Meal Planning is the very FIRST question I always ask new clients. How do you decide what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you PLAN your meals? I have gotten a wide range of answers. I am here to tell you WHY you should Meal Plan and HOW To get started.
I am going to paint a picture from you.
Imagine if you will, your typical day.
You wake up tired and grumpy from a snoring spouse and jump right into the day. Two kids to get off to school, and you have not made their lunches. Kid #1 forgets their Chromebook at home, so you drop it off on your way INTO work. You have not gone into work in a month, but of course TODAY you go into the office. You even got dressed in real clothes today because you are meeting a client. Lunch is at the meeting with the client, boardroom sandwiches. You eat too many and a side of chips because you skipped breakfast.
Ill fast forward a bit through the workday, the traffic, the kid pick-up, the post school homework and now its 5:00 and the dreaded ‘WHATS FOR DINNER?’ At this point in the day, how much power you have left to make a good decision for dinner? Pizza it is….and the cycle restarts tomorrow….
Let’s take another look at this day.
It all starts the same way, because #life, but it is 5:00 PM and you say ‘For dinner tonight, we are having Instant Pot Orange Chicken with Quinoa.’ You open the fridge and have the chicken, oranges, ginger and sauces all ready to go. You are using the quinoa you made yesterday for Quinoa Cakes, so that is ready. Instant Pot Orange Chicken takes under 30 minutes so @ 5:30 PM, dinner is on the table. Balanced protein, healthy with the quinoa, pop it on a handful of spinach and call it a dinner.
How do you create the second scenario?
YOU MEAL PLAN.
Taking 30 minutes at one point in the week to plan out the remainder of the week can save you on average 3 HOURS of time. How is that possible? You complete the grocery shopping for the week in one swoop as opposed to 6 different trips to get 1 thing. You came home from the store and pre-cut your veggies so they were prepped, saves time and stress when it comes to putting the meals together.
Map it all out.
What do I have in the freezer? How can I make that into a meal? What night does that fit into? Cool, anything from that meal that can be used in another meal? What about lunch? Do I need leftovers? This habit is like any habit, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I will use this week as an example. I work late on Mondays, so whatever I make on Sunday needs to have enough leftovers for Adam and me on Monday. Tuesday is a bit chaotic with Zoe’s soccer practice, so I trend towards tacos or spaghetti. Both of those are 20 minutes or less, ingredients always on hand and crowd pleasers. Wednesday I start earlier than most of you get up, so by 5:00 PM I am done and cooking is not on my agenda, we order in that night. Simple. Thursday is a good night. Things are starting to settle down for the week, homemade dinner. Same on Friday. More take out on Saturday and the cycle starts again.
I will tell you a secret, I am always ready to eat whatever I had planned. Always.
So HOW do you start meal planning?
First take inventory of what is in your pantry, fridge, freezer.
Google some of those items. IE, (last week I had shrimp and boursin cheese. I made shrimp, boursin pasta).
Pick recipes that strike your fancy
Add remaining ingredients to the list and assign that product to a day of the week.
Wash and chop vegetables
Maybe this is all too much for you, but you like the idea. Join a meal delivery service. Maybe the cost of the service is a balance to the cost of your time and sanity. Blue Apron, Green Chef, Vegetable and Butcher, Hello Fresh. All delicious. All nutritious and ALL offer some sort of new client discount to try them out. Try them all and pick your favorite!
OR, reach out to me and I will put your meal plan together for you! Yes, I can do that! We can set up a call to chat about your likes, dislikes and desires and we can map it out for you.
If you want help, I am here. Meal Planning is my jam.