Meal Planning 102 - The Ideal Meal Plan

The ideal meal plan is the one that works for you. Take me for example. I'm constantly thinking about food. I know what flavors I like and am open to trying new things every now and then. I love to cook. I eat me-made food most of the time. That's three meals plus two snacks a day - ample opportunities for eating. Cravings determine what I eat most of the time. I'm also conscious about getting enough of the right foods in. BUT I don't always have time to convert all of this into meals that i'm eating. It takes some advance planning.

My ideal meal plan is guided by the following principles:
  1. Food that is rich in flavor, color and nutrients #eattherainBow
  2. Recipes that I can pull together fairly easily
  3. Variety - I don't like to repeat a meal more than 3 times in week and rarely repeat recipes in the same month
  4. Versatility - cravings change. I try to plan ahead but what I want on Sunday (which is when I cook/meal prep) might be different than what I end up wanting on Wednesday
With these principles in mind, I put together a list of what I like to eat for each meal or snack time. This helps take the guess work out of what exactly to have. Saving me time to search for or come up with recipes to satisfy my cravings! Here's what that looks like:
  • Breakfast: Overnight oats, a smoothie, or loaded rice cakes
  • Lunch: Usually a lighter version fo dinner - a hearty salad, quiche, soup and flat bread
  • Dinner: Rice and anything, stew, curry, stir-fry, shakshuka and pasta, pies (think quiche or cottage pie), roasted veggies, roots and meat, beans/pulses and anything
  • Snacks: Fruit, yogurt, chips, nuts and seeds, baked goods, popcorn, rice cakes
  • Drinks: Tea, coffee, juice, kombucha, wine, cocktails
Each week, I think through my cravings and go through the recipe inspo I've collected through the prior week. I then slot the different meals/snacks into this meal plan and shopping list template, gather the ingredients and cook. There you have it.- a meal planning practice that captures what I consider to the ideal game plan for eating all the yummies.