Meal Planning Deconstructed
Unlike the outburst of laughter or less welcomed silence experienced by stand-up comedians, when writing into the blogging abyss, you never know if anyone is actually relating to or enjoying your material. To date, our posts about sleep, our upcoming retreat and food have been the most comment-inducing. With regards to food, the question most asked has to do with meal planning and prepping. Folks are looking for concrete direction on how to execute healthy eating in a realistic way. Obviously everyone's lives are different and the spectrum of time to dedicate to meal planning and prep vary vastly, but in case you are wondering, here's how we do it.
As with most things we aim to excel at in life, planning lies at the very core. For example, you won't master a new language by desire alone. Classes/private lessons/full-immersion language-dedicated extended holidays are in order if you are to actually achieve your goal. The same goes with healthy cooking, especially for busy families where spare moments are often at a deficit. Planning is also the most efficient and cost-effective way to turn your kitchen into a home-cooked, nutrient rich mecca of deliciousness. For me, meal planning for the week happens every Sunday.
I generally stick to the plan, but don't obsess over it. After all, individual meals are important, but not as important as the sum of their parts. What I mean is that on days where I've been stuck in traffic or on a subway train going nowhere, I just can't follow the "master plan" and breakfast-for-dinner (runny eggs over a salad is my favorite) or stir-fried left overs (or even pre-made meals from Whole Foods) are just fine. Stressing over this would simply undo any of the nutritional goodness originally intended by the meal!
Some of our go-to quick fixes include:
Ok, so begin with choosing a meal planning day. For me Sunday morning over a cup of coffee works. It makes sense for me since I often go to the grocery store and farmer's market on Sundays as well.
I ask myself the following questions each week:
- What do I want to cook/eat? You are more likely to make it's something you personally want:)
- What is my schedule like this week? When will I have time for create more elaborate meals and/or prep for the following day?
- How can each meal be transformed into tomorrow's lunch? This is key. It simplifies things and eliminates any early morning decision making about the kids' lunches!
- What's already in the fridge/freezer/pantry?
- Where will I get it? My grocery list follows the flow of the aisles at the market so there is no doubling back and forth for items lower down on the list. I also my shopping stops according to my schedule. For example, my daughter's bus stop is near our favorite fish market. If I am picking her up there, I'll plan seafood for that night's dinner.
- How long will it take to prepare?
- If I am experimenting with something new, and I tend to do this once or twice a week, what's the back up plan? Sometimes I'll get to the market and spot something special, with that freshly-harvested look about it. I am usually unable to resist the temptation of buying it whether I know what to do with it or not.
Then comes the menu creation. This is what a sample week looks like for us:
- Breakfast - Black coffee for me & Gregg, prosciutto wrapped egg & spinach muffins for Solé. (Our favorite coffee is from Purity).
- Lunch- Leftover roasted chicken over a mixed green salad for me & Gregg, and for Solé, chicken over last night's cooked vegetables, seaweed snacks, carrots and homemade hummus.
- Dinner - Romaine lettuce with homemade anchovy vinaigrette, grass-fed burger, mashed cauliflower, oven roasted sweet potato shoe string fries and a side of sauerkraut.
- Dessert - Reishi hot chocolate from Four Sigmatic. (Reishi is an edible, medicinal mushroom mostly known for its calming effects).
- Breakfast - Black coffee or blended coffee with cream for me & Gregg, collagen and sometimes egg fortified oatmeal (with fermented oats for easier digestibility and increased gut health) and a spinach smoothie for Solé.
- Lunch - *Organifi smoothie with added greens and herbs, grass-fed collagen, avocado, mushrooms (usually lion's mane and/or chaga), moringa, cinnamon, sea salt, and sometimes a bit of stevia. For Solé, lettuce-wrapped left over burger, lacto-fermented pickles and a homemade chia bar.
- Dinner - Big mixed green salad with fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil, slow roasted arctic char, pan fried crispy brussel sprouts with lardons, homemade sourdough bread.
- Dessert - Warm golden milk with a drizzle of raw honey (turmeric and coconut milk made with ginger, and other spices - anti-inflammatory and soothing).
* (If you are going to buy Organifi, take advantage of our discount code, greggcook, for 10% off)!
- Breakfast - Black coffee or blended coffee with cream for me & Gregg, spinach and cheese omelet for Solé.
- Lunch - Big green salad and a can of sardines, and for Solé (can you guess??), leftover arctic char and brussel sprout, grape tomatoes, a piece of dark chocolate.
- Dinner- Asian inspired pork meatballs, stir fry shirataki noodles (Japanese noodles made of konjac root) with mixed veggies, side of kim chee.
- Dessert - Fresh berries.
- Breakfast - Black coffee or blended coffee with cream for me & Gregg, homemade brown butter and dark chocolate chip granola for Solé.
- Lunch - Last night's meatballs over a bed of greens. Solé will get the meatballs with seaweed snacks and carrot sticks and mini peppers.
- Dinner - Grilled and sliced flank steak over arugula, butternut squash soup with watercress and pistachio pesto.
- Dessert - Homemade yogurt with blood orange and a drizzle of raw honey.
- Breakfast - Black coffee or blended coffee with cream for me & Gregg, almond flour pancakes for Solé.
- Lunch - Avocado & egg salad. As a sandwich with homemade sourdough bread for Solé.
- Dinner - Crab cakes with homemade garlic aioli, steamed artichokes and fennel and radish salad.
- Dessert - Flourless triple chocolate cookies.
Saturday (we tend to eat a later brunch, skip lunch and eat an early dinner on weekends)
- Breakfast - Mochacchino with grass-fed raw cream and organic cacao powder, grain-free pumpkin waffles with dark chocolate sauce.
- Dinner - Stilton & leek savory cheesecake, kale and anchovy salad.
- Dessert - Creamy coconut chia pudding with crumbled cookies from Friday night (if we happen to have leftovers) or homemade granola or macerated strawberries (Sometimes this also doubles as the next day's breakfast)!
- Breakfast - Double espresso and grain-free bagels with lox and cream cheese or almond butter and raw honey.
- Dinner - Indian butter chicken, cauliflower rice (or sometimes white rice), sautéed garlic spinach, sprouted green pea flat bread.
- Dessert - Homemade dark chocolate and coconut butter cups.
How does all of that sound to you? Just writing it (pre-lunch) makes me hungry. Need help with meal planning? I work with many clients on this and am working on a subscription based platform with every detail covered. If you are interested, shoot us an email!
*Full disclosure: While we make a small profit from the affiliate links above, these are products we personally use and have benefitted from. We will never endorse anything we do not fully believe in.
What we are dreaming...moving outdoors, enveloped in nature and breathing fresh air. Mallorca, September 2018.