Our 10 Most Popular Meal Plans of 2020
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at it for years or you were just dipping your toes in the water: Meal planning (and prep) was kind of a double-edged sword in 2020. During the past nine months we’ve been cooking at home more than ever before, managing WFH and Zoom meetings and changing school situations (and lots more). So adding on the task of meal planning was daunting, for sure. But it was also the most helpful thing we did to make our dinnertime routine run a little smoother, and feel a little easier. Setting aside a little bit of time to plan for the week ahead meant that, come 4 p.m. there was no question of What’s for dinner? Because it was already asked and answered.
Of all the new meal plans we published this year, these were your 10 favorites. Plant-based meals and impossibly easy dinners were clear favorites.
1. A Week of Cheap and Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners
We love the slow cooker because it makes hands-off work of dinner, but it also totally excels in cooking meals that feel healthy and nourishing without totally killing your food budget. And this plan — slotted with golden chickpea soup, Italian-style chicken and broccoli bowls, and more — celebrates just that.
Get the plan: A Week of Cheap and Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners
2. A Week of High-Protein Plant-Based Meals
If you’re trying to eat a high-protein diet that also happens to be plant-based, know that it’s easier than you might think. In just about two hours you can prep a full week’s worth of plant-based breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are nourishing and seriously satisfying.
Get the plan: A Week of High-Protein Plant-Based Meals
3. A Week of Impossibly Easy 3-Ingredient Dinners
When your meal plan is stacked with three-ingredient dinners, the benefits are many. Not only does limiting the number of ingredients increase the likelihood you already have what you need in the kitchen, but it also guarantees that prep work, dirty dishes, and cook time will be kept to a minimum. This one-week plan includes family favorites like baked Caesar chicken, and mixed mushroom sheet pan gnocchi.
Get the plan: A Week of Impossibly Easy 3-Ingredient Dinners
4. 5 Low-Carb, High-Protein Dinners to Plan for the Week Ahead
When you’re trying to cut back on carbs, get plenty of vegetables on your plate, and eat a meal that won’t leave you reaching for a snack in an hour, it can feel like a tall order. But these five dinners check all the boxes. You’ll tuck into filling dinners like slow cooker brisket, salsa-simmered fish, and Asian-style cauliflower fried”rice.”
Get the plan: 5 Low-Carb, High-Protein Dinners to Plan for the Week Ahead
5. A Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals
Consider this meal plan just one more reminder that you can fill your day with veggie-packed, meat-free meals and feel plenty satisfied. With about two hours of upfront prep work, you’ll set yourself up with a week’s worth of high-protein vegetarian meals that require barely any cooking — just some reheating and assembly.
Get the plan: A Week of High-Protein Vegetarian Meals
6. A Week of Slow Cooker Mediterranean Diet Dinners
The Mediterranean diet encourages filling your plate with wholesome foods, like vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean fish and meat, and healthy fats. And as it happens, these are all foods that are ideal for hands-off cooking in the slow cooker.
Get the plan: A Week of Slow Cooker Mediterranean Diet Dinners
7. A Week of Lazy Summer Dinners Because I Just Don’t Feel Like Cooking
Bookmark this one for the weeks you just need a roster of dinners that are ridiculously simple to pull off, require minimal prep, and leave you with the least amount of dirty dishes possible. Don’t save it just for the summer months, though, because pesto tortellini, sausage sandwiches, and no-cook Mediterranean tuna salad are great picks year-round.
Get the plan: A Week of Lazy Summer Dinners Because I Just Don’t Feel Like Cooking
8. A Week of Lazy Family Dinners — Because I’m Tired of Cooking
When you need a break from cooking, but taking a break isn’t an option, these easy dinners have your back. From a sheet pan dinner to a slow cooker drop dinner, this week’s meals require minimal effort (and minimal cleanup!) and reward you with ultra-comforting dishes the whole table is bound to love.
Get the plan: A Week of Lazy Family Dinners — Because I’m Tired of Cooking
9. A Week of Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet Meals
Whether you follow a vegetarian diet or just want to eat less meat, this feel-good meal plan — with stuffed sweet potatoes, mushroom barley soup, and crispy beans and greens — is a great one to follow. Carve out about two hours for meal prep on Sunday, and you’ll be rewarded with an entire week of wholesome and colorful breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Get the plan: A Week of Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet Meals
10. A Week of Plant-Based, One-Bowl Meals
Nothing is better than bowl food, right? We think so. Especially when those bowls are deeply nourishing and brimming with vegetables. Plus, these one-bowl meals can be mostly prepped in advance (which makes getting dinner on the table midweek a whole lot more manageable), are easily adaptable, make great lunch leftovers, and make a great choice for dinner whether you have a goal to eat more vegetables or are following a plant-based diet.
Get the plan: A Week of Plant-Based, One-Bowl Meals