I know you struggle with a simple meal plan. It can be hard when it seems like we can’t possibly add anything else to our plate (no pun intended!). It’s even worse if we make it harder on ourselves than it has to be.
First things first, you need to change this mindset. It may be a chore. But it’s a chore that makes your life easier. It’s not a diet. It’s just easier throughout the week to know where your meals are coming from, and a simple meal plan is a great way to lessen your overall stress.
Before you even start my checklist, there’s something you need to think about first. You need to plan for this to be a habit. It needs to be a part of your daily and weekly routine. I’m not always a well-structured individual, but this is where structure, planning, and organization really pays off.
Here’s where people fall short though: the all or nothing attitude. Having a habit and a routine in place does not ensure that you’ll always follow through. Life happens and things change. Meaning your routine and structure may need to change occasionally, and in the meantime, the habit you created may fall to the side. And that’s ok. If you don’t think of this a failure, then you’ll get right back to it as soon as you figure out your new routine. If you do think of this as a failure, you’ll just stop and then months later, a year later, you’ll be like what the heck happened and why can’t I keep a simple meal plan in place?? The answer is because you were hard on yourself and assumed you couldn’t keep it up just because a week or 2 got hectic, so you gave up!
How to Create a Meal Planning Habit
Start by taking a look at your current routine. Notice patterns in your day. Little pockets of time where it might make sense or be easy to fit something in. Here are some ideas:
- Dinner time: You can pack up leftovers while you’re cleaning up, or make sandwiches for lunch while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.
- Morning: You can throw a quiche in the oven while you’re working out or showering. Do this Monday morning and make enough for the week.
- While the kids are eating lunch or napping; I like to do some prep or some clean up while Gordon is eating snacks or lunch since I have to be in the kitchen with him anyway.
- Sunday morning after your coffee ritual.
- Sunday afternoon or evening after your Sunday Funday.
If you don’t have a family command center, or a desk, or a spot in your kitchen for plans and calendars, now is a good time to implement something. Wherever you do keep your papers, calendars, or recipes, keep a meal planner there too. There are some meal planners you can purchase, but notebooks or regular weekly planners work just fine too.
Find time each week to take out this weekly planner and get to work! Schedule it in your week. Set a reminder on your phone. Set aside enough time for brainstorming, planning, grocery shopping, and organizing/prepping. You can split this up if you need to. Maybe Saturday morning you can do the brainstorming and planning while drinking your coffee, and then Sunday morning while making coffee and breakfast, you can take inventory of your fridge and cabinets, and then sit down and make your grocery list. Then go have a Sunday Funday with the fam, and either grocery shop afterwards, or schedule a delivery. Organize and prep Sunday night and/or Monday morning.
You Can DO This!
I know you’ve got this. That doesn’t mean that I think you’ll never slip up or go a week or 2 here and there without a plan. You’re human, and that’s life! But I know you can find a way to make simple meal planning a habit in your current lifestyle. If you need more help, you can download the Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Planning Like a Pro here, or contact me for more personalized help! I want you to succeed because I know how this can change your quality of life!