Meal Rhythm vs. Meal Planning (I hate the word Planning!)

“What’s for dinner?” Why does everyone ask this daily during the bewitching hour? You know at 4:30pm … when you realize you totally forgot about dinner, or did you?

Lots of you ask about my ‘Meal Planning’ and even though I’m VERY Type-A, OCD … I prefer to call it our ‘Meal Rhythm’. Why?

Well, we all know how the week goes and somehow no matter how well we plan, sometimes 4:30 rolls around and we need dinner on the table, FAST! Right? Using a Meal Rhythm takes the ‘crazy’ out of meal prep and mealtime.

I hope it helps some of you that get stuck on “what’s for dinner?” … use what works for your family, but keep it simple and know that you are a success as long as you prep with love and joy because that gets transferred into food …

I started using the Veggie: Old/New Sheet a little over a year ago, to track what we have and to make sure the oldest gets eaten first! Since we stock our kitchen, like a mini-Grocery Store, we have Frozen, Pantry, Refrigerator, Counter and Food Storage!


For times, when I can’t think straight, I can look at the Meal Rhythm and Veggie sheet and pull together a dinner in less than 30 minutes when I need to

Here is what the Evening Meal looks like for our family …

Sunday = Whole Chicken, Roast (Note: We start Stock after dinner.)

Monday = “Meatless Monday”/Grains/Beans/Pasta
Tuesday = Beef (aka Taco Tuesday!)
Wednesday = Casserole/Soup/Instant Pot
Thursday = Pork/Seafood
Friday = “Family Fun Friday” Pizza & Salad & Dessert
Saturday = Grill out!

I like to batch cook, stock our Freezer with Freezer Cooking, double/triple/quadruple items when I can to fill my freezer meal section. I also like to pack lunch portions in “glass” containers (aka Homemade TV Dinners), so we can pull out the night before to thaw and the next day they are ready to take with us!


I’m always looking for new recipes to add to my recipe binder. I keep a good selection of cookbooks and magazines. Sometime I tear out recipes to try later and leave those at the front of my “Clayton Family Cooking” recipe binder!

(Insert Clayton Recipe Binder)

So as an example for the Beef night, on my sheet I have listed all the following and run through them in “kind of” a rotation, unless we’re UBER busy and then I pick my go-to’s:
Meatloaf (Regular and Meatloaf Muffins for on-the-go meals!)

Scalloped Potatoes with Ground Beef

Korean Beef

Beef Veggie Stir-fry

My list is LOTS longer, but you get the idea! 🙂

Some are simple and some are more labors of love, but it’s always beef on Tuesday (aka Taco Tuesday!). Some of us tolerate corn/flour better than others, which means some use Corn Shells, some use Flour Tortillas and I use lettuce shells or make a Taco Salad!

Once I know what meal or style of eating, we are having … I can then look at what produce we have and pick vegetables!


Here is a link to download a BLANK Meal Rhythm Sheet. I hope it helps you start putting your favorites in one place!

Meal Planning Chart, full color w- Fs

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