Without a meal plan, you might be okay for a few days. But, once that stash of frozen meals and peanut butter is gone, where will you be at the end of a not-quite-Friday-Thursday-night? The five dollar Chinese buffet calls to me on those nights.
If you are planning to eat a primarily whole foods diet, a healthy meal plan is the only way to survive. If I know in advance what I am going to make, I can prepare it in advance. Breakfast muffins and oatmeal can be prepared with dinner and set aside or in a crock pot, dinner can be prepared at breakfast or lunch, and you are much less likely to have the 4-O’Clock Panic where you realize you didn’t soak the beans.
Some basics to remember:
-Meal planning should be done early. Really. If you put it off until you are leaving to grocery shop, it won’t happen. Pick up a pencil or break out a spreadsheet and just do it.
-Meal planning should be kept simple. Don’t try to fit in 8 days of brand new, gourmet recipes in a 2-week period. Start with familiar meals, then build from there.
-Meal planning should be structured. Theme nights rock. If you always have Mexican Monday, Tofu Tuesday, etc., you have a good launching pad each time you sit down to meal plan. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank paper, over-thinking dinner.
-Meal planning should be done on paper. It sounds like a given, but much like my husband and I twisting each other’s arms for fast food, it is very easy to justify a non-tangible meal plan. “Oh, we’ll do tacos twice, lasagna once, chili somewhere in there and some leftovers.” You know what that translates into: Dominoes delivery. You can make your own layout in a spreadsheet, scribble it onto a notebook, or use a pre-made layout or planner like the GO MOM! DIY Planner.
-Meal planning is not for the empty-stomached. It’s kind of like grocery shopping, in that regard. Be sure you are munching on something yummy, especially for pregnancy meal planning. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with deviled eggs on 6 occasions and chocolate bars for breakfast….not that there is anything wrong with that.
And with that…it is time to write mine out with a growling stomach, the night before we grocery shop. Hey, nobody’s perfect.