Full disclosure: I don’t meal plan. Why don’t I meal plan? Because I live 3 kilometers from my mom. Yes, I am an adult and I have a family, but so often my mom calls or texts (or I call her or text) and says “what are you doing for dinner?”. I have made a general rule that if my mom invites my family for dinner, I say yes. And then there’s leftovers….
But I do understand the benefits of meal planning, and I have seen how it’s helped so many people I’ve worked with. Since I’m not an expert in the area, I’ve invited someone who is: Ascend Fitness member Melanie Voth. During a 12-Week program we did in the spring, Melanie shared all her tools and resources on meal planning with the group and I was impressed! In this episode, I go over the basics of making meal planning simple and effective. Melanie brings the FUN (and some more strategies for success). Click on the bright yellow button below to download Melanie’s worksheets!
Meal Planning Made Simple:
Meal planning does not have to be a tedious process. I’m going to show you how to keep it really, really simple.
- Before you start menu planning, make a list of your ‘go to’ recipes. These are meals that are healthful, easy to make, and they use ingredients that you almost always have on hand. For example, for my family the recipes include tacos, fajitas, pizza and Souvlaki with Greek salad. You may want to store these recipes (or at least a list of the dishes) in a binder so you can refer to it from time to time.
- Purchase a white board for you fridge. Staples and most stationary stores will sell them. Buy a few fun, colourful markers. I personally prefer the white board as it’s so much easier to change the plan during the week when unexpected events come up.
- Write the days of the week in a column down the left side of the white board. Beside the day, write down any events that you have planned during the week. For example, you might write down ‘dinner out’ or ‘soccer til 7pm’.
- Fill in one main meal for each day. Usually, that meal will be dinner. Consider the following:
- Whenever you cook, make enough for at least one extra meal.
- Always have emergency food in the freezer (chili, stew, etc.)
- Know that it’s OK to have scrambled eggs and fruit for dinner, or a protein shake from time to time. Think nutrition, not traditional meals. It’s also OK to create a meal from the ingredients you have on hand, even if the ingredients don’t really go together.
- If you have the time and desire to research and try out a new recipe once or twice a week, decide on the recipe ahead of time so you only have to go to the grocery store once.
- Keep recipes that were successful in a binder for future reference. Maybe they’ll become a staple meal in your home!
- To keep meal planning even simpler, create a regular, weekly schedule. For example, maybe every Wednesday you have hamburgers, or Thursdays you have soup.
For your other meals of the day, stick to a basic rotation. For example, breakfasts could be cottage cheese and fruit, eggs, or left overs. Lunches could be leftovers, salad with tuna, etc. Most people are OK with a basic rotation for breakfast and lunch, but need variety at dinner.
Thanks For Tuning In!
Thanks so much for joining me this week. I really look forward to getting to know you in the months to come. If you have a question that you would like answered, or need a bit of extra help in a certain area, please take a moment to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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