Gameplay Instructions

Dinner’s Ready! is more than a card game. It is a catalyst for understanding whole ingredients and their roles in healthy food. We have a suggested way to play with your Dinner’s Ready! cards, but we also want you to take the game, explore the options, and make it your own.


  1. Determine who will be the dealer.
  2. Dealer deals out 5 Recipe Cards to each player, starting with the player to the left.

The objective is to collect one appetizer (1), one entree (2), and one dessert (3), that together contain each of the FIVE FOOD GROUPS: fruits, vegetables, meat, rice and dairy.

  1. After player has done their best at completing the above, player discards 2 cards face up in the discard pile and keeps the remaining 3.

Good job! You’re ready to start cooking!


Each player is dealt four (4) INGREDIENT CARDS. Player to the left of the dealer always starts.

The objective is to collect the ingredients to make the appetizer, then the entree, then the dessert. You must go in order!

On their turn, player must do one of the following;


  • Ask another player for a particular ingredient. If the player does not have the desired ingredient, he can respond with “Go Shopping!” Draw an Ingredient Card.
  • Pick up the top Ingredient Card on the “Compost Pile” (discard pile),
  • Draw a replacement “Recipe Card.”

When a player has all three ingredients for a particular course, they lay down the recipe and corresponding ingredients all down at once, then refill their hand (to 4 ingredient cards) before moving on to “preparing” the next course.

Keep an eye on the “Compost Pile.” The top discarded ingredient card is always up for grabs, so anybody who needs it can SNATCH IT away! Players may only snatch away one card between turns (known as “overloading”). If you’ve overloaded your hand, you must discard then wait for the next round to collect a new card.

Watch out for ROTTEN INGREDIENTS! Instead of being discarded, they can be passed off to another player, making them lose their next turn! Discard the ROTTEN INGREDIENTS into the compost pile.

The first player to collect all their ingredients yells “Dinner’s Ready!” then reads their completed, healthy meal out loud to the table.