Creating your own meal planning process

In March, we are delving into the subject of meal planning by breaking it down into a series of blog posts. Last week, you learned the significant differences between a done-for-you meal plan and the process of meal planning.

Meal planning on your own terms will help you build a sustainable habit that supports Well Balanced eating in the long run. No process is perfect and creating one that fits your needs is key. To do this, you have to jump in and go for it, learning and adapting to what you need along the way. Here are some things to keep in mind as you dive in.

Be flexible. Know it’s good to have a plan, and it’s okay to make a different choice at the last minute. Don’t beat yourself up for this. Trust that you can make a wise decision, even if it’s not quite what you planned.

Start simple. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy. Pick a protein-rich food, a veggie (or two) and a complex carbohydrate. Round it out with a bit of your favorite healthy fat and call it a day. Combination meals, like chili, come in handy because they can include all this in one dish.

Jazz it up on the weekends. Have a little fun, try a new recipe or make your favorite fancy meal when there is extra time. While you are at it, make double the amount you need so the leftovers can last through the week or go in the freezer for another time.

Build off what you have. Take stock of what is in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. What can you add to your inventory to make a Well Balanced meal? Have canned beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce? Pick up the rest of the ingredients for chili.

Get inspired by the season. A stroll through the Farmer’s Market gives Lucy the inspiration she needs for a meal. Farmers often have great ideas and tips for cooking with veggies. Whether trying a new veggie or looking for a new way to enjoy a staple, ask your friendly farmer.

Go with what’s on sale. When you need to follow a budget, let the sales guide you. Are strawberries on sale? Load a bunch in your cart and think outside of the box to incorporate them in creative ways. A quick search online can help.

Food for thought: What do you need most when it comes to a meal planning process that will work for you?

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