5 Meal Planning Tips and Spinach Salad with Pecans

This shop, 5 Meal Planning Tips, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LeanCuisine #CollectiveBias

One of my goals for the new year is to become efficient in meal planning. As a busy, on-the-go woman, meal planning is a must for me.

A few days ago, I worked a full day, set up a banquet room for a meeting, was the key-note speaker at the meeting and made it to my grandson’s basketball game just in time to see him hit a 3-pointer. Whew.

Cooking is not on my agenda at all on super busy days! I don’t have time. It’s a good thing that I now have meal planning tips for days like this.

Are you tired of wondering what to eat for lunch or dinner when you have no time to cook? I finally came up with 5 tips for meal planning that really work. #ad #LeanCuisine

5 Meal Planning Tips

1. Set Aside Time Each Week to Plan a Menu and Shopping List

This first step is not the fun part, I know, but it’s a must. Once you get used to it, it becomes a habit and won’t take as long. I promise!

Helpful Hint: Plan your menu around seasonal foods and food items that are on sale. Don’t forget to include lunch options.

2.  Plan a Weekly Theme Night

We usually have pasta night once a week. It doesn’t have to be the same type pasta each week. When I throw the sauce ingredients into the slow cooker first thing in the morning and let it simmer all day, dinner is so much easier.

3.  Try a New Recipe Each Week

It’s tempting to have the same exact menu every week. Trust me, that gets boring very quickly. Make it your goal to try at least one new recipe every week. You and your family will find some new favorite dishes.

4.  Have a Back-Up Plan

There’s always going to be days when nothing goes as planned or you’re so busy that you don’t have time to fix lunch. Here’s where meal planning really pays off. That leads me to my last point.

5.  Keep the Freezer Stocked for Super Busy Days

When you keep your freezer stocked with ready to eat meals like my favorite LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Spicy Penne Arrabbiata, skipping lunch will become a thing of the past.

Meal Planning Tips - Lean Cuisine

My family knows I’m a pasta lover and Spicy Penne Arrabbiata delivers! It’s made with organic pasta and tomatoes and contains no preservatives.

Whenever I’m rushed for time, I add a simple Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans to my Lean Cuisine meal and lunch is ready. A serving of blueberries is the perfect finish to a satisfying lunch.

The Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans is super easy to make. While the Lean Cuisine Marketplace Spicy Penne Arrabbiata is heating according to package directions, toast pecans in a heavy skillet for two to three minutes or until golden brown. Stir often to keep from burning.

Meal Planning Tips - Toasted Pecans

Place baby spinach leaves in a salad bowl.

Spinach Salad - Meal Planning Tips

Add sliced red onions, sliced mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Spinach Salad - Meal Planning Tips

Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Meal Planning Tips and Spinach Salad

Whisk together the oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Pour over the salad.

Meal Planning Tips and Lean Cuisine


Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans


  • Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Button Mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • Red Onion, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted pecans
  • Vinaigrette
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Arrange spinach leaves on a salad plate.
  2. Add mushrooms, grape tomatoes and red onion.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.
  4. Top with vinaigrette.
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Lean Cuisine Marketplace Meals are full of bold flavors and so many varieties so I never get bored. Plus, I love the fact that I’m eating lunches that are better for me.

Meal Planning Tips and Lean Cuisine

Helpful Hint: Now’s the time to stock up on Lean Cuisine Entrees at Target. For a limited time (1.1.17 – 1.31.17) Target has the lowest prices of the year for all Lean Cuisine entrees at $1.99 (normally $3.00).

Meal Planning Tips - Instore Photo

To keep up with the latest, follow Lean Cuisine on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

5 Meal Planning Tips - Lean Cuisine

Do you meal plan? What’s your number one tip?

About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe – Let’s Have a Party!


  1. I have always enjoy Lean Cuisine meals and like to keep them for my lunch. I haven’t tried the Marketplace yet so I’m adding a trip to Target on my to-do list this week. That price is awesome!
    Shirley Wood recently posted…Merry Monday Link Party #136My Profile

  2. I really need to get better at meal planning, but Lean Cuisine sure does help make it easy. Thanks for the tips! #Client

  3. The pasta looks delish!! It’s good to know that they actually make them healthier. I also like that you added a salad to make it even more complete. I do agree with all your meal planning tips…. and love the one about stocking up with extra food for the extra busy day or times when cooking just does not seem possible. I had one of those days recently. When I don’t meal plan, meals just aren’t the same.

  4. That salad looks amazing. I am going to really try this year to add more creative salads to our dinners. My kids actually like salad and I can’t loose that! Great meal planning ideas!!
    Ali recently posted…Age-Appropriate Chores – A New Start to the New YearMy Profile

  5. I have never met a salad that I didn’t like. That spinach and pecan salad sounds amazing. I would love to try it.

  6. These are great tips. Since I have a longer drive that started back in March, I tend to try and keep the momentum going and cooking as soon as I walk in the door. It’s not always easy. I’m away from home from 6:30 – 5 each day. I’ll also try to cook on Sundays for at least the first three days and have leftovers the last two days. But, fall back ideas? Are actually Lean Cuisines lol. Love their flavors!
    Jacqui @FlightsFancyMom recently posted…Win A Copy Of My Book Cavern Cove and A $25 Amazon Gift Card!My Profile

  7. That Spinach Salad with Pecans looks so yummy! I am obsessed with spinach. I could honestly eat it for every meal. Meal planning is so helpful, it definitely takes the stress out of preparing dinner.
    Angelic Sinova recently posted…Christmastime at Disneyland Paris & Walt Disney Studios ParkMy Profile

  8. I’m trying to be better organized for dinners in our house. I really need to take more time to plan weekly meals so that I’m not trying to figure out meals at the last minute.
    lisa recently posted…10 Reasons To Send Your Kids to Our Lady Of The Ridge SchoolMy Profile

  9. I love to hit the library and check out different countries cookbooks. Trying something different is always fun and sometimes it turns into a party.
    candy recently posted…Peanut Butter Pie No BakeMy Profile

  10. I like the idea of a weekly theme night. Our theme night would probably be tacos. I need to get better about meal planning.

  11. I love a good spinach salad. Its my favorite kind of salad. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It sounds absolutely delicious!
    Jenn @ EngineerMommy recently posted…Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 208My Profile

  12. That salad looks amazing. Yum!! I always have good intentions to meal plan but keeping it up is where I struggle. Trying a new recipe each week is a great idea. Thanks for sharing
    Mary recently posted…Handmade Chunky Wool Blankets I LoveMy Profile

  13. I need to try all of these because I am horrible at meal planning. Every night I struggle to figure out what we are going to eat for dinner. The kids also have sports so we get home later than usual.
    Mimi Green recently posted…Did you know andy shallal created the peace ball?My Profile

  14. Surprisingly this week I have been good and stuck to my meal planning and made all my meals for work lunch and dinner. I too am a huge lover of pasta, you can never go wrong with it
    Anosa recently posted…January Fashion Wishlist My Profile

  15. Rebecca Swenor says:

    These are some great tips for meal planning. Planning a new recipe a week is a great idea I believe. I have done meal planning when my kids were younger but the past couple years I have not done it. The spinach tossed pecan salad looks delicious and I will have to try it for sure.

  16. I’m loving this salad already! The different tastes and textures would be a very exciting experience for my palate! Thanks for sharing these meal planning tips. I will have to try that weekly theme. Maybe it will make it easier for me to come up with a meal plan everyone in my family would love.

  17. Your Salad looks really good! I said this year I was going to try to do a better job of meal planning and meal prepping. It will make it easier to get things done during the week with more time on my hands.

  18. This is a very fun plan. It takes a bit of time to prepare your list, but it is a great way to save money, practice cooking, and spend time with family.

  19. I’ve been trying new meals each week and I can’t wait to make your salad. I’ll have to pair it with my favorite Lean Cusine meal.
    Terri Beavers recently posted…Save a tree with Emerald Tree-Free tissue products #shoplet @ShopletMy Profile

  20. Your salad looks so yum. I haven’t had a bowl of salad for quite a while. I usually have it during the summer time. I make some fresh my garden.

  21. Girl yes. I have to meal plan or else I would only eat junk and my child would eat chicken nuggets or pizza everyday. And it’s a great way to save money!
    LaShawn recently posted…Thriving:Getting Healthy This YearMy Profile

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