My adventure with cooking, meal planning, eating healthy, and providing for my family has been one of the more difficult aspects of adulthood for me. There is still so much that I have to learn, but one area that I have become pretty comfortable with lately is meal planning. Today I’m sharing the easy, low-stress way I approach it.
Right now it works best for us to meal plan only a week at a time. Yes, I have to do it more often, but right now we don’t have much freezer space and so we’re at the grocery store once a week anyway. Planning weekly is also much less overwhelming to me. We have a lot of random dinners with family pop up so this way it’s easy for me to fit them in and shuffle a meal to the next week. This process would work just as well monthly though!
The uniform concept applied to meals
Much like my capsule wardrobe, I like to approach the rest of my life with the “uniform” concept as well. As far as meal planning goes (and we are talking dinners here), that means having specific types of food or meals on specific days of the week, taking the guesswork out of it. For example:
Monday – a tried & true meal since it is the first day of the week, or something in the Crockpot since I have time on Sunday to set it up
Tuesday – something quick to prepare, but it could be new; a good night for salads
Wednesday – leftovers, since we have a few days’ worth built up by this time
Thursday – breakfast for dinner (yum). Can still be healthy if you keep it egg & meat based rather than grain & sugar based (think omelet with bacon instead of pancakes)
Friday – Mom & Dad’s house. I love having this setup with them because we make sure to get in a visit at least once a week and I don’t have to cook!
Saturday – homemade pizza & movie night
Sunday – since this is ideally a family rest day, I’ll choose a recipe that takes longer to prepare, or that is new to me
I’ve mentioned before, but I’m the kind of person who can eat pretty much the same thing every day for a long time with only slight variation. For breakfast these days I scramble 5-7 eggs and add cheese and sausage (I cook a couple pounds of sausage at the beginning of the week and use it till it runs out). Half of this mix I roll up in a few tortillas for David to eat for breakfast/lunch, and the rest is for me (and Meredith, if she wants any). I also have a banana or other fruit.
For lunch I still love to make a big salad with shredded chicken and strawberries, using olive oil + raspberry balsamic as a dressing. On the side I’ll have a Greek yogurt and some dark chocolate covered almonds.
After completing whole30, my focus with meals these days is to keep them real and to eliminate the processed stuff as much as possible. I keep a list in the meal planning section of my notebook for go-to dinner ideas (and where to find the recipe if needed), but sometimes I want to try something new, and here are some places I go to find meal inspiration:
Don’t Waste the Crumbs (real food blog) – my favorite.
More-With-Less (cookbook) – my best friend got this for me when I got married and it’s been a go-to lately for learning to make resources last, trying to make stuff from scratch, and I love the simple, hearty recipes. I actually think I need to read through this again because there is a ton of information in it about sustainability, nutrition, and budget as well.
And that’s it, really. I don’t rely on Pinterest much anymore because I get overwhelmed, and most of it isn’t the kind of food I’m looking for anyway. If you have any other resources for real food inspiration I would love to know about them!
How do you meal plan?