Personal Experience With Meal Planning for a Week
I wanted to write about my experience with meal planning over a one week period. I’m now married and have a 13-year-old son that requires a more effective diet. Before as a single parent, I was struggling to make healthy nutritious meals, low enough in sodium, gluten free that my son and I could enjoy.
I’ve even tried the meal delivery kits or mail order kits to try to present more options but I found that they were solving my problem more 4 meals of the week, but I was on my own for the other 17 meals such as breakfast, lunch, and the other 3 dinner meals for the week.
So we ate out the other 3 dinner meals, which drove up cost and increased my health issues. I had to take control to make my diet more sustainable and affordable.
So the first thing I do is access my meal planning organizational tools such as an online planner, excel spreadsheet, or a paper planner. I prefer the online tool since they tend to be quicker in managing the meal plan week by week.
Identify if there are any special occasions such as concerts or children events the family will need to attend during the week.
Identify the protein for the week since it tends to be the most costly and time-consuming to prepare. Note each day of the week, beef, chicken, roast, pork, beans, etc. Some online planners may give you options to select the diet, cuisine of the food such as the Mediterranean, Keto, etc making food variety that much easier. Portion sizes for my family when using animal-based proteins will not exceed 3 to 4 oz uncooked weight per person for dinner and about 2 oz tops for any other meal. Mix it up by baking some protein while sautéing others.
Make a list of all the starches you prefer to eat during the week and start pairing them with the protein selected in step 2. Options can be quinoa, rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, and other grains. Remember that some of these items in this category metabolize into sugar, so it’s important to measure your portions to the plate.
Make a list of all the vegetables you prefer. If using an online system, explore new options on how to prepare some of the same ones you and the family enjoy. For my family (Family of three), I usually plan about 1 pound of veggies for dinner and varies for the other meals. After meal planning for a few weeks, I have actually found myself excited to prepare vegetables different ways for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Generate your shopping list by using an online system, or grocery app. For this step, it’s best if you are home so you can see what items you may already have in the pantry or refrigerator.
My primary reasons for taking charge with Meal planning were that we were getting bored with the same recipes, eating out too much, and dietary concerns. Overall I like the dishes I was previously making, I was just craving more options. My palate was craving more than what I was capable of producing.
I’ve found meal planning has really made this a non-issue and my overall health has improved. If you’re struggling to come up with a food plan that works for you, here’s a little helping hand to point you in the right direction. Click here to register for a free 30 day trial of our awesome meal planning app!