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A Registered Dietitian Guide: 5 Steps to Easy Meal Planning for the Whole Family to Enjoy

Hello readers! Kaitlyn Franklin is back from Nourishing the Whole Person to discuss making meal planning easier for the whole family. I am a dietitian in British Columbia, Canada, who works with people and families to make mealtime easier through planning, preparing, and prioritizing their food.

Let’s face it—we have all been caught asking ourselves, “What should I make for dinner?” or “I wish I had the ingredients to make that.” This blog post aims to give you 5 simple steps to follow that make mealtimes less hectic in your home. Having a plan in place does make things easier.

Meal Planning Step #1

Collect Meal Ideas  

Open those recipe books, talk about family favourites, and search the internet for all the meals you and your family enjoy. This is an important step as it ensures that all family members are included when choosing meals. This makes mealtime easier in the long run. This is a great time to add that recipe you have always wanted to try!

Once everything has been collected, narrow it down to what is realistic for your family to try to make. To keep mealtime interesting, select recipes with different protein sources.

One of my favourite places to find recipes is Canada's Food Guide.

Meal Planning Step #2

Find out What is on Hand in The Home


Take an inventory of what is in the fridge, freezer and pantry. Start thinking about what needs to be used up and select recipes to support that. This can be a great place to involve kids by getting them to check the quantity of certain foods in the house.

This can be a great time to read the flyers before you shop!

Meal Planning Step #3

Start Planning!

Now that you know what you will cook and have checked what needs to be used in the house, it is time to create a plan. Think about the weekly schedule in the house and try to select recipes or meals to support that. For example, choose a quicker meal such as “cooking in 30 minutes or less” if the evening is busier for the family. This strategy can help reduce stress on those busier evenings. 

Continue reading for a full example.

Meal Planning Step #4

Create the Grocery List

Now that you know what you want to make for the week have checked the inventory and looked at the flyers, it is time to make the shopping list.

When creating a shopping list, think about separating it into sections. Every grocery store is slightly different, so change the headings to make sense for you. Remember to add everything you need on this list, not just the food on the recipes.

The grocery list example is below.


Meat and Alternatives

House staples and snacks

Frozen food


Bakery Products




Frozen Broccoli


Whole grain bread

Meal Planning Step #5

Implement the Meal Plan and Repeat These Steps as Often as Needed

Have a special place to keep this meal plan so that the whole family can access it. Mine stays on my fridge! When the meal plan is on the fridge, it can be helpful to have the next week’s empty version on the fridge for the family to begin to fill out.

Remember that meal planning can be forever evolving, so don’t feel pressured to continue using a method that is not working. Find out what works best for your family and stick with it.

Meal Plan Examples with recipes








Slow-cooker burrito bowls

With a side salad

Chicken burgers with a garden salad

Lentil Bolognese

With a Caesar salad

Make your own pizza

with a vegetable platter

Toast, eggs, bacon and a fruit platter



 Want to learn more?

If you are located in British Columbia, Canada, and want Registered Dietitian sessions, click here to book: Nourishing the Whole Person




Kaitlyn Franklin, RD, MACP


Nourishing the Whole Person



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