Meal Planning

It has come to my attention that some of you are eating things like turkey bacon with pickles for dinner.  You are then regretting this later.

Perhaps a bit of meal planning could prevent this kind of a situation.

If you are like I was, you may think meal planning is sitting down once a week or month and writing down everything you are going to eat for the next week/month.  This would include main dishes, sides, desserts, and maybe even drinks.  Don’t get me wrong, if you do this, great!  I however, find this stressful and overwhelming.  Any time I would try to sit down and plan a week’s worth of meals I would last for a few weeks at best and then give up.  I would then return to staring at the cabinets and refrigerator at 5 o’clock, trying to figure out what I was going to make.  All too often this would lead to either choosing something I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with, or going out to eat/takeout.   Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Then, I was introduced to a different kind of meal planning.  One I can stick with that doesn’t stress me out.  One that takes minimal time and is flexible.  It’s pure genius really.

Here is the deal, instead of planning out the specific meals each week, you simply come up with a list of generic meal types such as Mediterranean, Mexican, Asian.  Make yourself a little chart with breakfast, lunch and dinner columns along the top, and Monday through Sunday rows going across.  Then fill in the columns with your generic meals.  You can make one week, or as many weeks as you want and rotate them.  I made 3 weeks worth of plans.  To really get yourself going, make a list of 10-20 ideas for each category.  Now, instead of wondering what is for dinner every night, you can look at your chart beforehand and say, “Oh, I am having soup and salad on Thursday.  I see that I have some left over chicken and some apricots, maybe I’ll make tortilla soup and a fruit salad.”  Or, “Hmm, Monday is breakfast for dinner night.  I’m going to make an omelet.  I’d better pick up some eggs at the market.”

What do you think?  Do any of you have any meal planning tricks to share?

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