FEED ME SEYMOUR!
With my first set of twins in school for half the day I am now in full on meal planning mode. Being in the car more, and having to stick to an actual schedule of places they have to be and things they have to do means in order to avoid going into overwhelm mode, I need to plan what we eat, when we eat it and how and when I prep it. Easy enough right? Yes and no. There is no one right way of meal planning. Some people like to plan a week at a time, some people like to plan months at a time. Below are some of the options or ways of meal planning I have tried and experienced and the pros and cons of each.
PROS: less meals to come up with which means less recipe hunting, good for beginner or those new to meal planning, energy spent doing this frees up ENERGY during the week for things you actually want to do, putting something like meals on a system makes you less anxious and less likely to make unhealthy choices for yourself and your family, it means you don't have to rely on willpower because you have a strategy and a plan in place already, instead of just preaching healthy habits and good nutrition you are actually TEACHING it by living it and giving them a real life plan of how to make it work in REAL LIFE, your confidence as a mother will skyrocket because you will have more time and mental space to devote to your children and actually be present, patient and kinder because you are less stressed.
CONS : Sundays are busy prep days instead of relaxing, more frequent grocery shopping, washing, cutting and prepping of fresh veggies which may require multiple trips to the grocery store,
PROS: less stress because more meals planned ahead of time, can make double and triple batches of meals and freeze, can be overwhelming for beginners and those who have a hard time finding or coming up with recipes, all the same as above
CONS : freezer meals in my opinion and or crockpot meals use less fresh ingredients and more processed, canned, or creamed ingredients ( I will post any healthy meals for crockpot or freezer in the comments section! I love it when I'm wrong!) more to write out and shop for at once, harder to store veggies for long periods of time.
Either way for my family and myself meal planning is something that equals less stress for this mama. Some of my favorite and easy plan ahead mini meals and snacks include :
Egg muffins : which is basically scrambled eggs with your choice of sidekicks ( veggies, meat, cheese)
Meat muffins ( better than a studmuffin and guaranteed to help you get rid of those muffin tops!) Also, truth be told I really don't measure things that much in terms of ingredients. I experiment a lot until it tastes how I want it to. I encourage you to do the same.
1 lb ground chicken, sautteed white or yellow onions ( yellow are sweeter!) chopped fresh spinach ( a handful), 1 egg ( beaten), minced garlic and herbs of your choice. I use italian seasoning, or just salt and pepper.
Mix everything together and bake in a greased muffin tin at 350 until baked through, usually about 12-15 minutes.
There are lots of ways to customize these with spices, other veggies and herbs. Get Crazy with your meat muffins!
Quinoa : prep ahead and then portion into containers for the week with veggies, or meat
Stuffed bell pepper or mushroom mixture : ground turkey, chicken or cooked quinoa, spices of your choice, veggies, small amount of cheese, stuff into bell pepper or mushroom and bake in oven, until warmed through. Yummy!
If you are new to meal planning and are looking for a guide that breaks down exactly what to do and how to do it then check out the Shop section of our website. Each purchase of the Beginners Guide to Meal Planning comes with a FREE hour of nutrition coaching with ME! Get the info you need and the support you want.