5 tips for Intuitive meal planning
Meal planning can be an excellent form of self-care. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about following a generic meal plan to be “healthy”. I’m talking about having a few meals planned for the week that sound satisfying and take as much time to prepare as you want them to. This can save you time to do other fun things in your life and reduce the stress of scrambling last minute at every meal, trying to figure out what to eat. This is where Intuitive eating meets meal planning.
Me? I’m a fan of having meals that take less than 30 minutes and use just a handful of ingredients. It makes things easier especially after an eventful day of work, or a fulfilling day living my life.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you plan your meals for a few days:
Come up with 3-4 meals ideas that sound delicious and will make bomb leftovers for the next day; it never hurts to make a little extra. When planning meals, I think about what foods sound good together. I like to use the “protein fat carb fiber” method because having all 3 macronutrients is key to feeling good. And fiber, ya know, keeps you regular. Each nutrient has a specific role in your body function and your satisfaction.
2. Keep it simple and versatile
When thinking about your meal planning, it’s helpful to use some of the same foods for multiple dishes. For example, I buy a lot of peppers, onions and mushrooms because they work great for stir-fry or tacos or spaghetti. And I like them. I also try to pick foods I know I will eat to limit food waste, unless I’m trying a new recipe.
3. Make a list: PFCF style
Make your shopping list more simple with these categories: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber. Choose 3-4 under each category for a quick trip to the store. For the fiber category, I usually do a fruit or vegetable. There will likely be other sources of fiber in foods you are eating (aka carbohydrates) but this method keeps it simple. You may consider keeping some shelf stable carbs and fats in bulk at home for future meal planning: noodles and oil take a while to go bad.
4. Choose foods based on preference vs obligation
It’s so important to plan meals around foods that you want to eat, not foods that you think you “should” eat. Eating foods that are chosen out of obligation really sucks the pleasure out of eating. Not to mention, research shows that we digest food better when we enjoy it. We can also reduce food waste by choosing foods we know we will eat; there’s nothing worse than a wrinkly eggplant sitting in the back of your fridge (Just some personal experience)
5. Don’t be afraid to take a short cut
I’m a huge fan of convenience. You can find my freezer stocked with frozen veggies, fruits, grains, meals, and of course, icecream. Using frozen foods can save you prep time and cooking time. Plus, most foods are frozen in their prime so I find that some frozen foods taste better than fresh, depending on the season. Other short cuts could include picking up pizza from your favorite place and adding a fresh salad, or heating up a frozen burrito and making some sides.
Meal inspiration below! Tell me, what are some meals that sound satisfying for you to make? Did you find these tips helpful? Feel free to share with friends, links for social media below.