5 Tricks to Make Meal Planning Simpler

Meal planning can really feel like a grind however it doesn’t should! Strive these 5 ideas or hacks from a registered dietitian to make meal planning simpler!

I used to DREAD meal planning. And I’m a dietitian and meals blogger! I’m imagined to adore it.

However each Sunday would roll round and it could really feel like such a grind to should meal plan, once more. Didn’t I simply meal plan like yesterday?

It felt like I used to be all the time meal planning. And recreating the wheel. Arising with new concepts every week. Looking out the web for scrumptious recipes.

It took extra time than I needed it to.

Then we had a child! And I couldn’t discover the time to cook dinner, not to mention meal prep. So we relied on a variety of ready meal supply and takeout for that first 12 months and a half post-baby.

Till I had the bandwidth AND the instruments to make this simpler on myself.

I used to be impressed by a life coach for working mamas, Katelyn Denning. I did a gaggle teaching program with once I was 8 months postpartum and making an attempt to get again into work. She shared her meal planning system with us and on the time I didn’t have the bandwidth to attempt it however about eight months later I did!

And I discovered it a lot simpler and extra useful than what I used to be doing earlier than!

Full disclosure, I don’t all the time use this method. For instance, this summer season we now have a CSA field and I don’t know what produce we’re going to get every week so we’ve been enhancing extra these days and never having a set meal plan.

However that’s the important thing with meal planning – let or not it’s versatile. Use it when it serves you and don’t use it when it doesn’t. It might make sense that completely different programs and methods are going to work higher for us in numerous seasons of life.

Graphic with quote: "But that's the key with meal planning - let it be flexible. Use it when it serves you and don't use it when it doesn't. It would make sense that different systems and strategies are going to work better for us in different seasons of life."

Strive a few of these tricks to make meal planning straightforward!

  1. Have themes for many nights of the week.

In the event you sit all the way down to meal plan and don’t have any construction or inspiration in anyway, it’s going to really feel like gazing a clean slate. And also you’ll spend a lot extra time and power ranging from scratch.

However what should you had completely different culinary themes for various nights of the week? That might take a variety of guesswork out of the equation and simplify / slim down your choices. Listed here are some completely different concepts for nightly dinner themes:

  • Meatless Monday (vegetarian or vegan)
  • Taco Tuesday (or Mexican-inspired night time)
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Pasta night time
  • Italian night time 
  • Pizza Friday
  • Indian-Impressed
  • Stir-fry night time
  • Seafood night time

2. Strive planning month-to-month as an alternative of weekly.

Think about having to take a seat down each single weekend and spend time determining a meal plan for the week forward.

Now think about having to take a seat down as soon as a month to spend time determining a meal plan for the month.

Would you quite meal plan 4x/month or 1x/month?

I attempted on the month-to-month meal plan as an experiment and realized I a lot most well-liked this methodology over weekly planning. I loved solely having to consider it as soon as a month vs. having to consider it each weekend.

Right here’s how I do it:

  1. I print out a free month-to-month calendar for whichever month it’s.
  2. I begin by penciling in any date nights / journey / solo parenting nights, and many others.
  3. Then I pencil in meals based mostly on themes like Mexican-inspired / Taco Tuesday, Seafood night time, Pizza Friday.
  4. Sunday’s are my day to attempt a brand new recipe that may take extra time so I web page by way of my cookbooks to search out ones I wish to attempt.
  5. I pencil in leftover nights – Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday or Saturday. Sure, we depend on leftovers ~3x/week!
  6. I reference my working recipe doc to pencil in the remainder of the month (see tip #3).
  7. I attempt to embrace a minimum of one night time every week that’s simply protein + frozen starch + veg (ie very minimal prep / cooking concerned)
  8. I take into consideration selection – if there’s nonetheless some nights to pencil in, I’ll see what’s lacking from that week – seafood? pasta? rooster?

3. Hold a working doc of straightforward, 30 minute or much less, tried-and-true recipes.

I maintain a Google doc the place I can add recipes we tried that we loved which can be half-hour or much less to make (or in the event that they’re longer I’ll make a remark of it). I also can entry this doc from the Google Docs app on my telephone so it’s straightforward so as to add recipes in actual time.

It’s really easy to overlook what you tried that you just (and hopefully the entire household!) preferred so this doc serves as a reference to maintain out whenever you meal plan. Why recreate the wheel when you possibly can repeat recipes that everybody cherished?!

4. Be versatile.

I usually get requested is there room for meal planning with intuitive consuming?

The reply is YES!

While you’re an intuitive eater, meals takes up some psychological area however not loads or all of it.

The important thing to meal planning whereas consuming intuitively is FLEXIBILITY.

Graphic with quote: "The key to meal planning while eating intuitively is FLEXIBILITY."

There was a time in my life once I was not versatile with my meal planning (earlier than I discovered intuitive consuming). One thing would come up – somebody would invite us out to dinner final minute, for instance, and I’d get so wired about losing meals and altering up the plan.

As we speak, I’m crossing off issues on our month-to-month meal plan / shifting issues round all. the time. Yeah it’s messy. However it’s actual life. And I don’t stress out about it anymore.

Particularly now that we now have a toddler at residence, we now have to be versatile. There have been many nights when one in every of us is solo parenting, Luca is requiring all our consideration, and we don’t have the time or bandwidth to cook dinner.

Giving ourselves that permission to pivot and alter is every thing. You deserve that very same permission!

Have a look at your meal plan as a instrument, not a tough and quick rule.

Discover should you’re projecting some perfectionism onto the meal plan, get inquisitive about why that’s, and see should you can provide your self permission to loosen the reigns a bit.

Graphic with quote: "Look at your meal plan as a tool, not a hard and fast rule. Notice if you're projecting some perfectionism onto the meal plan, get curious about why that is, and see if you can give yourself permission to loosen the reigns a little."

5. Hold your meal plan seen for the entire household to see.

Okay ya’ll, large pet peeve comin’ at you. It actually irks me when my husband asks me on daily basis what’s for dinner. And if I had older children, it could in all probability equally irk me if in addition they requested me on a regular basis what’s for dinner.

I don’t wish to be the keeper of dinners! I’m positive you don’t both.

So make your meal plan (whether or not it’s weekly or month-to-month) accessible and visual for the entire household to see!

I tape ours up on the fridge so we are able to all the time see it once we’re within the kitchen.

Now let’s be actual, even with this taped in your fridge, you understand your loved ones remains to be going to ask you, proper (outdated habits die laborious)? So then you need to set a boundary.

Be certain that your loved ones is aware of that you’ll not be speaking what’s for dinner – they’re accountable for checking the meal plan on the fridge (or wherever you retain it).

The factor about boundaries although is that we regularly should proceed to bolster them. So if somebody forgets to examine the meal plan, properly then dinner is a shock for them that night time!

Talking of the entire household, if it could make meal planning simpler to have their involvement, by all means, ask for some assist and assist! Typically I’ll ask my husband for concepts if I’m feeling caught or I’ll ask for any requests forward of time earlier than I sit all the way down to plan.

pink graphic with list 1-5 of tips to make meal planning easier.

Are the following tips useful? What would you add to this checklist? Please go away a remark under and let me know!

For extra intuitive consuming ideas, take a look at my posts under!

6 Tricks to Make Cooking Simpler

6 Methods to Discover Extra Enjoyment in Cooking

Am I Hungry? Indicators of Starvation to Watch For

Am I Consuming Sufficient? 8 Indicators You’re Undereating

5 Tricks to Address a Unhealthy Physique Picture Day