Meal Planning Made Easy: 3 tips for staying on track with your diet change
Updated: Jan 19, 2019
Staying on a strict diet means always being prepared. Use these tips to keep yourself one step ahead in the kitchen.
Starting a new food routine? Creating a plan will help you stick to it!
The BEST tip to staying ahead in the kitchen is to make a weekly meal plan. Make a list of your main meals for the week, and develop your grocery list accordingly. Doing so will insure that you always have the ingredients you need on hand and you wont be scrambling for dinner ideas!
One of the greatest challenges I found to eating a new way was to continue preparing meals that both I and my family would enjoy. I didn't want to spend time creating two or three different meals every night so I had to come up with a way to modify some of our family favorites. Here is a list of my personal tips and tricks to keep yourself sane and in the game!
1. Create a meal plan for the week
For me, this means physically writing out on paper dinner plans for Monday through Sunday one week at a time. I always like to make enough food so that one night's dinner turns in to leftovers for my lunch the next day. That way, I only need to think of additional items for the kid's school lunches (bread, fruit, snacks etc.). A rule of thumb to help with meal prep: avoid prepared foods, choose whole foods, raw foods, and start with meals that you can cook from scratch with ease.
2. Use your meal plan as a Grocery List Guide
Every week I have a list on the fridge that I add to when things run out, such as snacks or household essentials. On Friday's of every week, once my meal plan is done, I include items on my list that I need to prepare each upcoming meal. Not only does this keep our grocery costs within budget, it also leaves me one step ahead so I don't find myself scrambling for ingredients or last minute dinner ideas. In my post, The Condiment Conundrum, I go through a list of ingredients you can keep available in your kitchen to make food prep easier. As a full time working mom of two, I understand the necessity for being able to eat healthy but also at a reasonable hour on a weeknight!
3. Modify ingredients and cook in portions to suit your diet
At the very beginning, I felt lost when preparing meals because I didn't know what to eat. So, I started with our family favorites and used the substitution method. For example, If I was making chicken and potatoes one night, I would simply modify my portion of chicken to exclude barbecue sauce (too much sugar!), add more spices and herbs, and replace my potato with rutabaga fries! Veggies are easier because all I do is steam them and add more. I continue to use this method, and the more I learn, I slowly introduce new items into our meals as well. For example, if it is spaghetti night I simply substitute my portion of pasta for spiralized zucchini, and make a batch of quinoa bread to season with garlic or make into bruschetta as an extra special treat.
Overall, I have found these tips to be the biggest source of success for making sure I stay on track. I always encourage the entire family to try new foods and I intentionally make enough for everyone to give zucchini noodles try, for example, but I also choose to include traditional ingredients for them, understanding that, while I encourage clean eating, I can not expect everyone to eat exactly like me!
In addition to the tips mentioned above, I also have a list of kitchen hacks for getting your kitchen ready for Candida friendly cooking. Make sure to check out these posts and in no time you will be well on your way to re-inventing your life -Candida free!