Why meal plan anyway?
You just get home exhausted from a 10-hour shift and set your bags aside. Next three little beaming faces screaming “Mommy’s home!” and pass them to clean off during these post COVID-19 times. After a shower and changing into house clothes you bend down to receive a splash of kisses. “Mommy! Mommy! Can we have a snack?". You just want to sit on the couch and pop in a frozen pizza. Everyone will be happy, and you get to relax. With door dash and grub hub a just a swipe away why meal plan anyway? Here a few reasons ...
You will have healthy grab and go meals and snacks that your family enjoys on hand.
Eating at home is cheaper than ordering in several times a week especially for a family of four. I cannot think of a time when it has been more of a universal priority to live within one's budget than the one we live in now.
You will eat anti-inflammatory foods on a regular basis in place of foods high in components that wreak havoc in our bodies like salt, added sugar and alcohol contributing to fatigue, increased pain and chronic disease.
Think of your personalized meal plan as your GPS to a life of vitality. Without it, you will get lost, stuck in traffic, or take the long way. This post is an introductory how-to guide to planning healthy meals that your family will eat. You’re thinking … “yeah right”. But, with a little bit of family communication you’ll get there.
Identify your eating pattern.
Ask yourself, when are you usually hungry? Are you doing time based intermittent fasting like the 16:8 fast? Do you tend to eat three meals a day with little need for snacks? Do you need those snacks between meals to stave off ravenous hunger? In the image below the planner eats within a 8 hour winder between 11 am and 7 pm during the work week, and chooses to eat three meals plus 1-2 snacks on weekends.
2. Name the protein foods you and your family enjoy.
Select ones you have on hand or can comfortably fit into your budget (see table below) then plan your sides around them. Protein is key to helping you stave off hunger and protein whole foods oft come along with other key nutrients your body needs.
The foods in blue in the image above are the protein sources that were planned out first before the sides were selected.
Name fruit and vegetables, you (and your family) enjoy.
These will make excellent snacks and provide an anti-inflammatory boost to your daily diet if they replace cookies, chips or candy.
Now instead of popping in that frozen pizza, imagine popping in delicious Jerk Chicken that you seasoned and refrigeration thawed Sunday afternoon into the oven or instant Pot and all that is left is to steam broccoli and carrots (3 minutes) and prepare brown rice on stovetop or rice cooker. Find Jerk Chicken recipe here and seasoning recipe here.
If you want to make healthier eating within budget a top priority for you and your family start meal planning today. Think of your personalized meal plan as your GPS to a life of vitality. Without it, you will get lost, stuck in traffic, or take the long way. Use this
to organize when you eat and identify culturally appropriate protein foods, fruit and vegetables to include in your weekly meal plan.