18 easy meal routine ideas

Before you get into the swing of meal planning, it helps to have a meal routine to help you choose what to cook each day and it only takes a few minutes to set one up. All you need to do is look at what you have on during a typical week and plan meal 'themes' around those activities.

Meal theme ideas list

For instance, if you get home late on a Thursday evening, you might make Thursday your slow cooker night. If you have a little more time on a Tuesday night, you might make that the night you try a new recipe. Or you may have the same pizza every Friday night.

Here are 18 easy meal routine ideas to get you started:

  • Pasta - there are oodles of variations here to keep everyone in the family happy

  • Stir fry - a quick meal that can make use of leftover meat and vegetables

  • Curry - slow cook your own and skip the home delivery expense

  • Soup - the ultimate healthy comfort food, cook large batches and freeze in advance for busy week nights

  • Burgers - you can't go wrong!

  • Seafood night - we probably all need to increase the amount of fish in our diets

  • Slow cooker - put in a little bit of effort earlier in the day and come home to a delicious casserole in the evening, ready to be served

  • Mexican night - Taco Tuesday and try something different like a hearty chilli

  • BBQ - a great one for the warmer months

  • Roast - another delicious tradition is the good old Sunday roast

  • Salad night - use up leftover meat and vegetables

  • Schnitzel - have schnitzel on a Monday and enjoy the leftovers on sandwiches for the rest of the week

  • Budget night - if you're on a budget, challenge yourself to make dinner under a certain dollar value one night a week

  • Kids cook - if your children are old enough, they'll love being able to choose a meal to cook for the rest of the family and it always pays to have children who enjoy cooking

  • Kids' choice - the kids will complain less if they actually contribute to the meal plan

  • Breakfast for dinner - there's nothing wrong with soft boiled eggs and soldiers for dinner on a Sunday night

  • Use what you have - raid the pantry, fridge and freezer and make something from what you already have

  • Freezer meal - if you cook double batches of meals that are easy to freeze often enough, you can include the 'freezer meal' at least once a week and skip the cooking part altogether

Meal routines aren't just for dinners either. You can create meal routines for breakfasts (pancakes on Sunday, porridge Monday to Friday), snacks (protein ball on Mondays, hummus and carrots on Tuesdays) and lunches (wrap on Mondays, leftovers on Tuesdays).

Free printable Meal Themes template

You'll find that having a Meal Routine makes regular meal planning so much easier. Click on the picture below to download your free printable Meal Routine template. Print it as often as you like - you can create a Meal Routine for one week or a fortnight or more. Then, when the seasons change or if you get bored with the one you're using, begin a new one.

Happy meal planning!