By nature , I am a planner, a list person, I like details and organization. With this being said, When I first began eating clean,I struggled with the weekly meal planning and falling into the “same ole choices for dinner, even though clean”. I have tons of recipes from clean eating books, mags, internet and from my own kitchen but for awhile it was just a “flip thru to see if something looks good and do I have the right ingredients…” I got on Pinterest and studied different ideas for weekly menus and grocery planning. I took the ideas that worked for me and put them together into a simple but glorious weekly time saving menu board..
As I find or create recipes , I make small “cards”. On the front the card has the name of recipe, any side dishes that go well with and where I can find said recipe. On the flip side, I have listed the ingredients for the entire meal. This makes grocery planning so easy! I pick out 1-2 weeks of dinners,then make a list of the ingredients that I don’t have so I won’t forget anything at the store. I put the cards for the week(s) on a metal board . As each meal has been cooked, that card goes into a small box also with a magnet on it next to board. Once you have really got a great collection of recipes that you have tried, you can pull another set out the next week to chose from. This helps you from getting bored with the same meals all the time.
I have a separate little box in which to pull desserts and special holiday menus from..
At first, it takes time to create but the time that it will save week after week,is well worth it! I still add to my rotation of menus but just typing one or 2 cards isn’t anything like when I first began..
In order to be successful in eating clean, you must plan your meals and carry your food with you everyday . Don’t forget your mid morning meal, lunch, and mid afternoon meal if you will be gone all day. Make sure that your meals include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. The mid morning and afternoon meals are smaller than your lunch and shouldn’t take a lot of prep time.Lunch may take more effort but it can be done with careful planning.( It will become like second nature after a while.)
There are ways to simplify the planning process. One example would be to cook extra for your evening meals then you can simply eat the left overs for lunch the following day. If you have more than one portion leftover, freeze it til you are pushed for time and it can be quickly grabbed on your way out the door..
Another shortcut that I use is boiling eggs twice a week. On Sundays, I boil enough for breakfast and/or a lean protein snack for Ken and I . On or about Wednesday, I do it all over again to last through Sat. Eat the whites only. You can have 1 yolk a day, but the rest needs to be whites.
I also like to grill extra chicken breasts during the week, they can be cut up and served on a salad, wrap sandwich or served with veggies/fruit on the side..
If you have access to a fridge at work, keep some plain yogurt, milk,low fat cheese and fruit for lunches, snacks or emergencies. In your desk, you could have the snack size baggies filled with a supply of nuts and /or dried fruit. Keep a good supply of clean foods at work or in your car at all times..
Some more ideas for your away from home meals are,
_make your own snack mixes
-make a fruit salad
-pita sandwiches (whole grain)
-apple or banana with natural nut butter or raw unsalted nuts
-grilled chicken breast with fresh veggies in a whole grain bun
-salad with chick peas
-roasted turkey with an apple or pear
-sweet potato and grilled chicken on bed of romaine
-plain nonfat yogurt with a sliced banana and blueberries
-egg whites with an apple
The list goes on …be creative , just make sure you have lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats!