How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan

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I often hear people say they don’t have time to meal plan or cook.

Look, I get it: you’re busy. You may have a demanding job, your own business, human babies or fur babies to cuddle with, and a significant other to love.

It can feel like a chore thinking about what meals to make for the week. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. It can be quite simple really.

A vital part of making healthy changes is consistency. Do you think you could spare 10-15 minutes each week writing a grocery list and coming up with meals to make?

Of course you can! And I’m getting you started.

I’ve created a suggested grocery list (items I include in my own meals) and sample meal plan for a week. You’re welcome.

I keep this grocery list in my Notes app on my phone, so whenever I run out of stuff, I just add it to the list. Then, when I go food shopping, it’s right there on my phone. Makes shopping a breeze and I don’t waste time wandering the aisles thinking about what to buy.

Here’s my go-to grocery list:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Beef (I don’t buy beef weekly, but when I do, I make sure it’s organic and/or grass-fed when possible)
  • Beets (pre-steamed and pre-cut)
  • Brown rice
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk (although I’ve been making my own at home–easy and cheaper!)
  • Cucumbers
  • Crackers (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers, cuz they’re gluten-free!)
  • Chicken (we like breasts, wings or thighs 🙂
  • Dark chocolate bars (60% or higher, without soy)
  • Eggs (organic and cage-free)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fish (I stick with wild-caught salmon, flounder or cod)
  • Frozen veggies (this can be Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes, peppers, etc.)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Gluten-free bread (we love Canyon Bakehouse)
  • Gluten-free pasta (we love Banza)
  • Gluten-free oats
  • Goat cheese
  • Granola (we love Purely Elizabeth)
  • Greens (kale and spinach are my favs)
  • Lemons
  • Maple syrup
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard (Annie’s Naturals is awesome)
  • Nuts (I usually get walnuts, almonds, cashews and/or Brazil nuts)
  • Nut or sunflower seed butter
  • Olives
  • Potato chips (I love Jackson’s Honest, because they use coconut oil!)
  • Popcorn
  • Rice wraps
  • Raw sauerkraut
  • Salad mix
  • Sliced turkey or chicken (without added antibiotics or hormones)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Teas (I’m addicted, so always keep an assortment of green, chai, chamomile, ginger and others on hand)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Raw honey (local when I can get it)
  • Yogurt (I like plain goat, coconut or almond milk)

Phew! That’s a long list. Don’t worry, I don’t buy every item each week. Some of this stuff lasts awhile (like oils, oats, nuts, nut butters, honey and maple syrup). But I try to keep these items on hand at all times, so I can always whip up a quick meal (fancy recipe, not needed).

Before I get into the sample meal plan, just a few notes about the items on my list:

Fruits and vegetables–Try to buy organic to avoid as many pesticides and GMOs as possible. Here’s a list of the dirty dozen to help you when shopping.

Frozen vegetables–don’t underestimate these frozen goodies. Frozen vegetables are not only convenient, but because they are frozen quickly after harvested, they’re actually quite fresh.

Eggs–when possible, I like to buy organic and pasture-raised. The chickens that lay these eggs are treated more humanely, raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics and are fed a natural diet.

Butter/cheese–I avoid dairy and lactose, because I don’t tolerate them well (like many folks), so I stick with ghee, which has had the lactose and casein removed. And for cheese, goat’s milk is more tolerable and easier to digest, so I use that instead of anything from cow’s milk. If you do buy dairy, look for USDA organic butter and cheese, made from cows that are not treated with rBST. rBST is a synthetic hormone used in the dairy industry that increases milk production. It’s been banned in many countries, as it’s not deemed safe for humans and can cause long-term health issues.

Popcorn–One of my favorite snacks, I look for organic popcorn made with olive oil and sea salt.

Fish–Salmon is considered to be a healthy fatty fish because of its omega-3 levels. Unfortunately, most Salmon (as well as other fish) is farm-raised and made with synthetic ingredients and food dye. Eew. Look for local, wild-caught to ensure you’re reaping the benefits. This is beneficial for any type of fish.

Meat–After being a vegetarian for almost 9 years, I decided to start adding animal products back into my meals. My energy was low and I had some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When you buy meat, aim for organic, grass-fed, without the use of added hormones or antibiotics.

Bread–We’re not big on bread in our home, but we occasionally like a piece of toast with strawberry jam, nut butter or eggs. I also like to make my favorite comfort food, French toast. I don’t buy whole wheat bread because of its high glycemic index and other questionable ingredients. Instead, I buy gluten-free bread, like Canyon Bakehouse or sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel. The grains are sprouted and therefore don’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly as regular bread. Keep in mind: grains should be used in moderation, as they can cause gut issues in some people because they are not easily digested.

Tomato sauce–When I occasionally eat tomato sauce, I’ll buy low-sodium store-bought sauce, without any added sugar. I look for it in a glass jar, rather than a can, to avoid BPA (a chemical used to line cans that has been linked to brain and behavior issues in infants and children) and other chemicals.

Oils–Virgin coconut oil is great for baking and adding to your morning smoothie. Refined coconut oil is great for cooking (as it doesn’t have a coconut flavor). It’s full of healthy fats and has tons of health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is best used raw for salads or room-temperature foods. It can also be used for cooking, at low heat.

Honey/maple syrup–I never, ever, ever buy white sugar. I’ve done without sugar for so long that my body no longer craves the white stuff. Occasionally, I buy coconut sugar to use for baking, but my preferred sweeteners are raw honey and maple syrup. They are natural and don’t spike your blood sugar levels as quickly as sugar does. But they still have sugar, so please use in moderation.

OK, OK. Here are suggested meals for the week, using some of the ingredients from my grocery list:

Monday

Breakfast: Egg Muffins
Snack: Handful of nuts
Lunch: Massaged kale salad with avocado, goat cheese, olives, olive oil and lemon juice
Snack: Apple with nut butter
Dinner: Baked salmon with sautéed spinach and a sweet potato

Tuesday

Breakfast: Overnight oats
Snack: Carrots with hummus
Lunch: Grilled chicken over a green salad
Snack: Homemade trail mix
Dinner: Veggie stir-fry over brown rice

Wednesday

Breakfast: Two eggs, turkey bacon and some fresh berries
Snack: Chips or veggies with guacamole
Lunch: Rice wrap with turkey slices, greens, avocado and a side of sauerkraut
Snack: Berries sprinkled with shredded coconut
Dinner: Quinoa pasta with kale, mushrooms and onions

Thursday

Breakfast: granola with nut milk
Snack: Plain yogurt with berries, nuts and a drizzle of honey
Lunch: Two Quinoa Pizza Bites with a side salad
Snack: Dark chocolate squares with handful of nuts
Dinner: Turkey burger with Brussels sprouts and a sweet potato

Friday

Breakfast: Sprouted whole grain toast with nut butter and berries
Snack: Green smoothie
Lunch: Wild-caught tuna salad made with olive oil, avocado and sea salt with crackers
Snack: Popcorn
Dinner: Stuffed Acorn Squash

That’s it! Not so hard, right?

Want additional recipes, meal ideas and tips to cut back on sugar? Sign up for my popular program, Kick Sugar to the Curb!

-Claudia xo

 

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