3 Steps to Stress-less Meal Planning

by Corie McInnis | Feb 2, 2024 | Lifestyle

Is dinnertime a source of stress for you?

 
Here’s a scenario you might be familiar with…
 
It’s 5 PM. Your kids and spouse make it clear that they are HUNGRY.
“What’s for dinner tonight?”
 
Your stomach sinks. You haven’t had a free second of the day to think about dinner. 
 
You check the pantry and the fridge. There aren’t any leftovers or quick dinner options that look appealing. You’re tired. And you’ve had a hard day. You can’t fathom spending an hour chopping, sautéing, roasting or spending any amount of mental bandwidth on a home-cooked meal.
 
📞 *Beep boop beep* “Hello, I’d like to place a to-go order…” 
“Ma’am, you’ve dialed 911. What’s your emergency?”
“My family is starving and I’m too tired to cook. Send pizza! Quickly!”
 
We’ve all been there.
 

Eating nutritious meals with your family most nights of the week can be a reality for you. It just takes some forethought.

Why going out to eat multiple times a week is not the answer

Restaurant food tastes great, but they often use ingredients that aren’t health promoting.
 
Seed oils, MSG, sugar, and preservatives are commonly added to delicious restaurant foods.
 
Restaurants typically prioritize hyper-palatable flavor over whole, fresh ingredients, unfortunately.
 
When we cook and eat at home, we know exactly what’s in our food and we can prepare foods that don’t contain known acne triggers.
 
For example, gluten, dairy, soy, seed oils and sugar have all been known to be inflammatory to the skin.
 
So, how do we make sure our fridges are stocked with dinner-ready ingredients so that we can eat nutrient-dense meals most nights of the week?
 

Meal planning! 🍽✨

Here is my 3-step meal planning process to save time and your sanity all in one go.

 

1. Commit to shopping for groceries one day a week only.

a man and a woman shopping at the grocery store

When I have clients come to me reporting they are at the grocery store 2-3 times a week (or more!), we quickly come up with a plan to change that to ONCE a week.

Why? Because all of those grocery trips take time and effort. It also indicates that either a meal plan for the week fell through or there was no plan to begin with.

Some people get in the habit of going to the grocery store after work and picking up a few items to make for dinner.

NO. 🙅‍♀️

That’s not sustainable for 1) your wallet 2) your time or 3) your energy levels.

Also, ever heard the phrase, “don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry”? Heading to the store after work will set you up for choosing convenience type foods or hot bar items that don’t have great ingredients.

So, my recommendation is to choose one day of the week to be your grocery shopping day. I find it helps if it’s consistently the same day each week.

You can go to more than one grocery store if that’s your jam. However, I find that going to more than two stores can be tiring. Try to keep it to one or two stores for all of your grocery needs.

My family and I shop at a supermarket first (for the deals) and then we hit up the more expensive organic store for quality meats and specialty items.

2. Prior to your once per week grocery shop, write out the meals you’d like to eat that week. Then make a corresponding list of ingredients needed to buy at the store.

laptop, cup of coffee, notepad and pen and smartphone sitting on a table

Collaborate with your spouse and family. Get everyone’s input as to what sounds good to eat that week. If you share cooking responsibilities with them, see which nights they’re available to cook dinner.
 
If you want to plan a night to go out to eat, factor that into the weekly plan.
 
If there’s a night of the week that’s particularly busy, try to make that night a leftovers night so that no one has to cook. Just take out of the fridge and reheat when everyone’s home and hungry.
 
Write out your grocery list with what will be needed for the meals you want to make.
 
Don’t forget to also add in the breakfasts, lunches and snacks you’d like to have for the week too.
 
PRO TIP– Dinner leftovers make great lunches. Don’t be afraid to double or triple a recipe in order to give you maximum efficiency in the kitchen!
 

3. Once back from the store, commit to spending some time in the kitchen prepping ingredients or dishes for the week

person slicing a banana on a cutting board

 

It doesn’t have to take all day. Thirty minutes to an hour of prep will save you so much time during the busy work week.

 
For example:
 
-Chop up raw veggies or fruit for you or the kids to take for lunch or snack. Place in individual containers with some hummus or yogurt or whatever they like.
-Make bone broth in the pressure cooker in preparation for a homemade soup.
-Prepare individual containers of overnight oats or chia pudding. Grab and go breakfasts can be a lifesaver!
-Make several hard-boiled eggs and keep in the fridge for the week. Such an easy snack that’s a good source of protein.
-Cook a batch of rice, quinoa or baked sweet potatoes to keep in the fridge. Then it’s ready to serve with whatever protein and veggie you have planned to make that week.
 
I have dozens of ideas for how to eat well during the week without going crazy.
 
I’m thinking perhaps a meal planning guide + cookbook is in my (and your) future. 🔮
Until then, here are a couple of handy resources to get you going on your meal planning journey this week.
 

A shopping list WITH categories (IMO, this is the only way to keep from running all over the grocery store):

Click here to print and fill out. Or create your own on paper or in a note in your phone. Whatever you like!

grocery list 

My free 5-day Clear Skin Meal Plan that comes with a shopping list AND recipes to help get you started:

Click image below to view meal plan.
Will you incorporate this 3-step meal planning process into your week?
Let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear.
Take good care,
Corie at Revel + Thrive
Corie McInnis Revel and thrive
Corie McInnis

Corie is a nutritional therapy practitioner. She specializes in helping her 1:1 clients clear up adult acne and ditch digestive discomfort. She believes that a nourishing diet can support the body's innate ability to heal. She's a big fan of grass-fed butter and will not shut up about the gut microbiome.

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Email

corie@revelandthrive.com

Location

Asheville, NC

nutritional therapy association 2022 member in good standing
restorative wellness practitioner level one

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is intended for educational purposes only, and it hasn’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease, nor is it medical advice. One should always consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any dietary and/or lifestyle change.