After a quick survey on Instagram Stories, you all voted that you were interested in reading more about my weekly meal plans.
So, instead of only listing out what I eat on a day-to-day basis. I wanted to cover healthy meal planning for the busy mom.
Because trust me, I get it. Time is precious and we can’t waste it on thinking about what we want to eat day after day. Besides, that gets boring.
In this post, you will find out how I create our weekly meal plans, some examples of what we eat, and some tips and tricks on how to make meal planning easier for you!
No, I don’t do this all the time but I used to be a lot more organized and I plan to bring these methods back!
HOW I CREATE MY MEAL PLANS:
There are many ways to plan meals ahead of time. Whether it be the post-it method, a calendar on your fridge, or a binder full of organized meal planning printables, there is always a way to stay organized.
One of my favorite ways to plan ahead is using the “mix and match” approach when it comes to dinners. Basically, you have your categories (proteins, fruits/vegetables, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) laid out and you select one from each category.
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Then, you can select how you are going to cook them. Some options include slow cooker, salads, rice bowls, etc.
In the past my husband and I would be like, “ok… what do we have protein-wise in the fridge? Ok… what do we have carb-wise” etc… and then determine what kind of meal we wanted out of these items.
Instead of trying to figure it all out, I created a free printable mix and match dinner menu chart that you can keep on your fridge to help you create healthy and easy dinners for the week.
Keep in mind, the chart only states categories. Not the healthy options of the category. For example, I wrote out bread not sprouted wheat bread or whole-grain bread.
Just remember, when creating a meal, always try to aim for the healthier options of what you select!
Any questions on what is considered healthy? Contact me! I would love to help you out!
EXAMPLES OF MY MEAL PLANS:
Breakfast is definitely something I don’t like to skip! I typically do some sort of protein like eggs, Greek yogurt, or Kodiak Power Cakes (which have 14g of protein per 3 pancakes). I also try to mix vegetables with eggs and fruit with Greek yogurt.
On a typical workday, you’ll see me eating greek yogurt topped with fruit in the morning or oatmeal with a dollop of nut butter on it. On the days that I’m off I plan for Kodiak Power Cakes with the family, or my favorite ever… avocado toast.
*Tip: Overnight oats are an easy and healthy way to prep cook your breakfast. Pinterest has a ton of amazing overnight oat recipes that you can store in your fridge for a few days!
For breakfast, think protein, healthy carbs and maybe add some healthy fats. Gotta get that energy to last all day!
OH! And coffee…
I drink coffee every morning. Typically with a splash of unsweetened vanilla cashew milk and sometimes if I really want to spoil myself, I’ll add a little bit of cinnamon to my grounds prior to making my coffee.
*Tip: If you are drinking nut milk please read the ingredients. Carrageenan is an inflammatory and has been linked to GI cancers, ulcers, and other tummy problems. You definitely don’t want to be drinking that stuff.
Some of my mid-morning snacks include bananas, the Perfect Bar (I am so addicted…), Made in Nature Figgy Pops, granola, unsalted nut mix, and rice cakes with nut butter.
So many people have a love/hate relationship with rice cakes but I really enjoy them with a good nut butter, hummus and slices of cucumber, and sometimes I even make a lunch out of it with tuna placed right on top. Or even top guacamole on it.
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Some of my mid-afternoon snacks include hummus and cucumber, pirates booty (although I eat way too much of it), and veggie straws. I also used to eat a lot of cottage cheese with slices of tomato in it.
I need to add that to my grocery list this week.
If I am going to snack on something, it might as well be healthy, am I right?
My lunch is pretty easy.
I like to include the basics – protein, complex carb, veggies, and healthy fat.
Some examples include a salad (veggie) topped with chicken (protein), sweet potato (complex carb) and avocado (healthy fat).
Another example is a turkey burger on Ezekiel toast with onion, tomato, and lettuce and topped with a little bit of cheddar cheese.
I’ve also done a chicken or turkey wrap with veggies and avocado or cheese.
Like I said, I like to keep my lunches simple, especially because I have to pack them and bring them to work.
My dinner includes protein and vegetables.
I try to limit my carbohydrates at dinner time. Sometimes I don’t have any at all, sometimes I just have a little portion and some days I want my carbs.
One of my favorite dinners is zoodle pasta (zucchini noodles) topped with grilled chicken, a drizzle of EVOO, some lemon and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.
Sounds good huh?
Another favorite dinner of mine is tacos. An easy way to make this healthier is to make the meat a lean protein like ground turkey or ground chicken, do black beans instead of refried, add a ton of veggies and just a small sprinkle of cheese.
Can’t give up the sour cream? Try plain Greek yogurt! It works wonders.
Are you a pizza lover? We would make homemade pizza on a thin crust with tomato sauce, cheese, chicken and a ton of veggies. I mean just pile them on!
Pan-seared salmon with a side of spinach is another great option that I love to eat.
I’m going to be honest with you here. One of my favorite desserts is a jar of all-natural nut butter and a spoon.
Judge me. I dare you.
If I do bake, I opt for healthier desserts like my ridiculously yummy cookies. Otherwise, I try to keep my dessert simple.
Whether it be a bite of dark chocolate or if I’m really craving ice cream I will stick a small bowl of Greek yogurt in the freezer for a few minutes. Then I add some mini chocolate chips and berries on top!
So quick and so easy. Like I said before, who has time?!
KEY FACTORS IN EASY MEAL PLANNING
- Try not to overthink it. I recommend creating meal plans and prep cooking 2 days a week where you can bulk cook. Ask your little ones to help you! My daughter loves to help me out in the kitchen nowadays.
- After you get back from the grocery store, wash your fruits and veggies, then chop them and put them in Tupperware
- Use a crockpot or instapot. Throw your food in there and let it cook on its own.
- Prep cook and freeze a bunch of meals. Takes a lot less effort and clean up to just throw it in the oven.
- Choose simple recipes that have simple ingredients that you can use for more than one meal. Example: chicken and peppers; you can make a salad for lunch with both of those ingredients as well as fajitas for dinner!
At first prep cooking and meal planning can be quite overwhelming. However, once you get the hang of it, it’ll be much easier and you won’t be spending so much time in the kitchen or the grocery store trying to figure out what to eat.
Happy Meal Planning!