Clean Eating Menu Planning Tips

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My family has been transitioning to clean eating over the past several months. There are many reasons why my family has begun to add more clean eating recipes and foods to our diet, but they all come back to our health.

The great thing about clean eating is that it’s a healthier way to eat and the food tastes so much fresher and better. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable clean eating food really is. To focus on providing my family with clean eating options and to save me time, headaches and money, I menu plan each week. These clean eating menu planning tips work well for my family and include my free printable Clean Eating Menu Plan.

bowl of colorful salad with carrots and tomatoes on table with plate of crackers and bean salad in the background with title text overlay reading Clean Eating Menu Planning

It all started as I learned about how to begin clean eating and then began finding clean eating recipes that my family enjoys. The thread that ties it all together and saves my sanity in the middle of a busy, busy family life, is my clean eating menu planning. A few simple steps and my free printable clean eating menu plan make it all happen.

Clean Eating Menu Planning

image of calendar template with title text reading Clean Eating Menu Planning

Why Menu Plan

  • For Healthier and Cleaner Eating Menu planning allows you to purposefully plan clean eating meals for your family, shop for the necessary ingredients and eat healthy home-cooked meal instead of the fall-back fast food meal. It also allows you to plan and shop for healthier, clean eating meal options rather than throwing together whatever you have in the pantry.
  • Makes Busy Evenings Less Hectic Evenings are usually chaotic and hectic for most families. Add to that the end-of-day exhaustion plus preparing a meal and …ugh. Taking 10 – 20 minutes each week to menu plan will allow you to efficiently prepare your dinner and focus on spending time with your family. 
  • Allows for Balanced and Diverse Meals When you don’t menu plan you often end up eating the same handful of meals and they’re not always the healthiest meals. Menu planning gives you the time to plan for balanced, clean eating meals. Planning the entire week’s meals gives you the big picture of the food your family will eat and allows you to plan a balance of different ingredients. Menu planning also allows you to explore new recipes and purchase the necessary ingredients rather than reverting to the same old standby meals day after day. 
  • Saves Money When you face making dinner after an exhausting day and you don’t have a meal planned or the ingredients you need, you often ended up eating out. You’ll also save money by purchasing only the ingredients you need and using ingredients you already have rather than letting them go bad. No more throwing out spoiled food (and the money you spent on it). 
  • Saves Time Taking about 15 minutes each week to menu plan and then make a purposeful shopping trip will save you time each evening that can add up to saving 45 minutes to an hour each day. 
  • Makes Shopping Easier Rather than wandering through the grocery store wondering what to purchase and randomly tossing items into the cart, you’ll be able to efficiently shop through  your shopping list. You’ll be in and out of the store and even end up with all the ingredients you need for a week’s worth of meals. 
  • Allows Other Family Members to Prepare Meals When you have a menu plan, other family members are able to prepare meals either as a regular task or in a pinch. 
overhead view of colorful salad and fork with lemon, tomatoes and carrots on a table

Clean Eating Menu Planning Tips

  • Use a Menu Plan Use an online or my free printable Clean Eating Menu Plan. This allows you to strategically plan all your meals for the week and plan your shopping list to ensure you have the exact ingredients you need for each meal. 
  • Plan Around Seasonal Produce and Products A foundational principle of clean eating is to eat seasonal foods. When you menu plan, you are able to plan your meals around the produce in your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) basket each week or that is available at your farmers market or grocery store. 
  • Use Soon-to-Expire Products in Your Home Menu planning reduces food waste by focusing your meal planning to use soon-to-expire foods in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Be sure to look for foods you already have in your home that should be used before it expires and plan meals around those ingredients first. 
  • Consider Store Sales Flyers Be sure to look through your grocery store’s sales flyer as you plan your weekly menu. This allows you to focus on in-season products and sale items. Your family will be eating healthier and you’ll save money, too. 
  • Consider Having Themed Days Meals can be healthier and more fun by assigning themed days each week. Themed days also help you choose the meals each day. You can assign a theme to all seven days of the week or to just a couple of days. Themes to consider are: 
    • Specific Protein Days – Chicken Day, Fish Day, Bean Day, Vegetarian Day
    • Specific Cooking Techniques – Slow Cooker Day, Grilling Day, Panini Day, Stir Fry Day
    • Specific Food Types – Pasta Day, Soup Day, Mexican Cuisine Day, Asian Cuisine Day, Salad Day
    • Try A New Recipe Day – Designate one day a week to try new recipes
  • Take Advantage of Published Clean Eating Menu Plans and Recipes – You can find many delicious clean eating recipes right here at Organized 31. My friend Andrea at Homemade for Elle shares clean eating recipes, too. There are resources with clean eating menu plans that have done all the planning work for you. 
image of vegetarian meal plan

You can find clean eating vegetarian meals with this Vegetarian Weekly Meal Plan  from Andrea at Homemade for Elle.

  • Save Your Menu Plan You can save even more time by saving your menu plan each week. After just a few weeks, you can recycle the menu plans you’ve already created. Rotating the clean eating menu plans you’ve already created further ensures your family will be eating healthier and will save you even more time each day.

What tips do you use for your clean eating menu planning?

My Favorite Clean Eating Recipes

Clean Eating Recipes – Greek Lemon Chicken

chicken breast with spices and lemon slices and carrots and potato pancakes in background with title text reading Clean Eating Recipes Greek Lemon Chicken

Clean Eating Potato Recipe

potato pancakes on white place with chicken and carrots in the background with title text reading Clean Eating Potato Croquettes Recipe

Clean Eating Granola Bars

crumbly granola bar on blue and white check tablecloth with tray of granola bars in the background with title text reading Clean Eating Granola Bars

Find all my favorite go-to easy recipes in the table below. You can scroll through the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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3 Comments

  1. Susan, this is full of so much great information! I have been a menu planner for many, many years but I think you hit on a few reasons to plan that I had not thought of before. I will be printing out the menu planner you created. I am happy you included a space for snacks too!

  2. I really appreciated your clean eating tips, and agree that menu planning is so crucial in sustaining an easy, healthy diet. I love your idea of having themed days – it makes putting together a menu plan much easier!

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