Meal Planning

Meal planning is probably one of the most important things I do to prepare for each week. It’s what keeps me on track. Spending about 20-30 minutes to figure out what I will eat all week keeps me from snacking mindlessly, doing the kitchen dance (aka, what are we gonna eat??), or grabbing something bad – like fast food.

So how do you plan your meals? Like this:

I start in my kitchen. I don’t know how much produce I have thrown away in the past, but it’s a lot. I’d buy potatoes, squash, mushrooms, whatever…and then never cook it or eat it. So it goes bad. Not anymore! I buy what’s on sale, and then I plan meals with all of it. Today I made a quick list of what I had on hand. Squash, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, bananas, rice, spaghetti noodles and sauce, quinoa, pasta, grits, oatmeal, canned beans, frozen veggies, chicken breast and legs, fish, and frozen onion rings (not the best food, but it’s in there). There’s more, but I didn’t list everything.

I usually also look at what’s on sale at the store for the week, but with my list of foods, I really didn’t think I’d need to add much. So I started planning. I have a template on my computer, which makes it easy to just plug in meals and snacks for each day. We eat a lot of the same things often, so sometimes I don’t even change much. I also have my workouts for each day listed – it’s a good visual reminder of what I need to do to start off my day.

Here is the plan I came up with:

week of april 15

I don’t really go into too much detail; I just put enough info so I know what to grab that day. And I try to make sure for each meal/snack, I combine a complex carb with a protein. That not only helps me to make sure I’m not eating too much of one type of food (because I’d snack on carbs all day if I’m not watching myself), but also because the carbs and protein balance each other out for the best sustained energy and feeling of fullness. I try to drink a glass of water with each meal/snack as well.

Interested in some of my meals? Here are some recipes and links.

The omelet – that’s pretty self explanatory. I use whole eggs, usually. For this one I’d use 2 eggs, whisked with a little almond milk, and then filled with some wilted spinach and mushrooms, and an ounce of goat cheese. (I have a slight cheese addiction. I’m working on that.)

Blueberry muffin – before I started eating clean, this would probably have come from a pouch in the baking aisle. Well, not any more. I’m planning to whip up a batch of muffins tomorrow using this recipe. The only difference is I still have a bag of white flour in my fridge, and to keep from wasting it, I will go ahead and use it for now. But I’ll be transitioning to whole wheat, or even other types of flours later on.

Mason Jar salad – This will be my first time making these! I’ve seen them on Pinterest, but really decided today to try them out. I love salads, but I sure don’t love prepping them. I will prep 4 jars tomorrow, and they will be ready for me in the fridge. It’s way easier to cut up enough veggies for 4 salads at once, than to cut salad stuff up every day. No thanks. I got the idea from Paleo Mama on Facebook, and she has a post here with ideas. I’m not exactly sure which recipe I will use, but I’ll be sure to post about it when I do. Also, I think I’ll try out this dressing.

13 Bean Soup – My friend, Stephanie, happened to run across a huge display of Bob’s Red Mill products at our town’s Big Lots the other day. I have a hard enough time finding BRM products in our grocery stores and Walmart, so I was shocked that they carried them at Big Lots. I guess you never know what you’ll find there. I bought their 13 bean soup mix on a whim, and figured I’d find some sort of recipe to use with it. And I did, here. I plan to keep it vegetarian, and I will probably not put every ingredient in there (I don’t plan to buy leeks just to go in the soup).

Buffalo chicken legs – this might be one of my favorite things. Hubs and I often just throw some frozen chicken breast in a crock pot with a bunch of Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce and a little water, and let it cook all day. But chicken breast can get pricey, so sometimes I buy a package of drumsticks. I put those in a glass baking pan, drizzle wing sauce over all of them, and bake them until they are done. It’s so easy. And delicious. And Frank’s sauce might not be THE cleanest condiment out there, but it has a small ingredients list and no added sugar.

Roasted vegetables – Ready for this? Dump out a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower into a pan, drizzle with a bit of oil, bake/roast in the oven until they start to turn brown. Toss around the pan a few times during cooking to make sure they are done evenly.

Quinoa salad – I grabbed a big bag of quinoa the other day, and I just wondered if there was a good quinoa salad recipe out there. There is. I picked this one with Hubs in mind because he has a taste for spicy things. He’s also not the biggest fan of quinoa (or couscous for that matter), so if I can kick it up a notch to make him enjoy it more, than I’ll do that.

I think that covers most of the meals that might not be self-explanatory. If you want more info on any other foods, just leave me a comment. I also try to post my meal plans and recipes on their respective pages on here – check them out if you need ideas!

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