Hi darlings! I know, it’s been an age. Life is real different when you’re home all day long homeschooling a 4 year old and only work nights! I am dedicating the majority of my time in the evening working with my fitness clients and my new business partners SO I have NOT been focused on content creation.
That being said, I really wanted to share my meal planning strategy and some of my favorite cook books and tools because they make my life SO EASY and help me stay on track with my food! I am plant based pretty much 95% of the time so the cookbooks I will feature are Vegan with the exception of one which is mixed!
So let’s get right into my process for effective meal planning that will save you TONS of time and make sure you have great food all week long and don’t miss a beat!
STEP 1 : Decide when you’re going to sit and PLAN.
This step is REALLY important. You have to pick a day to do this. It may take you an hour, but it will save you so much time and so many poor choices. For me, I sit down and do this on Sundays. Maybe it’s in the morning with my cup of coffee while my son watches a cartoon show, I’ll pull out all my materials and sit down at my dining room table and get to work!
Step 2: Collect your materials -good materials make it SO EASY.
Here are some of my FAVORITE tools for making this an easy experience:
- My magnetic Meal/Grocery Pad! This stuff is amazing! It even has a removable grocery list so you can tear it out and take it with you to grocery shop and leave your meals on your fridge. On the left side of this pad where the days are listed (Monday-Sunday) I write the name of the recipe and in parentheses the name of the book I found it in and the page number. On the right side where it says “Groceries” I then list the ingredients that correspond to each meal. As I go along during the week if ingredients repeat, I will place a number next to it like so –> (3), to let me know how much of it I need that week.
- COOKBOOKS! I love using books and I have a bookstand to help me prop up the book to the correct recipe page so I can complete the meal without interruption. Here are my top three: 1.) Oh She Glows by Angela Lidden – everything in this book is literally magical. Many of the recipes are time consuming and take LOTS of ingredients, but you will never be disappointed by how they taste. Because of this book I fell in love with vegan cooking and use her recipes often for events and all kinds of occasions. 2) Forks Over Knives – The cookbook by Del Sroufe – this book is JAM PACKED with recipes. There aren’t many images but it doesn’t matter. The recipes are, for the most part, really quick to whip together, creative and tasty! I may have repeated a recipe twice and I’ve been using this cookbook for about 6 months straight. 3.) Fixate – by Autumn Calabrese – this book was created by one of my favorite personal trainers whose programs changed my life and I still help many of my clients with. This book is a combination of meat and meatless recipes and also identifies gluten free options.
- My cookbook holder! This is such a simple tool but makes your life so easy so you don’t dirty your book or waste time flipping pages.
Step 3 : Flip through your books and pick your recipes!
I like to keep my recipes varied, so I will do one casserole, one soup, one salad with protein, maybe a pasta dish, maybe a burger dish – I try to keep it as varied as possible so we don’t get bored of eating the same kinds of food.
I list the name of the meal under the appropriate day: Monday – Baked Ziti + cesar side salad. If I’m following a specific recipe I then list the name of the book and the page number where it’s found.
I do this until I fill the entire week.
Step 4: Tear out your grocery list and decide when you’ll shop
By the end of that you should have a sizable grocery list as well as some staples – bread, milk, nut butters , fruits. Those are the things we use mostly for breakfast and snacks. I only ever keep one type of snackbar in my house at a time until, it’s all gone and then I shop for more. Here’s one of my favorite vegan ones.
My grocery shopping day is next day Monday. So the rest of Sunday, I’ll clean out my friend and make sure all the old food is taken out, dumped and tupperware cleaned so that when I shop Monday, only relevant food is going in the fridge.
On portions and how you will MAXIMIZE your ONE meal that you plan each day
I’m about to blow your mind and save you a lot of time. You’ve written down one meal per day, but what about LUNCH? Here’s where magic happens.
The meal you make on Monday in the evening you will make double portions of (two per household member) so that you can package what’s left and serve it as LUNCH the next day. The following day you will have dinner for lunch and that evening you will make a whole new meal!
Why is this genius?
Because now you only have to consider TWO things:
- What am I having for breakfast?
- What am I making for dinner?
If you keep your breakfast the SAME relatively day to day – an awesome shake (here’s my favorite), toast and fruit, granola, etc you have a MUCH simpler meal plan.
And VOILA! Here is how I meal plan every single week and stay on track!
I am considering offering a free vegan meal plan for anyone interested in some ideas that are plant based and that they can implement right away. Is this something you’d be interested in? Let me know!
Did this help you? Drop me a comment below and share with a friend! Happy Meal Planning!
PS. My NEXT virtual Barre group begins MARCH 16th! If you’d like to learn about Barre Blend and apply to join our upcoming group visit my blog post and check out a trailer of the program!