One Woman's Meal Plan
Elaine prepping the week's meals on Sunday.
After talking to Edmundston's Elaine Albert about how she lost 52 pounds we discovered she has some great meal planning strategies. So we asked her to share how she plans a typical week.
By Elaine Albert
Edmundston, New Brunswick
First let me paint you a picture. I'm a mother of two and a happy spouse. My husband works long hours and is often not home for dinner, leaving me with all the household responsibilities when I get home from my full-time job.
In the past, there were never enough hours in a day to take care of everything, not to mention myself! But not any more!
In January 2012, I decided it was time to start thinking about me, my health and keeping my family healthy! The challenges launched by CBC/Radio Canada under the Live Right Now contest helped me a lot, I took them one at a time! At one point I realized that the more organized was, the more time I had for me and my family! Organization, has been the key to my success! Especially when it comes to eating healthy.
Here's a look at how I plan out a week of meals:
Deals and Meals: Every Thursday I sit with the grocery flyers to plan meals for the weekend and coming week, making sure that I have at least four meal ideas that can be ready in no time. Because I work Monday to Friday from 8- 5, it is a must to have meals ready for at least the first four days of the week! Once I figure out my meals, I write out the grocery list.
To the Grocery Store: Friday after work, I do the grocery shopping. Normally I choose two grocery stores, based on the best deals. Because everything is planned ahead, my grocery list is usally short and I can do the shopping in less than an hour. I always start with the fruit & veggy, bread, meat and dairy sections and rarely take my cart down the aisles!
Meal Prep: On Sunday morning, I take one to two hours to prepare meals for the week. As I am an early riser and my spouse and children like to sleep in, I usually managed to finish the meal preparation before they get up, just in time for them to help with the dishes!
Meals for a typical week could be: pizza, chicken fajitas, rice and vegetables/chicken, salmon, shepherd's pie, hot chicken, chicken bruschetta, lasagna, BBQ pull pork.
This week's preparation was very quick:
Wednesday: Salmon, with turnip and veggies
Thursday: Steak and veggies
Friday: Shish Kebab, Rice and Pasta
- First of all, I put two chicken breasts, cut in half in the oven, these I will use for my lunch meals.
- I made two pizzas, one vegetarian and one with meat, and I grated extra cheese for the fajitas.
- Then I cut vegetables for the fajitas (peppers, onions, mushrooms) and vegetables to serve with rice (carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, peppers). I either store them in a plastic container or a ziploc bag.
- I cut the chicken for the fajitas that I will freeze and take out a day ahead (if the fajitas are not the Monday's meal).
- Next was the salmon. I did a quick marinade recipe that I placed in a ziploc bag.
- Next, I prepared three salads for my lunch (Caesar, spinach & strawberries, greens with apples/cranberries).
- I cut a turnip that I placed in a container with water. Wwe will have that with a bag of frozen veggies along with the salmon.
- While I was at it, I cut some veggies and fruits for our snacks.
To complete the menu this week, I added to the list steak & veggies on the BBQ, shish kebab & rice and pasta. Make sure you plan for some leftovers if you need any for your next day lunch, the kids or the husband's lunch!
Elaine's kids adding their suggestions for this week's meal.
How do you share meal planning with the family? My kids are always asking, "What are we having for dinner?", so the scrapbooker in me had this cool idea to create a menu board. Each week I use it to post our meals. The kids participate by giving a meal suggestion for the week and, to keep things fresh, I try to include a recipe suggestion from friends, Facebook groups or internet searches. This way the list of meal ideas is always growing.
I just love these few hours I spend in the kitchen. They've given me extra time on week nights to exercise, help with homework or simply spend time with the kids!