4 Simple Steps for Meal Planning

wheatsvilleIt may be of no surprise, but I choose to go about my shopping and menu planning using a method a bit outside of the box. I am sharing it here because, like you, I’ve tried all sorts of variations on the theme of how-to-get-a-healthy-dinner-on-the-table-each-night-without-ending-up-in-a-puddle-of-tears and found most of them lacking.

While this approach may seem a bit awkward at first, it is super efficient and allows for lots of creativity. Efficiency is a key word at our house and we’re better with some things than others, but when it comes to shopping and eating, this process provides us with meals that meet both our health and efficiency standards which then allows us plenty of flex time for exercise and creative projects.

I mentioned here, that I shop twice a week: once to prep ahead for my four days seeing clients and once again for the weekend.

So, here is how my shop- and cook-ahead plan rolls:

1. These staples and fresh items are always on hand. I purchase them at Wheatsville or online at Soap.com

  • Organic Olive, Coconut & Sesame Oils
  • Pumpkin seeds; sunflower; pine nuts; hemp seeds; sprouted almonds; raw cashews; walnuts; nut butters; coconut flakes; assorted dried fruits
  •  honey; maple syrup
  • Organic Quinoa, Brown Rice, Buckwheat Ramen Noodles
  • Lentils
  • Fresh citrus—lemons/limes/oranges
  • Avocados

2. In a reverse order of most cooks, once at the store I survey the produce isle and choose four vegetable combinations that will star in each evening meal. While I may not settle on the exact prep method until I am home unpacking, I choose what looks freshest and most delicious.

Here are the pairings I selected this week:

  • Broccoli and Dino Kale
  • Rainbow Chard, Spinach and an assortment of Sweet Potatoes
  • Asparagus and Sweet Peppers
  • Roma Tomatoes, Sweet Onion, Basil, Carrots, Apples

3. Once home everything gets unpacked, laid out on the dining room table and I settle on the final menus, adjusting any pairings. This week I decided to stick with my original combinations and to make the following dinners:

  • Raw Broccoli-Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Avocado and Cashew Tamari Dressing
  • Sautéed Greens and Roasted Cubed Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Peppers and Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Fresh Roasted Tomato Soup and Grated Carrot-Apple Salad

4. Now the whole family jumps in to help wash, chop and prep for the meal making.

I’ll post more about the also slightly quirky details of my meal making process in the next few weeks.