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Simplify Mealtime with Templates

Growing up my mom had these binders full of recipes from magazines. Every so often she’d make a new meal, but for the most part, we ate the same 20-30 meals on rotation. Some meals I like better than others, but they were all familiar.

Then Pinterest was invented. Suddenly the bar of what was okay for dinner rose drastically. No longer were we eating meals on rotation but rather every night was some new dish. Along with that came a lot more time, energy and food waste.

If you have the time, energy and desire to cook new dishes every week then more power to you. If you’re like me, however, the idea of Pinterest dinners just adds a whole new level of stress to your life.

I say we simplify things even more and get rid of recipes altogether. By following some basic meal templates you can easily throw together delicious meals with whatever you have in the house. There’s nothing wrong with popping onto Pinterest to spark some ideas, but use it to get your juices flowing, not to find elaborate recipes for every night of the week.

Meal Templates

(Printable available below)


grain/carb base + vegetables/fruit + protein + sauce/seasoning

Examples: Noodles + zucchini, corn, red onion + tofu/chicken + basil, garlic

Quinoa + lettuce, tomato, green onion + beans + guacamole


Green + vegetables/fruit + grains (optional) + protein + sauce/seasoning

Examples: cabbage + carrots + wonton strips + avocado, tofu, sesame seeds + asian dressing

Spinach + berries + sliced almonds + balsamic vinegar


protein + carb + vegetable/fruit

Examples: seasoned Tofu/Chicken + wild rice + broccoli

Black beans + sweet potato + tomato, avocado


vegetables/fruit + protein + sauce/seasoning + carb

Examples: Edamame, red pepper, mushrooms + tofu/chicken, cashews + soy sauce & honey + rice

Frozen Stir fry vegetables + tofu/chicken + teriyaki sauce + noodles

Sandwich/ Wrap/ Burger

bread/wrap/bun + spread + protein + vegetables/fruit

Examples: Whole wheat bread/wrap + hummus (spread and protein) + cucumber, tomato, avocado, shredded cabbage, shredded carrot 

Whole wheat bun + guacamole + black bean burger + tomato, lettuce


liquid base + protein + vegetables + carb (optional) + seasoning

Examples: Broth + split peas + carrots, celery + onion, garlic

Broth + refried beans, black beans + corn + salsa

Grocery Staples

(Printable available below)

These are the staples I keep on hand and with them, I’m able to make lots of different meal combinations.

Frozen mixed vegetables*

Frozen Stir Fry vegetables*

Frozen peas

Frozen corn

Frozen mixed berries*

Canned tomatoes*

Canned olives

Canned green beans*

Canned black beans*

Refried beans*

Peanut butter*

Medjool dates*

Extra Firm Tofu

Ground beef

Chicken breast






Ground flax*

Cacao Powder*

Hummus cups*

Guacamole cups*

*bought at Costco

Home-cooked meals don’t have to be these elaborate, time-consuming things. Follow some meal templates and use up what you have around the house. It’ll save you time, money and stress.

Meal Templates and Grocery Staples Printables

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