We live a time where we are being rushed, and we believe it’s a good thing to be rushing. Cooking takes some time and planning, and we like to believe that we have so many better things to do with our time. This cycle of rushing around is often the hardest thing to break.
But cooking can change your life.
Renowned activist and author Michael Pollan argues that cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to improve their family’s health, build communities, fix our broken food system, and break our growing dependence on food corporations.
Meal planning is one of the best ways to ensure you are prepared for your day with a healthy, balanced meal. It is an amazing skill to develop for those who are busy and rushing around all over the place.
The magic of it is that it actually gives you back time because you don’t need to ask yourself every day, “What do I eat?” and waste time to check out all your Pinterest boards to make a decision!
Whatever your goals are, whether it is to lose weight or just to eat more healthy, meal planning helps you gain back control over the food you eat and ensure it is clean and nutritious.
If you are new to meal planning, here are my best tips to help you start:
Know your recipes.
Understand which recipes you’re making ahead of time, and use them to make your shopping list. Group each ingredient by each section of the store (produce at the top, then meats, dairy, etc.). Fast French Food makes this step extremely easy for you!
Make a plan.
I start meal planning for the week by sitting down over the weekend and planning everything I’ll eat for the week to come. Make a table that includes your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks you want to have. Pick and choose from your recipes folder. Take into consideration what else is happening each day and plan your meals around that. Plan to prepare your lunch the night before (just in case of a late wake up!).
Be flexible, but not too much.
Obviously your plan will be effective if you stick to it. I also understand that things happen, like a last-minute lunch date with a friend, staying late at work, family gatherings, etc. But your meal plan is the road map to help you stay focused with your clean eating during the week.
Cook in bulk.
This is a life saver. Every recipe you choose to make, make more of it! This is especially helpful if you know you’ll have busy days, which means it will be harder to cook a new meal. And if you don’t like eating the same meal twice, the freezer can be your best friend with meal planning in advance!
Buy your ingredients, and stick to the list!
Meal planning helps with budgeting. Always, always stick to your list, and cross off each item after you have it in your cart. This helps you avoiding the temptation to buy things that you are trying to avoid (like chocolate chip cookies, donuts, processed bars, etc.). A very helpful trick is to always go shopping after a meal. If you’re hungry, you’re more likely to grab junk food. Also, refer to this blog post on how to choose the cleanest, healthiest ingredients.
Pre-cook your soups.
If you have any vegetables left over in the fridge, make a soup! All you need is to chop the veggies, throw them in a pan, cover them with your favorite bone broth, and simmer until the veggies are done. Voila! Soups can easily be frozen and kept for weeks in the freezer. This means on days when you come home famished, all you need to do is defrost, heat, and enjoy.
Now that you have the tools to start meal planning, it’s time to do it!
Because I want you to start right away, I’ll make it even easier for you: download and print this meal planning template. You can start by filling it out with your French dinner recipes! Now, place your plan on your fridge, and of course, follow it. Bon appétit!