Tips for Meal Planning

February 19, 2013 / Nutrition / Source: Nutrition

Meal Planning (Meal Planning)I mentioned in a previous blog how it is good to keep your pantry well stocked with healthy options to help prevent you from eating unhealthy foods.  However, another key to eating healthy is to have a meal plan for the week.  Having a plan allows you to make sure you pick up the appropriate items at the store and keeps you from rummaging through your pantry to find something to eat.  Additionally, it helps to save you time and money. 

So, how do you start putting together a weekly meal plan?  Well, if you are like me you might struggle with coming up with new and fresh ideas that are healthy, easy, and that your entire family will enjoy.  So, I thought I would share some ideas that I came up with to help me plan my menu for the week.

First, I started by asking my family what some of their favorite meals were and then I asked them to tell me one meal they would like to have that week…and they each were able to tell me something and it went on my menu plan for the week.  Next, I started thinking about different types of foods (e.g., Italian, Mexican, Indian, Crock-pot meals, Salads) and it helped me to think about possible options.  Lastly, I explored the option of themed meals since I kept hearing so many people mention this idea.  This idea requires a little flexibility, but I think it is a great place to start because it really helps you to narrow down your choices.  It can also be a fun option for families with small children.   Here is one weekly theme idea that I came up with using the beginning letters of each day of the week (with some suggestions):

Meatless Monday – Vegetable Stir-Fry with Quinoa, Black Bean Burgers

Taco Tuesday – Chicken Soft Tacos, Fish Tacos, Taco Salad (made with ground turkey), Burritos

Western Wednesday – Grilled Chicken (with a clean BBQ sauce), Chili (many different varieties)

Throw-away Thursday – Leftovers (Everybody needs a night to finish off some of their leftovers!)

Favorite Friday – Pizza (Also try healthier, lower carb recipes using cauliflower crust or Paleo crust recipes)

Seafood Saturday – Lemon Pepper Fish, Spiced Cod or Tilapia, Salmon

Salad Sunday – Microgreen Salad, Greek Salad, Spinach Salad (add seeds, nuts, or lean meats)