Fail to plan or plan to fail.
For some, weekly meal plans bring a sense of organization and calm to the hectic week. Knowing what’s for dinner leaves less room for scramble, period. For others, however, the idea of planning a weeks’ worth of dinners can incite stress and leave them overwhelmed. I mean let’s face it, some of us can’t even think past the hour!
Which category do you thrive in? Do you work best with a plan or by winging it, hoping for the best? There isn’t a right or wrong answer, and I am not here to convert you either way, but I will say this: planning – especially in the kitchen – can be the KEY to your success. This has always worked well for me and the many people I have coached over the years, both privately and in a group setting. In fact, meal planning has been a true game-changer for many, in more ways than one.
It stands to reason that even if you have a loose and flexible sketch of several nightly meals so you can shop and prep in advance, you are more likely to eat in a way that is aligned with your goals. Is it fair to assume that we all want to be healthier and to feel our best? I think so! I am sure it’s no surprise that our diet is the single most important factor affecting our health, how we look and how we feel!
With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to give you an idea of how your week could look. Of course you can adapt this plan to suit your family’s needs and preferences, and feel free to mix things around; it’s just an example to get you started so you can feel more organized and in control. Make your names sound fun… kids buy into that!
- Meatless Monday – no explanation needed here.
- Taco Tuesday – this could be veggie, meat or chicken tacos, taco salad bowls, or even just a Mexican theme, which may include burrito’s, enchiladas guacamole etc.
- Wacky Wednesday – Making mealtime fun can encourage picky eaters to embrace and try different foods. On this day you could do anything from breakfast for dinner – eggs (omelets, frittatas, over easy, scrambled, poached, soft boiled) together with a variety of raw and cooked veggies, salads etc. for an easy and nutritious meal—or just experiment with a new recipe. In our house, this is the night my girls take part in dinner, from menu selection to meal prep. They tell me in the morning what they want, and then they are responsible for helping with certain aspects of that meal. Veggie chopping and peeling, salad and dressing making, mixing, stirring, collecting ingredients, seasoning of food and of course CLEANING UP!
- Throw back Thursday – I love this idea as food is so connected to memories and feelings. Bring back old favorites, foods that evoke childhood, family, holiday memories and nostalgia. Always try to give a healthier spin when you can
- Feel Good Friday – Going into the weekend brings feelings of happiness, fun and excitement. Let that energy shine through with your Friday night menu! I like the idea of Rainbow Friday, which gives you the scope to include lots of seasonal and colorful produce. Our Friday night meal often includes a meat dish with a ton of sides, veggies and salads covering all colors of the rainbow!
*Optional one-night swap: Love Your Leftovers: The Above suggestions for Monday to Friday, are just that – suggestions. Double batching saves time.. and stress and will give you a leftover, cook free night! It’s a great way to accommodate busier days. All you might need to do is chop up some fresh veggies!
The weekends should be kept open. A restaurant meal, a meal with friends, leftovers, something unplanned, take out…go with the flow but do keep in mind, it’s NOT a green light to reverse all your hard work from the week by eating anything and everything in site. Making sure that your kitchen is stocked with fresh fruits, veggies and clean healthy snacks is one of those ‘rules’ that shouldn’t be broken too often. It should be a given! That way, when you do want to grab something, or start on that weekend prep for the week ahead, you’ve got exactly what you need to stay on track!
For more easy weeknight family recipes, meal planning, prep tips and how to stock your staple kitchen, grab my FREE recipe eBook here: http://thrivewithkirstipesso.com/thrive/easy-nutritious-weeknight-recipes-ebook/