or freeze half for dinner next week.


  • Apple slices with nut or seed butter with granola on top.
  • Lunch kabobs with cheese/grapes/cucumbers/turkey for the lunch boxes, GF. (I found short kabob sticks at the grocery store.)
  • If you still have any leftover chicken, chop it up into a cranberry chicken salad and serve with bread (or apple slices for a GF lunch)


  • Overnight Oats: This is now on my Sunday Prep List. I make 4 in pint jars so they are ready to go in the morning. I can heat them all up quickly in a pot of hot water, or eat them cold with the toppings of everyone’s choice. Here’s a guideline on how much to put in each pint jar. You can customize this to your dietary needs by choosing gluten-free oats and/or non-dairy milk. I am loving the Almond Coconut milk blend from our local store lately. It’s great in cereals and smoothies.


  • Stovetop Popcorn: NF- a great whole grain snack. Look for organic popping corn so it’s GMO-free.
  • Baked sweet potato chips: GF, DF, NF (recipe)
  • Yogurt frozen in the kid’s silicone cups topped with fruit. If it works out I’ll share the full details!

Lemon Broccoli and White Beans recipe

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Hello! Notice something new around here? Last week I said goodbye to Random Recycling and hello to emilyaroach as my new domain name. Over the past seven years the focus here has shifted from talking about eco-friendly ideas to one that speaks more about family nutrition. My goal is to keep delivering great meal plan ideas for all of you, develop simple recipes your kids will enjoy and share tools that can help you make healthy choices at home.

Hopefully all goes well this week as the nuts and bolts behind the blog are tweaked and updated. If you are a newsletter subscriber, you will start to receive content in an updated format. (I’ll share a link to subscribe once all is ready to go!) As a marketing nerd, it’s been fun learning about all the new technology offered to deliver content. I even sent out my first survey and it’s been awesome to read the responses. I’ll keep it open for a couple more days and I would love to have your input too: click here for survey.

As the weather took a dramatic turn towards spring this week, I was fixated on salads in my meal planning. I had noted four different salad recipes that look amazing so I’ll start testing them out. Large, chopped salads are fantastic meals with kids as it’s a great way to introduce new produce to picky eaters. Kids may not pick cucumbers for their salad the first time they see them, but getting them in front of them counts in the exposure column. Over time, suddenly out of the corner of your eye you notice them trying a vegetable they once questioned…I’ve been there. And it’s awesome to witness.

Here are the recipes I think you will enjoy trying out this week. And one other note, last week I mentioned I was going to try my favorite chicken nugget recipe with chopped pecans instead of breadcrumbs. It was a winner so I updated the recipe post and also made it printer-friendly (how hadn’t I noticed that before?!)

Simple and Easy Healthy Recipe Ideas for Families

Dinner (V=vegan, P= Paleo, GF= Gluten Free)

  • Veggie Paella (V)- healthy, meatless meal with bright flavors. Saffron is the key ingredient, but also on the pricier side. You can try a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in it’s place for a similar flavor. Need more protein? Add in some shrimp to the meal. (recipe). For kids, you can also deconstruct the meal and offer plain shrimp with peas. Always also offer the full meal too.
  • Sheet Pan Salmon- we made this again last week and I was impressed with how tender the salmon came out, and how much my daughter ate. (recipe)
  • Grilled Chicken BLTs (P, GF)- fun twist on grilled chicken. Skip the bread and thinly slice the chicken to create “buns” for this classic sandwich. (recipe)
  • Strawberry Chicken Salad – inspired by the cover of the latest Cooking Light magazine this salad just screams summer to me. Mixing fruit in a salad is a helpful way to get kids interested in their greens. They may pick out their strawberries but hopefully a spinach leaf gets tasted too!


  • Update your tuna salad by substituting Greek yogurt for the traditional mayonnaise. You get the same texture plus the benefits of probiotics.
  • Quesadillas with banana, almond butter and dark chocolate chips- a little sweet treat.


  • Superfood Breakfast Smoothie Bowl- if you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard my story about the smoothie bowl. I’m determined to create a great base so everyone can customize their own bowl with lots of healthy toppings. (recipe)
  • Spinach Feta Artichoke Bake- hearty and healthy recipe for dinner or a brunch. (recipe)

Thanks for stopping by this week! Which healthy recipe will you add to your meal plan? 


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Welcome back to this week’s meal plan. After a week on the road with family and friends I’m so ready to get back into my kitchen and cook! Throughout the week I read through some new cookbooks and blogs to find inspiration. In addition to the recipes I highlighted in last week’s meal plan, here are a few I have planned for this week.

Sweet Potato spiraled noodle salad recipe


  • Spanish Beef and Rice Bowls with Avocado (recipe)
  • Easy Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks with roasted radishes and asparagus (recipe). Kids are going to LOVE this one.
  • Almond Butter Quinoa- this is the first recipe I picked out of the newest Deliciously Ella cookbook. Looks amazing! If it’s good I’ll share some pics on Instagram.
  • Switching up my usual homemade chicken nugget recipe and dipping the chicken in ground pecans instead for a different flavor.


  • Sweet Potato Noodles and Apple Spinach salad. This looks like a great recipe for lunch or a dinner side dish.
  • Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (recipe)


  • Carrot Cake Chia Pudding. Put this in the breakfast or snack category. (recipe)


Banana Split Bites Snack Recipe

Have a great week friends. Sorry this was delayed…had to restock the fridge instead this morning! Stay tuned this week for a name change on the blog…any guesses??


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here, my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Some affiliate links included.