I told you all this was coming AND HERE IT IS! My meal planning workshop is going to be live in just a week. EEK! I am so excited, if you can’t tell!
I’ve done a few posts recently about the importance of meal planning and meal preparation. If we want to eat the way we desire, we must meal plan and prep. Seriously, it’s a hard line. We live in a world where cheap convenience food is considered the norm and thus is the default if we don’t have a plan in place.
Meal Planning is Hard
Despite knowing this, I have struggled tremendously with meal planning in the past. As you may recall, I was a dietitian before med school. Cooking and meal planning where my jam. I used to make detailed meal plans and lists and batch cook on weekends. Everything was balanced and nutritious. But, that was back before I was as busy as I am now. At the time I thought I was busy, but kids and being a physician changes things just a bit. Life looks much different now than it did 10 years ago.
Between what I am required to do for work, what I want to do for self-care, and parenting, there is little time for meal planning. When I entered residency five years ago, Jason decided to be a stay-at-home dad. At that time, we had just one child and meal planning was relatively simple.
At that time, I was working 80 hours a week. I tried my best to plan out meals for the week. I got 1 lone day off each week. During this time I’d plan our meals for the upcoming week. Jason was a great sport at the stay-at-home dad gig and would make whatever it was I picked out. The trouble was that I was getting more and more tired and less and less interested in meal planning.
Some weeks I didn’t do it at all and just let him make whatever was on his mind. For a 30 year old guy who didn’t cook much and had never had to plan meals, this was not a successful endeavor. There would be frequent arguments and frustrations over the lack of healthy food available at our meals. It would go something like this:
- I would be gung-ho about meal planning and we all had happy, healthy bellies
- I would get exhausted and stop meal planning so meals were thrown together.
- Stress would build and Jason would offer to help
- Jason would take over meal planning with limited success
- We would get into an argument.
- I’d give him one week to resolve it.
- It didn’t resolve I would start over.
- And on the cycle went
This cycle wasn’t good for anyone. It wasn’t good for my mental health. It wasn’t good for our marriage. And it definitely wasn’t good for our health.
And Then Things Changed
Fast forward one year. The process continued and I knew something had to change. I came up with multiple ideas of how I was going to meal plan to be more effective. Maybe I’d do a month at a time. Then realize that was a lot of work and stop. I’d do two weeks at a time which seemed to work, but I’d get busy and quit. We tried to wing it and Jason and I would talk about it the night before. We’d be out of half the ingredients and need to run to the grocery store, wasting time and money. We came up with numerous approaches, none of which were successful.
Then one time it just clicked. I sat down perusing one of my favorite recipe blogs and suddenly the idea came to me. Why don’t I have my recipes work for me instead of me work for them?! It was genius. This may make no sense to you at the surface, but hear me out. When most of us make a meal plan, we think about what we want and then we go find a recipe that fits that bill. This whole process takes 30 to 60 minutes every single week. As I was sitting down looking at this recipe blog filled with delicious recipes that I wanted to make, I realized another, more streamlined, six-sigma type of approach.
I spent the rest of the day on my idea, filling in a monster meal plan. After 2 hours, I had 3 months filled in. After 2 more hours, I had 9 months filled out. Fast forward to the end of the day and I had the entire year completed, printed and organized in a binder, page protectors and all.
This was revolutionary. It took everything in my power to contain my giddiness, when I showed it to Jason. It seemed genius. I didn’t understand why I hadn’t thought of it before. I was almost a little embarrassed to tell people that I had a meal plan made up for a year, so only a few people even knew about it. But fast forward two years and we’re still using it today.
Two Years Later
This approach has dramatically changed our lives and I’m not exaggerating here. There are no more arguments about what’s for dinner. If I’m cooking that week if I take out the recipes I can see what I need to get from the store. We know what we’re making roughly each day. There’s no question about what to make or what we need. It’s all there.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes it’s fun to be spontaneous and cook a new meal. And we do this too. The meal plan itself can be flexible. The key is that I have a meal plan in place if I need it. If I don’t want to meal plan, I literally never have to meal plan again. If I want to meal plan, then game on. I can do whatever I want. I can change all the recipes for the whole month if that’s what I really want to do. But the key here is that I no longer have to do it.
You Can Do It Too!
After using this for two years I began to think, “Why haven’t I shared this process with anyone?”. One of the biggest struggles to eating well that I hear from people is the struggle with meal planning. We are all strapped for time and meal planning tends to take lower priority. While the amount of time spent each week seems trivial, it’s not. Each week you need to spend 30-60 minutes planning meals for the week. That’s 26-52 hours a year! No wonder you’re frustrated and burnt out. And what’s worse, after we’ve spent all of this time one year, we rarely reuse the plan, leaving us to spend the same amount of time again.
On top of this, there is a stress and pressure to serve healthy meals to our families. If we don’t we often feel that we are failing as a mother. Unfortunately, there’s an unwritten rule in our culture that women are supposed to meal plan and they’re supposed to make sure that their families are well fed. I’m not saying, I agree that this, but unfortunately, this is still an undertone in many women’s lives. Take that with a working mom who doesn’t have any free time as it is and struggles with guilt of being away from her kids, and you can imagine the shame spiral that follows. I’ve been there and it’s not fun.
My husband and I do this in partnership now, as opposed to me feeling like I need to carry the loan sword. I think this process is a large reason why we’ve been successful.
The One Day Meal Plan Method
If this speaks to you, keep reading! I honestly think this could change the way you eat and meal plan forever. Here are some more details:
What is it? Use my One Day Meal Plan Method to create a meal plan that is flexible and reproducible, saving you time, stress and money.
What’s included? I’m glad you asked! There are TONS of goodies!
- 1.5 hr workshop you can watch on your time, over and over again
- Meal plan template for up to 1 year of meal planning
- Access to the One Day Meal Planners Facebook Group
- Freebies to help make meal planning and meal prep easier
This meal plan can be used with any diet because it is a framework, not a pre-created meal plan. You still need to do the work, but the work is a sliver of what you would do over the course of the year.
The workshop goes live on February 9 and costs $99. I would encourage you to head over and sign up now so you can access it the day the workshop is available. I’m happy to answer any questions at all.
Find out more
Click here to read more and sign-up: http://bewell.nutritionhealthlife.com/onedaymealplan
Click here to read the terms and conditions: https://go.aws/2GAf8jy
Click here to email me questions: https://nutritionhealthlife.wordpress.com/lets-get-in-touch/