How to Meal Plan When You Don't Have Time

You're busy, and hungry. In your wildest dreams, someone comes to your home to cook delicious, healthy meals and then pours you a glass of your favorite beverage, and tells you to relax while they clean the kitchen. While I can't teach you how to create this in your life without shelling out a lot of money each month, I CAN offer some tips and motivation into hacking your meal plan. 

Tip #1: Use a simple checklist to create ingredients each week.


Grab-n-go breakfast - Check out some great ideas on my Pinterest board Breakfast and Egg Dishes, which includes non-egg dishes as well.

Veggies - cooked and raw.

Healthy fats - avocado, nuts, seeds, eggs, nut butter.

Starch - Veg: Potato, sweet potato, winter squash, root vegetables. Grains: quinoa, buckwheat (it is gluten free), white or brown rice, oatmeal.

Tip #2: Cook once, eat twice or thrice. Cook 2-3x more food than you need for one meal every time you cook.

If you’re already in the kitchen, you might as well cook for more than one meal. I do this every week, and I end up only cooking about 3 times for the entire week’s worth of food (that’s ALL of our meals, not just dinners).

Tip #3: Quick food prep each night. Pack lunches, soak grains or beans, chop veggies, make a sauce or dressing, or marinate some protein overnight.

Tip #4: Backwards design. Calculate how much food you need for the week based on approximate serving sizes of each person. Then, see what you already have on hand and subtract that from what you need. Finally, check the ads of your local stores to find ingredients that are on sale and in season.

Tip #5: Consider your schedule. Don’t count nights you will not be home for dinner, and plan a leftover night. 

Tip #6: Plan and create a shopping list for the entire week, but only buy for the first 3 days to keep your food fresh and avoid waste. If you see that you will need to buy and make more, you already have the plan and the list ready, so just head back to the store with your same list.

Tip #7: Eat veggies with every meal. Even better, eat green veg with every meal.

Where will I find the time though? Look at your day and find "pockets" of 15-30 minutes. Sometimes these exist in the morning or evening, but it depends on your schedule. It may take some rearranging and reprioritizing, but in these short bursts of time you can chop raw vegetables and spin a head of lettuce in the salad spinner to create a salad bar in your fridge. You can make a sauce, marinate some protein, pack lunches or complete a step of tomorrow's lengthier recipe. Find this time because YOU are worth it. One of the biggest acts of self-care is planning meals, and as a result, saving money, time, and eating well.

Do you need help building confidence and getting organized in planning meals? I can help! Contact me for a free consultation.

B Well,