Food Geek Friday: Plan For It

As you may have already noticed, many of the recipes that I post here are fairly healthy. I'm often asked how I manage running my business, working with clients and still work out and cook healthy meals. I can explain it in a single word:

Planning.

I attack my meal plans from a two different directions. Premeditated: 

  • Weather - Yes, the weather. Certain weather patterns make me crave different foods. First cold snap of the fall - soup. Really cold - chili, soups, roasts, etc. Summer heat - salads and smoothies. So on and so forth.
  • New recipes I want to try
  • Schedule - If I know I'm going to have a late night and possibly enjoy too many adult beverages, then I plan for what to eat the next day to get me back to 100% as quickly and easily as possible. Maybe it's that I know I'll have scant, little time to prepare a meal so I make enough for leftovers or pre-make something that can just be heated up.

Fly by the seat of my pants:

  • Grab what looks good at the farmers market and grocery store, thinking of meals to make as I go. 

Once I've done my grocery shopping, then I'll write down all the possible meals I can make with what I've purchased. From there - especially on crazy-busy weeks - I'll take a piece of paper (I like it old school. Feel free to use Excel or whatever floats your boat), turn it sideways and make myself a chart with columns of the days of the week along the top. Underneath I'll create two rows - the top with to-dos for the day and the bottom with the breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner idea for the day. Then I'll start mixing and matching the possible meal ideas into the respective slots. For the earlier days, I'll use the foods that will go bad quickly, saving the sturdier foods for later. By having the to-dos in the top column, I can better work my food into my schedule. If there's a day I won't have much time for lunch, then the night before I'll make sure to cook something in which I'll have leftovers that can be easily reheated. Coming home late one day? I may pre-roll some enchiladas to be thrown in the oven when I get home or make something in the crock pot that day so I don't have to do anything when I get home. The other day, I was working with a client through lunch and had a consultation directly after. I knew I'd be starving, so I packed myself a little bag of munchies to eat on the way. Things like this are especially helpful since I've recently committed to no longer eating fast food.

(Who wants to start the over/under on how long that lasts??)

Take-away here is that planning out your meals in advance saves a lot of time, thought, and energy into what you're going to have for your meals as well as money by making sure food doesn't go to waste. Is the plan hand etched in glass for you to never deviate from? Of course not. But it is an excellent guideline to better organize your meals.  

Do you have a system for planning your meals? Share it with us in the comments!