Okay, so you know that you’ll be more organized and have healthier meals if you get a meal plan going for the week. But the first thing that happens to most of my clients when they try to sit down and bang out a weekly plan is their brain goes blank – what do we eat for dinner? Where was that recipe we liked a few weeks ago? What salad did the kids actually eat? This is totally normal, and a super common roadblock to planning for the week. It just feels SO BIG. Here’s the fix:
Enter the Go-To Meals List
Your Go-To Meals list is going to be a shortlist of 5-10 reliable, healthy-ish meals that you know you like all in one easy to access place. It sounds deceptively easy, but the beauty is in how it reduces overwhelm and keeps you out of the internet rabbit hole each weekend searching for new recipes.
- To make your list, set a timer for 5 minutes. Brain dump every meal you remember making in the last 6 months on this list. Every one, even the simplest chicken/broccoli/rice kind of meal. Don’t worry about whether you liked it, it took forever, your partner hated it etc. Just get those meals out of your head and onto a piece of paper.
- Now go through and cross off any meals that flopped – they weren’t enjoyable, they were über complicated etc.
- Check for balance.
- Do you need to add a protein food?
- Is there enough non-starchy veggies?
- Do you need to increase or decrease the amount of carbohydrates (grains, flour based foods, starchy root veggies or fruits) to fit your needs?
- Make quick notes of what you’ll actually make – maybe you’re subbing cauliflower mash instead of super rich scalloped potatoes to make it weeknight friendly, or going to fry up some ground turkey to top off that yummy salad with a protein.
Protein – ✓. Veggies – ✓. Carb (optional but make it fit you) – ✓.
Save these recipes somewhere you can access really easily. I love a shared note in my phone. That way R can add meals, or see the links to the recipes we use because I’ve copied and pasted them in there. It’s a central storing house for our favourite things that are weeknight meal or meal prep friendly. You might prefer a whiteboard on the fridge or a file folder in the kitchen. Just make it accessible and shared, and include notes about recipe links or cookbook pages so you’re not scrambling.
Need some go-to meals inspiration? Try these healthy whole food swaps and recipes!
If you resist planning each week and wing it, try this step EVEN if it feels too simplistic. It takes a lot of pressure off of the actual planning so you can make sure healthy groceries are in the house, and meals make it on the table no matter what the week throws at you.
Need some help getting your meals for the week balanced and prepared? If you’d like to receive our free Meal Planning Getting Started Guide AND get in on our weekly emails about all things nutrition so you can get clarity and confidence on what you’re eating, join us here!