Meal Plan to NourishPosted: March 21, 2013
I think everyone would agree that the trusty meal plan is a sanity/money saver. No one likes the feeling of arriving at 4:30 in the afternoon with NO idea what’s for dinner. But for the real food kitchen, a meal plan is a non-negotiable.
Whether you’re cooking for loved ones with food allergies or striving for real food for other health reasons, you can no longer just grab a box of Hamburger Helper or cream of whatever soup at the last minute. But with a plan for your week, you know if you need to soak some dried beans the night before or mix up some snack muffins for a busy day out.
But there’s another important reason to meal plan. Nourishment. When life is busy, it can be easy to just fill their bellies, without thinking about what we’re putting in there. Yes, we’re eating whole food, but a day of pancakes (even whole grain) a sandwich and a plate of pasta is heavy on the grains, and low on the produce and possibly protein.
I’ve been reminded of this lately. We’ve been dealing with some health challenges in our family. The kind of challenges when you know you need to make every bite count. There are seasons when our bodies need all the extra help they can get to heal. They need not just filled, but nourished. These are the days to load up on high quality meats and eggs, bone broth, vegetables and nutrient dense fats.
To make a truly nourishing meal plan, it’s important to plan for every meal, and snacks. There are times when I only plan dinners, but more often than not, if I want to make sure my family is getting a good balance of nutrients, I need to look at the big picture–all 21 meals of the week. That way I can see if we’re having pasta for dinner, I need to ease up on the starch and grains for breakfast and lunch and maybe fix eggs, smoothies or a salad instead. I can see what kind of veggie variety we’re eating. And I can plan for all those other variables like busy days and appointments, so I’m prepared with a fast but still healthy meal. (Or leftovers :))
There are plenty of free meal planning print outs on the internet. Or just use a notebook. I’ve used a free pdf from donnayoung.org for a long time. I usually sit down sometime on the weekends and look at what’s in the pantry and freezer and go from there.
Yes, this does require some mental energy and preparation. And yes, we have days when we deviate from the plan for whatever reason. It’s not set in stone. It’s just a tool. But it’s an important tool to help me do all I can to help the people I love on the road to healing and health.