Meal Planning Made Easy: Healthy Tips and Tricks
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Meal Planning. Easily one of the most intimidating tasks on my weekly to do list, yet once I actually sit down and make myself do it I find it to be quick and easy. Since I find the task so daunting I thought I would share with you how I go about my meal planning and give you a sample of my meal plans for the upcoming week in hopes that it inspires you to plan out some healthy meals for you and your family! We don't really diet in our family but when I cook we eat mostly from Paleo/Whole 30 recipes. This way when we go out to eat or attend social gatherings we can feel free to eat what we wish knowing that we eat healthy otherwise. So here you go, my tips on making meal planning a breeze!
Meal Planning Tips
- Pick one day a week and set aside about thirty minutes to complete your planning and grocery list. Planning this into your week is the first step to actually getting it done!
- Pin or save recipes throughout the week as you come across new things you want to try. You can see my post here about how I am a notorious pinner and this is where I find most of my recipes, I also have a large binder that houses all of my recipes that I tear out from magazines, kind of like my hard copy version of Pinterest LOL.
- Pick a few new meals and a few "staples/routine meals" each week, that way you don't have to buy too many new ingredients or spend too much time learning new recipes. It's easy to get carried away thinking you are going to cook all of these new fancy meals for the upcoming week but this is the easiest way to get off track as the task of new meals becomes daunting day after day.
- Do a little meal prep but not too much. I always try to do a few things like prepare breakfast the morning before or put leftovers into individual containers for lunches... but I do not try and prep anything fresh such as salads or fruits in advance because I find that by the end of the week salad gets wilted and fruit and veggies get soggy so I find it better to just prepare these things at the time of cooking.
- Take into consideration your plans for the week, there's nothing worse than taking the time to plan out a meal and buying ingredients for it and then not getting around to cooking it!
- Be sure to keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with staples as this makes it simpler to plan out a grocery list knowing that you already have the staples. Here are some of my favorite paleo/clean eating staples:
Honey, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Flour, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Coconut Milk, Coconut Aminos, Greek Yogurt, Chicken Broth, Beef Broth, Apple Cider Vinegar, Canned Pumpkin, Chia Seeds, Almond Flour, Eggs, Pure Maple Syrup, Protein Butter, Dates, Tapioca Flour
- Use some sort of planner such as a meal planning notebook, whiteboard or a phone app. Personally, I use the Picniic app- it has been wonderful in helping me get my act together with meal planning. Just make sure you have somewhere where you actually have the meals set in stone according to the day of the week- this holds you accountable and of course helps you remember what your plan for dinner is when it is 4 PM and you are racking your brain to figure out what to feed your family!
For those interested, the Picniic app is great for scheduling all your family members schedules and information all in one place. Its is like a command center for the family! Check out some of their features below!
- Shared family calendar
- Assign to-dos, lists, and chores
- Family news feed
- Store your own custom recipes
- Search online recipes
- Meal planner
- Real-time family locator
- Custom 'places' for family check-ins
- Encrypted family info locker
- Birthdays & anniversaries
- Group event planner
- Simple calendar import
- Subscribe to your family calendar at work
- Sync with TeamSnap sports
- Easily import info from other organizers
I am excited to use this as the girls grow and start participating in sports and extracurricular activities so I know where we have to be and when! The meal planning feature is where I find the best value in this app- it allows me to plan out as many meals as I want per day and I have the option to import recipes or write in my own, this saves me from having to scour Google or Pinterest to try to find the recipe I am looking for. I just have to enter it into the app one time and its there for me every subsequent time that I need it!
Okay, now that I have thrown those tips out there read below to find out what I actually ended up planning last week. I should mention a few things to keep in mind as you read this:
- My family likes boiled eggs (like a lot).
- The girls food for dinner is similar to ours but I just eliminate sauces and spices (for example Tuesday they will have plain ground turkey and Thursday they will have plain chicken breast) and their sides are the same as ours unless our vegetables have a spice to them then I will make them canned veggies.
- I leave certain days and meals blank for going out to eat or going elsewhere because on the average week we do these things. If we find ourselves at home and in need of a meal then I go to my staples and try and whip something up on the fly!
- Lunches are usually leftovers- boring I know but it means that we always have lunch (unless we didn't have any leftovers) and that it is always relatively healthy. Plus this makes meal planning lunches super easy!
This Week's Meal Plan
B - Boiled Eggs, Leftover Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
L - Turkey Sandwich and Plain Greek Yogurt
D - Orange Saffron Chicken, Rice, Salad
B - Boiled Eggs, Lemon Poppyseed Chia Pudding
L - Leftover Orange Saffron Chicken
D - Paleo and Whole 30 Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli
B - Scrambled Eggs with Spinach
L - Leftover Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes
D - Spaghetti Squash Seafood Pasta With Pumpkin Sauce and Sugar Snap Peas
B - Boiled Eggs, Lemon Poppyseed Chia Pudding
L - Leftover Seafood Pasta
B - Boiled Eggs, Paleo Pumpkin Banana Bread
L - Leftover Spicy Mango Chicken
D - Out To Eat
B - Boiled Eggs, Greek Yogurt Parfait
L - Out To Eat
D - Grilled Chicken Sausage with Grilled Corn and Salad
L - Leftover Sausages and Salad
If you enjoyed these meal plans be sure to let me know and I can post them more often! Until next time happy meal planning!