Meal Planning 101

When Stephen and I were first married I never meal planned, and I never made grocery lists.  I would walk up and down the aisles of Stop and Shop, pick out what looked good, not look at the price and have no concept about how it would fit into a weekly meal plan.  That didn’t matter though, because at least four nights a week we were ordering in or going out to dinner.  I would end up throwing away most of our groceries and then complain that “eating healthy was so expensive”.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years, I now have meal planning and grocery shopping down to a science.  I may not be able to iron a shirt without burning it, but food in this house is a well oiled machine.

I grocery shop twice a week.  Once on Sundays for a majority of our food for the week and for dinners for Monday through Thursday, and once on Thursdays for perishables and dinner food for Friday thru Sunday.

So today I am planning for my grocery store trip for tomorrow (Sunday), and I wanted to share a little bit about my process.  Keep in mind we are still in Whole 30 mode around here!

I first write out all the days I am planning dinners for and an area for the list at the bottom of the page broken out into different columns for meat, produce, and other.

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I then look at my calendar and see what is going on for the week .  If there is a night Stephen is going to be out of the house then it is not the night for a time intensive dinner.  Monday nights I teach yoga, so I normally do a slow cooker meal.  You get the idea.  After a quick look on Pinterest and mentally flipping through my go to regular meals, I usually jot down the dinners I want to make for the week.

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I then start to fill in the columns with the ingredients needed.

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After this list is done I look through the pantry for other items we need to restock.  Things like brown rice, cereal, olive oil, coconut oil, coffee, larabars, etc. and add them to the list.

When it comes to breakfast, lunches, and snacks, we tend to eat the same things most weeks.  Eggs and greens for breakfast for me, eggs with brown rice for Stephen.  For lunch, I tend to eat left overs, a big salad, or make a quick batch of chicken salad with homemade mayo , while Stephen shops separately and keeps things like frozen vegetables and pre-cooked chicken at his office.  My snacks are almost always Shakeology with homemade almond milk (almonds are on the list EVERY WEEK!) and cashews, fruit, or Whole 30 compliant larabars.

These days, for dinner, we barely order from anywhere or eat out unless it is a special treat.  The more we learn about food, the more we want to cook our own at home.  Plus, due to Stephen’s celiac disease, we are an almost completely gluten free house now, which makes eating out and ordering from anywhere incredibly hard.  By only buying what we need and planning down to the last detail, we have very little waste.  It has saved us a ton of money and makes me feel much better about what we are putting into our bodies!

So there you have it, my well oiled, tested, tried and true meal planning method !

How do you plan meals for the week?  

Do you wing it or are you a big planner like me?

Meals and Fitness for the Week

Eat Clean 2014 is well underway.  And I have to say, we are hitting the ball out of the park.  We had friends over for dinner last night and instead of the cheesy , creamy, calorie dense food I would normally make for a dinner party I went simple and light and it was a big hit.  I made a turkey- kale chili  that I could seriously eat every day for the rest of my life and die a happy woman.  I paired it with some home made corn bread (which I also used to make corn dogs for the kids. HUGE HIT!).  I woke up not regretting a single item I put into my mouth and not feeling hungover, thanks to the fact that I stuck to seltzer and lime the whole night.  I am going to call this a major win.

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In fact, I woke up with so much energy that I meal planned and fitness planned right away and went straight to the grocery store after Ella woke up from her morning nap.

Monday: Run 3 miles, Lemon and Herb chicken with sugar snap peas

Tuesday: Live Love Teach yoga pod cast, Italian chicken with pasta and marinara and sweet peas

Wednesday: rest, Beef strew in the crock pot with carrots and potatoes

Thursday: Love Love Teach yoga pod cast, Roasted broccoli with parmesan cheese and walnuts over brown rice

Friday: Run 5 miles, usually Fridays are take out or out to eat night.

Of course, things happen that are unexpected throughout the week and I know that I may not be able to stick to this plan.  I go into this knowing that I need to be flexible, but having a guideline for how the week should go food and fitness wise is incredibly helpful.

Now that the grocery shopping is done, and plans are all laid out I can concentrate on more important Sunday things.  Like large mugs of coffee, a 6 mile run, and watching my favorite little thing play.  While in a fancy Sunday tu tu of course.  Happy Sunday, friends.

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