Come about 4:30 PM, this question is on the mind of most women – “Great, one more day nothing to eat, so guess it is fast food, restaurants or another ‘frozen’ dinner”. Or, a repeat of the last few days – throw together the left overs! Sound familiar?
Years ago, I figured out some strategies that have helped me to make meal planning easy, affordable and doable. Join me as I share my pantry, smoothie station and strategies to make meals easy and enjoyable! Last, but not least, check out the table and the ‘conversation!’
Keeping a well-stocked pantry helps you create ‘something’ from almost nothing. A well-stocked pantry and fridge (and freezer) keeps you prepared with what you want instead of ‘impulse buys’.
My pantry is filled with:
- Items I get in bulk from our local health food store (nuts, oats, dried beans coconut, nut butters, brown rice, quinoa, seeds etc.).
- Smoothie liquids: almond and coconut milk (carton and canned)
- Tomatoes, canned beans, ethnic items
- Seasonings and herbs (Love these!!!)
- Herbal teas and stevia
- Thrive foods (in case I run out of basics like onions, celery and carrots)
We all do a smoothie for breakfast. We each like our own ‘brew’ so we have a Smoothie Station next to the refrigerator. Almond milk, OJ (or whatever one of us uses) is close, ice, the shake mix and our ‘add-ins’. This makes for simple, fast and energizing breakfasts on the go!
Meal Planning Strategies
Instead of trying to think of thousands of recipes (3 meals/day, 7 days/week, 52 weeks/year – — – you get the idea!!), I think of cooking techniques. Let me share mine with you.
Monday Protein and Veggies
(can be grilled or baked – any protein source and any veggie). I make extra so that the protein can be used on salads throughout the week.
Ex: fish, chicken, beef, even hard cooked eggs
I often make turkey sausage patties to have with protein pancakes. I make extra and have them for quick snacks. The veggies can be roasted in the oven instead of steamed for great flavor.
This can be taco salad (much better for you than just tacos), curried chicken (so easy with curry paste) or even Italian (we don’t do a lot of that due to not eating many grains). Great day to experiment!
This is such an easy day. I often do a ‘crockpot chicken (leftovers are great for soup later in the week). Or I might cook a pot of beans for the freezer. It might be a roast with root veggies or any other protein with a great ‘sauce’ and veggie combo.
Thursday Stir Fry
I’m very thankful that Forest loves to stir-fry. We have a great wok (Breville) that makes it easy. A protein, veggies, and throw in some tamari, garlic, ginger and dinner is ready in minutes!
Friday Soups on!
This is another easy day. Use leftovers, some broth, veggies and viola – soup d-jour! Make it in your crockpot or on the stove. Easy!
Weekends More casual
This is when we might go out, share a meal with friends (potluck) or have leftovers. Everyone pitches in so that it is easy.
It is easy to sit in the living room and eat, but it is infinitely better to set at the dinner table. It increases family time, conversation and helps to balance appetite. It also helps you to just be ‘present’ with your food.
I thoroughly enjoy ‘setting the table.’ I usually set it for the week and we use real napkins (same ones for the week unless someone is messy!). The table is set (plates and silverware go to the table not the cabinet/drawer). Having the table ‘set’ encourages me to create a meal that we can all enjoy.
As we share our day, we have time for each other and time for ‘life! Ahhh — – ‘what’s for dinner’ just got easier!