Before I started getting serious about meal planning, I was already making tacos on Tuesdays. It gave us something to look forward too for dinner every week.
But what comes after Tuesday? This is where I’d always get stuck because I didn’t have any other dinner ideas. Then, I researched and found more themed meal planning days that I could add to our meal plan that goes beyond Taco Tuesday!
The idea of using a themed dinner menu is simple.
You are assigning a food theme for each night of the week.
In fact, using themed meal planning days makes it really easy to plan a month’s worth of meals in advance, which will save you more time and stress throughout the week. Once you’ve selected your themes, then it’s time to find recipes to match your menu!
At the end of each month, you can keep with the same theme or change it up a bit so you can try new recipes by adding different themes to your menu.
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Here are 30 themed meal planning days you can start using now:
1. Pasta Night
This is our favorite because pasta goes a long way and there are so many options.
2. Meatless Night
You can make your grocery budget stretch further by incorporating a meatless meal or two on your menu.
3. Stir-fry Night
Meat is optional when it comes to stir-fry, and most recipes are really easy to make!
4. Soup Night
Hearty and great for those cold winter nights.
5. New Recipe Night
If you’re only planning meals that you’re familiar with, add a day each week where you get to try a new recipe!
6. Breakfast for Dinner
If you ask my kids, they would live off of pancakes for the rest of their lives! So breakfast is always an easy dinner option.
7. Homemade Takeout
You can recreate dishes from your favorite restaurants and eat takeout in your kitchen.
8. Sandwich Night
I love pairing sandwiches with french fries! Burgers are a favorite in our house.
9. Crockpot Night
If you have a crockpot that you’re not using, add this theme to your menu. You will LOVE how much time you’ll save on dinner because you get to just throw ingredients inside, set it, and forget about it!
10. Leftovers Night
I recommend everyone set a day aside later in the week on your menu where you plan to eat leftovers—either from dinner the night before or from dinner all week long. You’ll cut down on food waste and it’ll give you a much-needed break from the kitchen!
11. Takeout Night
I know this one may surprise you since we’re talking about meal planning here. But the thing is, just because you’re meal planning doesn’t mean you can’t PLAN to eat takeout meals.
You’ll save more money if you plan to eat takeout 1-2 nights a week than you would if you plan an extravagant menu, buy a ton of groceries for it, but eat out anyway because you don’t feel like cooking.
So if eating takeout is important to you, choose one night where you get to order in pizza, Chinese food, or have a sit-down meal at your favorite restaurant!
12. Kids Choice
If your kids are old enough, ask them what meals they’d like to see on the menu! You’ll only need four ideas if you’re planning meals for the entire month.
13. Mexican Night
Yup, that means you don’t have to eat tacos only on Tuesdays, and you can try other Mexican dishes too!
14. Chicken Night
I cook with chicken A LOT because it’s one of the cheapest cuts of meats you can buy to save money on groceries.
15. Pizza Night
Skip delivery and learn how to make your own pizza at home! Plus, it’s a fun way to get the whole family involved.
16. Sheet Pan Dinner Night
Sheet pan dinners are easy to make and even easier to clean up!
17. Fish Night
You can’t go wrong with salmon, shrimp, or fried whiting (yum!).
18. Salad Night
You could even make extra to pack for lunch the next day.
19. Asian Night
20. Casserole Night
I talk a lot about making Stretch Meals to stretch your budget and give you a break from cooking. Adding casserole nights to your menu will help you do just that because it makes planning to eat leftovers easy!
21. Italian Night
I love Italian cuisine because most recipes are super easy to make on a budget.
22. Grill Night
When the weather heats up, it’s time to take the cooking outside!
- BBQ & Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Hot dogs and Hamburgers
- BBQ Ribs
23. Throwback Night
Bring back a meal that your family loves! Every time you try a new recipe and it’s a hit, write it down so you can cook again on nights like this.
24. Freezer Meal Night
Freezer cooking is a great way to cut your cooking time in HALF since you’re doing a lot of it ahead. You can dump your freezer meals in your slow cooker or in your oven.
25. BBQ Night
Any dish that’s smothered in barbeque sauce! From pulled pork to BBQ chicken pizza.
26. Fun Food Night
27. All American Night
American classics that everyone knows and loves!
28. Southern Food Night
Also known as Soul Food because it doesn’t just hit your tummy. It’s comfort food that reaches down into your soul!
29. 15-Minute Meal Night
When you need to save time, choose quick and easy meals for your busy weeknights so you can get dinner on the table in a flash!
30. Pantry Meal Night
When all else fails, cook from your pantry! Plan a backup meal that you can make for dinner using what you have.
Welp, there you have it—30 amazing themed meal planning days for every night of the week to add to your calendar that goes beyond Taco Tuesday! Plus, you’ve got simple dinner ideas to give you a quick-start on your planning.