Struggling with meal planning and prepping


v_westin91

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Hello! I love meal planning. :) Its super important and it will save you time, money, and stress when you are hungry. If you have a good plan, there will never come a moment when  you have nothing to eat except non compliant food! 

 

I have an spreadsheet that I use. I have it in Google Docs so I can access it at work or at home. If you don't use Google docs (or Dropbox or whatever) you can of course just use Excel. 

 

Personally my "week" starts on Saturday and goes through the next Friday. I have the days across the time and I include a square under each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner (initially I had "snacks" but ended up not needing any). At the bottom are 3-4 squares for "food prep" - ie, defrost chicken, make mayonnaise, grill chicken breast for salads, make a fruit salad.

 

Throughout the week, I will look at my Paleo/Whole30 pinterest and decide what recipes I want to make. I usually select a few I have not done before (new and exciting and challenging), a few that I have done with success (my favorite chicken salad, a chorizo taco salad I love, etc), and a few on-the-go quick easy items (roast beef wrapped in lettuce, breakfast casserole).

 

On Monday through Thursday, I just start picking and choosing what goes where/when, and I return to it every so often to make changes and revise the schedule. On Friday, I finalize it and make a shopping list (I make a Saturday list and a Thursday list - the Thursday list is usually some lettuce and anything I might need for Friday, because often the produce won't last that long). 

 

Some basic rules I follow - 

 

-Be flexible. You can move stuff around to fit your life or accommodate for too  many leftovers. 

 

-Items that are difficult and require longer prep and cooking time, I save for the weekends. I make large amounts of these so I have leftovers.

 

-Individually wrap and package your leftovers to grab and go during the week

 

-Make a large breakfast casserole and wrap individually - it will last the week

 

-I do all my farmers market runs on the weekends, so I plan to use things like tomatoes, zucchini, and peaches early in the week, and plan for items like apples, sweet potatoes, or onions later in the week. 

 

-If you are really busy, it wouldn't hurt to chop a bunch of veggies every 2-3 days so you can throw them on salads and in eggs. 

 

-On variety - This is going to come across as strange advice, but don't feel like you need too much variety within the week. You should have a wide variety of stuff over the course of your whole30, but you do not need to have like one of everything each week. For example, I will grill up a bunch of chicken and use to make salads and stuff - I save time by grilled 4-5 chicken breasts at once. That means I am eating chicken for like 5 days! It also means the next week, I am not going to have chicken. 

 

Good luck!

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I cook in bulk-

I bake a few kgs of chicken breast (chopped in to smaller pieces and rubbed with herbs and spices) to put in salads or postWO.

I bake chunks of sweet potato and pumpkin.

I have 3-4 big pots bubbling on the stove at once to make 2ish weeks worth of dinners at once. Chilli, curry, bolognese, osso bucco, casserole/stew. Most start with the same ingredients (onion, garlic etc) which I chop in the food processor.

I have a fridge full of vegies that I prepare fresh each night. Sometimes we have leftover vegies for breakfast that can be added to omelettes.

I make lunch salads 3 days at a time - chopping more of the same thing doesn't take that much longer!

I also have HB eggs, mayo etc ready.

I'm like Emily - ill happily eat the same thing a few days in a row! It makes prep a whole lot easier, and shopping is easier too.

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Wow Emily! Great ideas. The only thing I would add is that I bought Mel's Well Fed Cookbook, and it helped me plan the weekend cook ups. Also, I purchase beef and chicken on sale and keep it in the freezer when I have extra money. I also keep compliant easy food around like Applegate Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs, or emergency protein,  so if I am really tired I can make that instead of cooking what was planned. 

Even if I am too busy to have a proper cook up, I at least make mayo, and hard boiled eggs  so I can make devilled eggs and tuna salad in a pinch.

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My first Whole 30 I planned individual recipes for each day and did the prep work as I went, but for September I plan to do it differently, I want to cook up components as explained in ISWF for at least four days of the week, and maybe pick a WF recipe or two for the rest of the week. Lunches are leftovers supplemented with salads or additional cooked vegetables and breakfast is usually eggs, vegetables and whatever decent breakfast meat I have on hand. I do plan to chop and peel things ahead, for a few meals at once, just to minimize my kitchen time. Last time I made too many elaborate things one at a time every day and felt like I lived in the kitchen.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Meal planning stresses me out. So I don't do it.

 

I sort of follow a mix of Michelle (from Nom Nom Paleo) and Mel (of Well Fed) when it comes to food planning. I take a bunch of meat out of the freezer and throw it in a defrost bowl, then cook it all up at once. Some sort of meat gets tossed in the slow cooker every week, I always cook up a few pounds of ground meat, and sometimes I'll even cook some meat in the oven. 

 

This week for instance, I will be roasting a whole chicken, making some beef stew, throwing a lamb shoulder in the slow cooker, browning 2lbs of gf ground beef mixed with 1lb of gf lamb, and I think I also have a few lamb chops thawing which I will probably make for dinner on whichever day all this food gets cooked. 

 

Any meat that is left over at the end of the week either gets tossed into a garbage soup (with deathbed veggies), or gets frozen for a future week when I don't have time to cook. 

 

Not only do I have plenty of meat on hand, but everyone has choices for each meal. 

 

As far as veggies, those I tend to just wing it with. We are pretty easy to please with steamed veggies, so that's what we usually do. Or, I'll just saute the veggies in some coconut oil and toss the meat in at the end to reheat it. Or we do a raw veggie plate. 

 

Tina

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I'm only on Day 3, but I think I made things hard for myself on the first couple trying completely new recipes. I ended up with a couple of failures, when I was already conscious of all the things I wasn't allowed to eat so I didn't need another thing to make me sad. I'm doing better now by cooking things I already know and love but are compliant or can be made so by leaving out a non-vital ingredient. Like my warm lamb salad, just without the cheese. Or steak & veges, with no corn on the side. I'm going to leave new dishes for when I'm feeling a bit more in the groove of the Whole30.

 

I always shop twice a week and menu-plan every dinner for those 3-4 days ahead of time. Now I have to plan every breakfast and lunch as well!

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