To celebrate the next 6 week Health and Weight loss programme beginning on 31st May, I’ve decided to share my meal planning tools with you. Whatever your health goals are, I hope these tools make your life easier. xx
The idea of meal planning might not at first seem very inspiring. It could probably be compared to flossing teeth. It is one of those things that we know we should do. We understand it will save time and money but it can feel like an overwhelming effort to get started. The key to success is to change how you think about it. Think of meal planning as a fun experiment. See it as a way to become more inspired in the kitchen. If you are feeding others, engage them in this process!
We are a nation of paradoxes. According to a 2015 Ocado survey, we like to think of ourselves as foodies. The average Brit owns six cookery books yet we are confined to a repertoire of just nine meals. We are bombarded with new recipes through social media, TV shows, and books. While these might fuel our ‘food fantasies’ we don’t seem to get round to trying them out.
I have a vested interest in meal planning. As a Nutritional Therapist and Eating Psychology Coach I want you to succeed with your health goals. I know that being organized is absolutely key to making that happen. I have developed these tools over the last few years to help me juggle work and feed my family. I have seen how these tools can simplify life and reduce stress and I am delighted to share them with you.
Stage One: The Definitive List
By this I mean create a ‘master list’ of all the meals that comply with your health goals and get the thumbs up in your household. Involve your partner and children in the process. Investing twenty minutes to create this list means you can pick meals for your meal plan and saves wracking your brain every week.
I have grouped meals into categories so you can easily spot any gaps. Maybe you will find that your meals are meat-heavy and it is time to try some new vegetarian or fish dishes.
Stage Two: The Experimental List
This list is a place to capture those recipes that catch our eye as we scroll through our social media or flick through magazines. The ones we think we must try out and then instantly forget. Commit to trying at least one new recipe every week. If it is a hit, add it to The Definitive List.
Stage Three: The Meal Plan
My advice is to start with dinners. Lunches can be formed from left-overs. Once you have this system up and running for a few weeks, you might want to plan some breakfasts.
Begin by thinking about any principles you follow. For example, we have vegetarian Thursdays and fishy Fridays. Most Sundays I cook a large slow-cooked casserole which always tides us over to Mondays. Then use your Definitive List to populate your meal plan.
Remember, this is a fun experiment! You are probably not going to get it right every week. However, keep going! This will get you out of ‘stuck’ routines, make life easier and your cooking more inspired. You will learn how to tailor this to work for you and any other mouths you have to feed.
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Click here to learn more about my 6 week Health and Weight Loss programme!