I want to start by playing a game of, have you ever?
Have you ever got back late from work tired and not had a clue what to cook for dinner?
Or have you ever looked in a full fridge and still not known what to eat?
Have you ever forgotten and not prepared any food for work?
I certainly have, and I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened. Generally, this results in a reactive decision to go with the easy option, Takeaway, Convenience food, comfort food. We all know a lifestyle based on these food choices can lead to poor physical, and psychological health.
Taking a conscious look at food and healthy eating habits will deliver an endless supply of benefits for you, and those around you.
Sounds simple right? That’s because with a little work it is. I know when modern life takes its grip on me, the simple things are often overlooked and replaced by grand gestures.
Meal and menu planning are great ways to map out your meals for the week. Let’s say on average we eat 3 meals a day, over a week that’s 21 meals. That can sound overwhelming to sit and come up with that many meal ideas. So let me break the process down and share some ideas that have helped me.
Time to create your list.
1, Agree on a day and time each week where you can sit without interruption and complete your menu and shopping list.
2, Be clear on your intentions for the week ahead i.e are you aiming to lose weight, gain weight or try new foods to improve your health.
3, Breakfast and lunch are generally very similar day to day.Straight away you’ve completed 14 of your 21 meals.Creating these meals first makes the rest of the process easier to manage.
4, Plan your evening meals around activities and occasions to make sure you have the correct time for the correct meal choice.
5, Add in any snacks that fit in with your style of eating.
6, Write all of your chosen meals on a whiteboard or something similar. Having the menu in plain sight for the week helps keep the mind focused.
(We painted a square on our kitchen wall with chalkboard paint. Every week we using bright coloured chalk to write our menu. The kids find doing this helpful and fun).
7, Add all ingredients, making sure you have everything you need when preparing your meals.
Suggested ingredients to add to your menu:
Beans and legumes
Nuts and seeds
Spices and herbs
Having a rigid meal plan is a great way to stay on track with your goals for the week. Having some flexibility will also ensure this way of eating is helpful for all. Busy lifestyles and unexpected happenings are bound to crop up. With your newly stocked and managed cupboards, a change to the menu is simple. This is also a better choice than you reaching for the takeout menu!