Last Week's Meal Planning and How It Went

Meal planning: is it essential for our success at eating well? or a massive pain?

Well, here's the thing, a meal plan doesn't have to be strict or set it stone, but it is helpful to have a guide to help you with your shopping list and to save you time when you don't know what to cook for dinner. I completely understand when clients say that meal planning doesn't work for them, because following a strict meal plan wouldn't work for me either. But writing a loose guide of what I will cook for the week (and making sure there will be leftovers for lunches), is a really helpful part of me looking after myself and eating well when I'm busy, tired and don't have much time.   

I write a meal plan at the end of every week, for the dinner options that we will cook the next week, because then I know what I need to buy. I would be lost at the markets or in the supermarket without a list. And as I've mentioned above, it's part of me looking after myself and enjoying nutritious foods that will help me feel my best, in a relaxed, rather than rigid or strict way. Below is an example of what I plan vs. what actually happened, as you'll see the plan is a rough guide for me to follow not a strict plan. 

What I planned

Sun: Spaghetti Bolognese 

Mon: Feta and pumpkin frittata 

Tues: Chickpea salad bowls with sweet potato 

Weds: Tuna nicoise salad  

Thurs: Left overs 

Friday: ?? 

What actually happened: 

Sunday: received a text message from my dad that he will be making seafood laksa for dinner, so we join them for this delicious meal. I prep some overnight oats, a big batch of cabbage salad and cooked some corn (I used the overnight oats for breakfast, and salad as part of my lunches). 

Monday: received an invite from my brother in law for dinner, we have Chinese take away, which was delicious and really just rice, veggies and meat. 

Tuesday: I made a roast pumpkin and baby spinach frittata and served it with a big salad.  

Wednesday: My partner made spaghetti bolognese, and I made a salad to go with it (forgot to take a pic).  

Thursday: We both had a big day, and could not be bothered. So it was eggs on toast for dinner. 

Friday: Another couldn't be bothered night, so I put together salad bowls for dinner, which took all of about 8 minutes. These included red cabbage, lettuce from the garden, baby spinach, green beans, leftover roast pumpkin, mango and fried eggs (basically a clear out of the fridge).  

So as you can see, my plan didn't really go to plan (it rarely does), but it wasn't too far off. Even though some of the meals were different, I used the ingredients that I had already bought, so didn't end up needing to buy extra ingredients or waste any of the ingredients that I bought. When I plan my meals, I don't plan all days to start with, because I know that there will be meals with family members or going out. I usually plan around five meals, and I know that this will be enough ingredients to get us through the week without wasting anything. 

So even though my plan wasn't followed 100% it doesn't stress me out, it's the nature of life. Sharing meals with family and friends is enjoyable, and I am lucky enough to get to do this on a regular basis, even if it isn't always on my plan. So for me, planning our meals is a really helpful way to make sure we have enough ingredients to make balanced meals for the week, and I find being relaxed with it is also helpful to be eating well without being obsessive. 

Do you plan your meals? Is it a strict plan or more of a rough guide? 

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If you want assistance creating eating habits that are healthy and sustainable, book into see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (like me, click here to book).