The degree to which I plan my meals really varies depending on how much energy I have on Sunday - but I find that the weeks I really try to map out what I’m going to eat, the better I eat and the happier and more energetic I am, so it’s probably something I should do with more consistency.
I start by coming up with (and actually writing down, that’s important) 5 breakfast ideas - actually 5 smoothies I want to have because I seem to only have smoothies for breakfast lately. Then 5 lunches and 5 dinners. The weekend meals are a little hit or miss but I have more time to figure those meals out so I don’t really plan for those. I try to think about the meals in a practical sense – if I’m having a certain grain with one meal, I’ll probably make enough so that I will have leftovers, so I make sure there is at least one other meal during the week that also has that grain. Or I eat the leftovers on the weekend. It’s not a perfect science. While I try to have variety in my diet, I also have to save money and use everything I buy so that’s something I try to be conscious of.
Once I have a list of meals, I try to keep a mental note of when in the week I might want to eat what. This is because I don’t want my produce to go bad and that could happen pretty easily if I try to buy everything on the weekends. Sometimes what the grocery store has available ends up directing this decision – for example today the beets and green beans at Trader Joe’s and my local grocery store were kind of disappointing, so the meals that involve those foods will be pushed to later in the week when I have a chance to go back to the store. Below are my meals:
kale + potato soup (frozen from the other week), mixed greens, cucumber, tomato
baked falafel, greens, tomato, cucumber, spicy tahini dressing (the day I make this I will have it for lunch the next day)
mixed greens, green beans, kalamata olives, steamed fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, avocado (this one I’ll also have the night before so I can steam all the potatoes at once)
sliced cucumber, sliced carrots
air popped popcorn
cucumber and tomato salad with herbs and salt + pepper
date truffles (if I get around to making them)
So I made this list and use it to make a shopping list. This whole thing might seem like a really long process and it is - it takes me awhile to come up with ideas and decide what to eat during the week. But when I do this, I can wake up in the morning and know what to make for breakfast, what to pack for lunch, and what I want to make for dinner. I save money by not buying extra food – all my purchases are deliberate and I’m not running to the store 4 times a week. It’s a relatively small investment of my time on a Sunday that ultimately saves me hours during the week and helps ensure I eat well – that seems worth it. I don’t always stick to these plans 100%, sometimes I make a smoothie that I love and want to have everyday for the whole week, but doing this definitely helps me stay focused. After awhile of more involved meal planning, I get better at it and don’t have to spend at much time, but recently I haven’t been eating that well so I need to get back on track. So here is what I bought at the store today – I went to Trader Joe’s and this grocery store near my apartment that has things that TJ’s doesn’t have:
almond milk (ideally I would make my own but that’s not happening today)
All of that was about $55 - later in the week I will probably get a little more produce – romaine, spinach, beets, and green beans, possibly another can of chickpeas (I don’t remember if I have any left). It will be under $70 for the whole week – my leftovers will probably feed me on Saturday and Sunday, especially because one day during the week we will probably get take-out at work – so that ends up being about $10/day. I think that is pretty reasonable, given how much fresh produce I buy, the fact that a lot of it is organic, and the fact that in the long run I am saving money by taking care of my health.
I will try to post pictures of these meals during the week! I miss taking pictures of my food. If anyone has any questions, let me know!
LUNCH. Sweet potato #vegan nachos… Mmm baked sweet potato circles topped with hummus, avo, beans, tomato and drizzled with tahini dressing. On a bed of fresh baby spinach and capsicum. Amazing. I am turning into a Simpson eating this many sweet potatoes 🙍
I started a summer class and I’ve been working like crazy lately so I’m really sorry for the lack of posting. I love and miss you all :) I will try harder, and the class is only until the end of the month :).
I made this salad quick before going to class yesterday. Baby spinach, shredded cabbage, peas, avocado, tomatoes, olives, cilantro, curry tahini dressing. (Dressing is just tahini blended with water, lemon juice, and curry spices)