3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart
Stress-Free Eating: Meal Plans Designed for Non-PlannersNutrition
Embrace Stress-Free Mealtime Solutions
In practice, I find meal planning to be one of the key factors in success with clients looking to change to healthier eating patterns. It may feel time-consuming in the beginning, but it reduces decision fatigue through the week, saves money, and time overall. However, meal planning does not mean planning and preparing all of your food for a whole week! Because yes, there are meal plans for people who hate meal planning!
There are a few ways that you can plan meals throughout the week.
1. Just start with one meal
For those new to meal planning, people who usually eat out often, or those short on time, we start with one meal per day to plan. Usually, that is dinner or breakfast (lunch can always be leftovers).
2. Write it out
One thing I notice most often is that we come home from a long day of making decisions at work, and the last thing we want is to choose what is for dinner. Before your week starts, take inventory of what is still in your fridge and get creative with what you can make. Soups, stir-fry and shredded veggie salads are quick and easy ways to use up leftover veggies.
Get your kids involved and have them pick one or two dinners for the week (within reason).
3. Choose menu items that can be used again
Try to have a little consistency with menu items for the week. For example, cook a large batch of quinoa or brown rice to use for two to three dinners for the week, or double the amount of protein you’re preparing to use in a recipe later on.
When you cook this way, it saves you time during the week.
4. Be realistic
If you’re starting from scratch, don’t plan out an entire week’s worth of meals. Like I said in step one, choose one meal to focus on in the beginning and build from there. That may mean that you only plan for 3-4 of those meals (i.e. 3 dinners). It’s all about building up habits gradually.
5. Make one night a soup night
Soup is the ultimate meal planning hack. You really only need one pot or a crock pot, and about 30 minutes of your time (at most). It's simple to make a soup large enough that it will last the entire week!
And when all else fails, call on a meal prep company like Fresh Prep or Hello Fresh to do the work for you!
If you want to learn more about how to make meal planning part of your routine, book an appointment with our Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!