I am often asked how I do my meal planning, so I thought I would share how I do it in today’s post. Now, there are many ways to go about this, but I have come up with a method that I think works well even if you are not a vegan as I am! Without further ado, let’s get started on my four easy steps.
Plan how many meals are needed.
Basically, you need to determine how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, etc. that you need for you and anyone else you prepare meals for. Now, not everyone eats three squares a day. For instance, you may not be a breakfast eater and, therefore, have no need to count it into the number of meals. You also need to determine how many days you want to plan for. I normally work on a 5 day cycle. So, on the six day, it starts all over again. Now for you, it could be seven days. Just do what is the most workable for you. I know someone who plans out a month at a time and shops for that! As for me, I cannot go beyond five days because there is simply not enough room in my kitchen or fridge and I would lose my sanity to boot!
Decide what dishes to prepare.
Now that you know what meals you need to prepare and how many, it’s time to plan what dishes you are going to make. Also, determine what your nutritional goals are. For instance, I make sure to include berries, greens, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, onions, and garlic in my meals as much as possible. This is because these foods are extremely health boosting. Some meals can be a no-brainer. For example, I typically eat the same thing for breakfast every day. My go to breakfast is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats with blueberries, bananas, cacao nibs, almond slivers, chia seeds, and homemade almond milk (CLICK HERE to learn how to make your own). I really look forward to this every morning! Occasionally, I will substitute quinoa for the oats for a change, but that’s pretty much what my husband and I eat in the morning. For all the rest of the meals that I need to prepare, what helps me decide what dishes I want is my collection of favorite recipe books and blog sites. I have many, but I seem to gravitate toward the same ones. Here’s some my favorites:
Dr. Fuhrman – Eat to Live Cookbook – CLICK HERE
Rip Esselstyn – The Engine2 Diet – CLICK HERE
Jason Wyrick – Vegan Tacos – CLICK HERE
Leanne Campbell – The China Study All-Star Collection – CLICK HERE
Veganrunnereats.com – Great Blog site! I made the Hearty Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup for dinner last night! Yum. CLICK HERE for the recipe.What‘s great about having a go to stash of recipe books and other resources like blogs, is that you have sources that provide never ending inspiration which will help keep your meals interesting.
Make the shopping list.
Ok, we’re almost done! Now it’s time to make a shopping list using the ingredients from the recipes you chose. I like to make a list broken out by separate columns for each store that I need to go to. For instance, I get some of my produce, dried beans, and spices from my local international store. I have found that I can save a significant amount of money by shopping there. I also frequent Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods for other items and so I make a column for whichever one I plan to shop at. If I am making a trip to my local farmer’s market, I also add that to my list. How I decided which stores I frequent is based on where I can get the items I normally buy at the best price and quality.
Your list is done, now it’s time to shop! Decide which store to go to first, second, and so on based on what you are purchasing. For example, since I tend to not get any frozen or highly perishable items from the international store, I hit that one first. I always save the store where I get things that will melt or that will perish quickly for last. Just do what works for you.There you have it. I hope this helps you with your meal planning. I can tell you that doing things this way has really saved us a bundle on our monthly food expenditures. This is because I get only what I need. Planning this way not only can save you money but, you have control of the nutritional content of your meals. So, try it! Drop me a comment and let me know how it goes. To your good health!