Design a Dinner
Planning your meals can help you stay on track.
Oh, to have a personal chef would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? You’d have a hearty breakfast prepared every morning, a gourmet packed lunch to take on the go and a hot dinner waiting for you nightly. Every delicious meal and snack would be planned around our Good Health Guidelines and packed with Weight Watchers Power Foods (including plenty of fruits and veggies). And of course they’d fit perfectly within your PointsPlus® budget, leaving ample wiggle room for the occasional splurge!
Now back to reality. Most likely, you're the chef in the house. You probably also have to juggle hectic schedules, never-ending to-do lists, and long work days. But if you wait until 6 p.m. to decide what’s for dinner, the family could end up eating greasy takeout. A few of these last minute "convenience dinners," and before you know it, you've slipped back into unhealthy eating habits. Planning meals in advance, will help to keep you in control and on track — especially when life gets busy. Here, you’ll find simple strategies, resources, and tools that can help you get it done.
Three meal-planning perks
- You can eat healthy on a budget. Smart food picks don't have to hit your wallet hard. Read some of the ways our Community users keep supermarket costs down You’ll probably also spend less money on takeout and eat fewer pre-packaged meals.
- It’s an opportunity to teach kids about healthy foods. Get them into the kitchen with you, prepping meals and learning to appreciate the power of nutritious ingredients and delicious dishes. The more kids learn at home, the easier it will be for them to make smart food choices when at school, at restaurants, and beyond.
- Planning your meals promotes pre-tracking. It's one of the best strategies to help you make healthy food decisions throughout your day. Got a hectic week coming up? No problem. You can budget the right amount per meal and feel obliged to stick to it.
Getting it done
Use the weekend to plan your week’s menu. Decide what you’ll cook, confirm that you have the pantry staples you need and buy the rest in one or two grocery runs.
Build your meal around... a lean protein, an in-season vegetable or fruit, or a whole grain you’re in the mood for. And keep your menu exciting by switching up lean proteins every night of the week.
Consider what’s on hand. Turn convenience foods into memorable meals. Got a roasted chicken? Make chicken and spinach quesadillas. How about a can of chickpeas? Roast them with sea salt and toss with mixed field greens, feta, apples, carrots and light dressing.
Incorporate produce. What’s fresh and in season will be tastiest, healthiest, and cheapest. Try roasting fennel, butternut squash, cubanelle peppers, carrots and parsnips.
Use your digital tools. Turn fattening family recipes into Plan-friendly ones with Recipe Builder.
Own an iPad? Download the Weight Watchers Kitchen Companion* and get ideas on what to cook and how to cook it. Watch technique videos and access thousands of recipes with built-in cooking timers.
Four more easy meal-planning tips