Making Time for Nosh: Meal Planning Tips and Tricks

If there is nothing else that I learned about myself from training from a marathon, it’s that I can eat a lot of food. Next week starts my next training cycle (more on that soon), and so I wanted to set aside some time today to get ready for how busy life is about to become again.

But first–some highlights from this week’s menu!

FullSizeRender (5)

We grill just about every Sunday. I like to get some kind of salad ready in the morning before Church so I can hang out in the yard with Jeff while he grills. Those are my favorite kind of nights. This week, I marinated steaks using the Mighty Marinade in Run Fast, Eat Slow. If you haven’t heard of this cookbook, you need to check it out. It has completely changed the way that we eat.  We also had corn on the cob and this Pineapple Cucumber Salad.

FullSizeRender (6)

Chocolate tart with cocoa whipped cream: I don’t usually make desserts if we aren’t having company, but I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine and knew we had to try it. It was AMAZING. I cheated a little bit and bought a pre-made crust, and instead of using chocolate sprinkles, I opted for macadamia nuts. It’s definitely a keeper!

FullSizeRender (7)

Doesn’t it seem like the best salads come together when you just kind of throw together everything in the fridge? I’ve been helping develop curriculum for the school district this week, and the school I’m working at is only five minutes from home. I have been LOVING being able to run home and make lunch each day! This salad had romaine lettuce, carrots, slivered almonds, bleu cheese, red onion, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and salmon that I pan-seared in coconut oil. I topped it all with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Easy peasy and super satiating!

It’s become a weekly ritual for me to sit down and plan out each day’s lunches and dinners. I use a magnetic dry-erase board with a chart on it. I keep a magnetic grocery list right next to it on our refrigerator so that I can write down anything that we run out of over the course of the week. I’ve found that the fewer decisions I need to make each night, the less stressful preparing healthy meals and lunches becomes.

FullSizeRender (8).jpg

This week, I’m not really packing lunches for Jeff and I, so I clearly didn’t put a whole lot of effort into our lunch plans. Usually we have leftovers, salad or soup with some combination of homemade trail mix, fruit, and baby carrots.

When I start planning each week, I look first to see if we have anything going on at work or any day that will be particularly busy. I usually plan a slow-cooker meal or breakfast on those nights. We also generally go out to eat on Friday nights, so I don’t plan anything for then. Then I go back and fill in the gaps! I do a good bit of prep on Sundays. We keep an ongoing batch of homemade trail mix in the pantry, and I usually prepare one or two quick breakfasts for the week. My go-tos are Superhero Muffins and Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos, both from Run Fast Eat Slow.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to plan a variety of meals. That’s where this tool comes in!

Meal Planning

You can use this as a starting point when planning to get a variety of foods into your week and avoid repeating the same 3 or 4 dishes week after week. Meal planning whole, clean foods can seem daunting, but once you make it part of your routine, it gets easier!

So, what’s on your menu next week?