Meal Planning 101 in 6 Easy Steps

Meal Planning 101 in 6 Easy Steps

You can give a man a fish or you can teach a man to fish.  My concept has always been more of teacher and coach.  I want you to learn how to apply what you’re learning here in your own life.

So today, not only will you get yummy recipes for your meal planning, but also learn how to do it on your own.  I’m going to take you through my step by step meal planning process, providing recipes, prep tips and pdfs.

Step 1:  Meal Plan Template

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
AM Snack AM Snack AM Snack AM Snack AM Snack AM Snack AM Snack
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
PM Snack PM Snack PM Snack PM Snack PM Snack PM Snack PM Snack
Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner

 

Step 2: Calendar & Schedule Review

I pull up my Google Calendar and look at what we have going on that week.  Activities, Meetings, Appointments, Things that have to get done or the world will come crashing down!

This lets me know how late we’ll be, how rushed the morning routine will be, how much time I’ll have to get dinner on the table and how stressed we might be and just want comfort food.

Step 3:  Insert Recipes Starting with Dinner

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Dinner: Herb Roasted Chicken with Brussel Sprouts (recipe provided below) Dinner:  Spring Vegetable Frittata (recipe provided below) Dinner: Miami Spiced Shrimp with Veggies (recipe provided below) Dinner:  Chicken Salad (recipe provided below) Dinner: Garlic Herb Grilled Pork Chops with homemade applesauce & green beans (recipe provided below) Dinner:  Steak on the grill with veggies Dinner: Pasta, Pizza or Eating Out

Based on our dinner, I can plan out leftovers for lunch and breakfast (baring that my husband doesn’t take an extra helping at dinner or beat me to packing it up for lunch).  I can also rotate my proteins.

I try to rotate my proteins every 3 or 4 days.  This ensures I’m getting a balanced fat, protein and mineral consumption.  See example above.

Step 4: Identify Breakfast, Lunch & Snack Ideas

I typically don’t plan out my breakfast, lunch or snacks any more.  After planning dinner, I can plan on how to balance the remainder of the day.  But I still want to ensure that for a busy day or morning, that I have something planned ahead or my whole day can be off….And a HUNGRY mom, makes for a CRANKY mom!

This means I may make a humus, boil a dozen eggs, make a pasta salad, have all the ingredients for a smoothie or even make some oatmeal.  This also leads into step 5….

Step 5: Shopping List

Based on all the recipes and planning for the week’s meals, I can make my shopping list.  Answering these questions as I go:

  • Do I need extra veggies for snacks? Peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and summer squash or zucchini make for quick snacks and dippers for humus
  • Do I need nuts or beans?  These can be portioned out and made into a yummy on the go snack.  Roasted chickpeas are the bomb!  See recipe below!
  • Do I need fruit, granola or breakfast items?  Things that will balance out the rest of my eating
  • Any prep ahead items to make mid-week meals easier?  Remember above when I said my husband often has an extra serving or steals my leftovers for HIS lunch, what can I have in place for my lunch?  A few extra chicken breasts or beans made ahead and added to some salad fixings makes a great quick, balanced lunch
  • Do I need to replace any staples or snacks for the kiddos?

Step 6: Prep Ahead

I almost always spend 20-30 minutes prepping ahead for the week.  It may be throwing a few chicken breasts into the oven, cutting up fruit and veggies so they’re within easy reach, pre-bagging snack options that I can easily go overboard on or making a humus, bean salad or other snack, mini-meal option for when everything else falls apart!  20-30 minutes can score me BIG time back later in the week, as well as on the waistline & stress level!

And that’s it!  That’s my meal prep in 6 easy steps.  15 minutes to get all this done, makes eating healthy ALL week long for me AND my family well worth the time spent.  By the way….you’ll often see me doing this waiting in car line or at gymnastics while my girls practice.

Recipes:

Herb Roasted Chicken with Brussel Sprouts

Herbed Chicken

Herbed Chicken

4-5 pound chicken

1 stick butter, softened

3 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon chervil

1 tablespoon basil

2 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon taragon

1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper

2 pounds brussel sprouts

olive oil

salt

pepper

Preheat oven to 450degrees.  Place a dutch oven in the oven for 20 minutes to heat through.

Combine all spices with softened butter.  Losen the skin of the chicken and place half the butter/herb mixture under the skin & half on top.

Place chicken in the dutch oven and roast for 1 hour.

In a roasting pan, combine brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.  Place on a seperate rack as the chicken but roast at the same time.  Roast for 30 minutes.

 

Spring Veggie Fritatta

Spring Veggie Frittata

Spring Veggie Frittata

serves 8

12 eggs, beaten

4 slices prosciuto (can substitute bacon (cooked) – 6 – 8 slices), diced

1 pound asparagus, chopped in large slices & steamed for 1 minute

1 leek, washed well and sliced

3 tablespoon chives

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon dried cilantro

1 teaspoon sea salt

pepper to taste

2 tablespoon butter

2 ounces goat cheese (or substitute a cheese of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine eggs, prosciuto, asparagus, chives, tarragon, cilantro, goat cheese & 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste

In a large oven safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter. Add leek and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook 8 minutes. Add to egg mixture.

In same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add egg mixture and cook, 2 minutes. Place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Serve!

 

Miami Spice Shrimp with Veggie Salad

Miami Spice Shrimp & Veggies

Miami Spice Shrimp & Veggies

*can be done on the grill

¼ cup orange juice

2 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoon lime juice

2 Tablespoon water

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper

2lbs medium shrimp, unpeeled

1lb asparagus

3 medium yellow squash

6 small plum tomatoes, halved, lengthwise

6 cups fresh spinach

Dressing: Combine first 8 ingredients.  Shake to blend

Peel and devein shrimp.  Toss with 1 tablespoon dressing.  Cover and refridgerate 30 minutes.

Trim asparagus.  Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Brush both with 1 tablespoon dressing.  Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to plate and coat with 1 tablespoon dressing.  Cook asparagus, squash and tomatos 5-7 minutes.  Toss spinach with 3 tablespoon dressing.  Top with shrimp and veggies.  Drizzle with remaining dressing.

 

Chicken Salad with Apples, Walnuts over Lettuce

Chicken Salad with a Twist

Chicken Salad with a Twist

3 cooked chicken breasts, diced

1 apple, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

1/2 cup walnuts, crushed

1 bunch green onions, chopped

creamy yogurt italian dressing

1 head lettuce, torn

Combine first 5 ingredients with a yogurt based creamy italian dressing.

Add over a bed of lettuce.

 

Garlic Herb Pork Chops with Applesauce & Green Beans

Garlic Herb Pork Chops with applesauce & green beans

Garlic Herb Pork Chops with applesauce & green beans

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 ½ teaspoon thyme

1 ½ teaspoon sage

1 tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoon+2 cup sparkling apple cider

6 bone-in pork chops

3 lbs apples, cored + cut into 1 inch cubes

4 cups (1 pound) green beans

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

In a small bowl, stir together garlic, thyme, sage, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, mustard + 2 tablespoon cider.  Add pork chops and refridgerate 2 hours.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, simmer 2 cups cider until reduced about 15minutes.  Add apples and ¼ teaspoon salt, cover and cook, until soft about 18-20 minutes.

Place pork chops on grill or under broiler.  Cook 8-10 minutes both sides.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in skillet.  Add garlic, 1 minute.  Add green beans, cook approx. 5 minute

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