I have had quite a few of you and those in my private Facebook group ask me about meal planning. Since I am not a registered dietician, nor a nutritionist, I thought I would give you some tips that have helped me over the years plan meals for my family.
I’m sure you’ve heard the age-old saying that hindsight gives us 20/20 vision, but a little foresight can be helpful, too. In fact, foresight when it comes to meal planning can be your saving grace for making it work for you. Meal planning can feel a little overwhelming, but I invite you to see it with renewed eyes today. I’d love to share with you some of the tips I use to help meal planning feel empowering instead of overwhelming.
The purpose of meal planning is to simplify your life, and here are my tips for making that successful.
- Stop Trying to plan everything
If you’ve never been much into meal planning, give yourself some grace and try to ease into it. If you start by trying to plan every single meal, it can send you spinning into overwhelm. Instead, work on planning just a few meals a week and convert the leftovers to lunches. Once you get the hang of meal planning dinners, you can then move on to lunch and/or breakfast from there. Baby steps will lead to lasting habits.
- Learn how to stock kitchen staples
To get into meal planning, you need to keep kitchen staples on hand. Gluten-free oats can function for oatmeal, smoothies, and even baked treats. Rotisserie chicken, or a roasted chicken can be used for a family meal one night and then turned into quesadillas, wraps, soups, chicken chili, and so much more. While these are just a few examples, you can see that buying things that have versatility will go a long way in your kitchen and always give you something tasty and nutritious to eat.
- Put healthy snack options within reach
Whether you have kids or not, putting healthy snacks where they can be easily selected is a smart idea. It prevents rummaging pre-packaged snacks when you’ve got cut-up veggies with hummus front and center in the fridge. Since she works full time at one of the local hospitals, and is the mother of three, life can get more than a little hectic. So, my daughter goes to Sam’s Club and buys their vegetable trays. Since the veggies are already cut up, that’s a time saver, for those nights when everyone gets home from school starving and looking for snacks before dinner.
- Love that slow cooker
Your slow cooker is a true kitchen hero. You can cook one large meal and use it in different recipes over the next few nights. Or you could freeze portions to pull out next week for an easy, pre-made dinner. It can save you so much time to cook once and eat multiple times off of one meal.
- Side-step side dish problems
So, you’ve meal-prepped, and your main dish is ready to eat in your slow cooker. But what will you serve with it? On busy nights, don’t overthink things. Make a habit of keeping frozen veggies and pre-washed fresh greens around, and you’ll always have something to serve on the side. When you’re planning ahead, you can batch cook roasted veggies and portion them as side-items throughout the week.
- Pack lunches ahead
If tonight’s meal is going into tomorrow’s lunches, portion it all out while you’re in the kitchen. Get everyone’s lunches ready all at once, and you can set yourself up for a more peaceful morning. Having lunch out of the way will free you from worrying about what to eat or worrying about hurrying to pack lunches after breakfast.
Once you get more into meal planning, it will come easier, and you’ll find what works best for you. By easing into it, you’ll reduce much of the stress that it can cause initially and finally be able to use it as a stress-reducing tool for feeding yourself and the family, too!
Still have questions, or think you may want help getting healthier? Let’s chat. Schedule a Free Getting Aquainted Call We’ll discuss some of the obstacles that stand in your way, and how I can help you thrive and feel your best.
By the end of this session we’ll know if we’re a good fit. You can decide if I’m the right person to guide and support you to a better, healthier gluten-free version of you.
Not ready for a call, then join my Facebook Group. I give more tips and recipes over at the Easy Gluten-Free Community.