Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fun Ways to Plan Your Weekly Meals

Since having our little one, our eating habits have become less healthy. We're often opting for the quick and easy meals, which aren't always the best option. We've also had a lot of junk snacks hanging around the house, which is a weakness for both of us. We're finally getting into a bit of a routine and finding time to cook so we've decided to focus on our nutrition for a while to get back our healthy habits that have disappeared. This past weekend, we sat down to meal plan like we always do. This time was a bit different though due to our focus on healthy eating. Healthy meal planning can sometimes feel "boring," so we decided to spice things up just a little bit.

Meal planning isn't a new concept for us. We meal plan every week. It saves us the hassle of "what do you want to eat" and saves us money at the store. It's a necessary part of our week, but it can get a bit boring at times, especially when you're trying to pull ideas out of thin air. Over the years, we've used different methods to make the process a little easier and a bit more fun. Today, we're sharing some of those ideas with you!

Vegetable of the Week
If you follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen our recent post about a new vegetable we tried. This was a result of our latest meal planning idea - picking one to two vegetables each week to include in our dinners. Since vegetables are a healthy part of any meal, this seemed like a great place to start changing our habits. We start by selecting a vegetable or two. This week, we each selected a vegetable but we're talking about drawing from a hat next week. After selecting our vegetables, we set out to find recipes for the week - many of which were new ones to try out. From there, we finished up our meal plan, created our grocery list, and headed to the store!

Theme Nights
This one can be a lot of fun - especially if you're involving the whole family in the process. For this method, you assign each night of the week a theme (Taco Tuesday anyone?). The themes can vary greatly and are meant to be used as a guideline each week for your meal planning. Essentially, your meal would need to fit the theme of the day. If you need ideas for themes, we compiled an ultimate list of theme night ideas.

Empty the Pantry
This one is very similar to "Vegetable of the Week" in that you're picking meals based on a food. The difference here is that your first step is to go through what you already have in the house, paying close attention to items that need to get used before they expire. Then, you theme the dinners around these items. (We actually used this method for one of our meals this week because we have some steaks that need to get used up.)

Assign a Cook
For this method, you'll assign a cook for each night of the week. If it's your assigned night to cook, then you determine what's for dinner. This takes the pressure off of any one person and makes the cooking and planning process more of a joint effort. If you're involving kids in the meal planning process, you can assign them to nights but please help them with the cooking (or at least supervise depending on age)!

These are just a few of the methods we've used to make meal planning a bit more fun. What vegetable should we pick next? We'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! Keep an eye on our Instagram to see our meal updates!

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