Do you struggle with meal planning? I have been doing it for years, but I rarely make a formal plan. You know something like this…
Breakfast: Eggs and spinach
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on gluten free bread, carrots & bell pepper w/ hummus, apple
Dinner: Beef stew, salad with tomatoes, red onions, olives & feta cheese
Snack 1: Shakeology with almond milk, banana and almond butter
Snack 2: 2 toasted corn tortillas, salsa, Greek yogurt.
It looks impressive to have an entire week with every single meal and snack mapped out, but that approach is too restrictive for me. What if I wake up Monday morning in the mood for oatmeal with blueberries & walnuts??
I prefer the free spirit approach to meal planning. I absolutely need to be sure I have a range of healthy foods in the house, but I also want the freedom to choose to eat whatever sounds appealing at the moment.
This video walks you through one way I plan my meals. It uses the Plan to Eat program (which I totally love!), but you can do this with old fashioned pen and paper too. I’ll walk you through the process below.
In case you watch the video and are totally confused, here is the process, broken down for you:
1. Make a list of food categories you eat each week.
My list is:
- Breakfast foods
- Veggie Soup
- Dinners (broken down by TYPE)
- skillet meal
- hearty soup/stew
- (insert your own)
- Essentials (or staples) – this list includes items I eat every single week like eggs, avocado, olives, coconut milk, nuts, etc.
2. Start with dinners and decide how many main meals you need to cook for the week.
Then choose the categories you want to enjoy this week.
In the summer I might pick 2 grilled meals, crockpot meal and a skillet meal.
3 . Use the Plan to Eat software, or Word document, or even pen and paper and PLUG your recipes into the dinner types.
For this example I might choose grilled chicken; bunless burgers with tomato & cheddar, crockpot lemon chicken, and shrimp stir fry.
4. Plug the items you want to eat into each of the other categories.
I might decide to have blueberries, watermelon and apples as my FRUITS, cabbage soup is my VEGGIE SOUP recipe (this is how I get my veggies in!) and SNACKS this week are carrots & hummus, apple & almond butter, or a mini portion of leftovers. Etc.
5. Add the items you need for each recipe, or the individual ingredients to your shopping list.
Here’s a printable shopping list you can use.
The end result is you have healthy food in the house, you have a rough idea of what you will eat during the week, but you have the freedom to choose WHEN you will eat a particular item.
- For more meal planning help, check out my meal plans and posts HERE.
- Try out Plan to Eat totally free for 14 days: Plan to Eat free trial
- If you just want to be told what to eat, eMeals will create a healthy meal plan, plus give you the recipes and shopping list.