September Productivity Prompt Day 5: Meal Plan

How often do you start the week with really good intentions? You’re going to start each day with a healthy breakfast, take something tasty for your lunch and return home to cook a delicious healthy meal each evening. The week starts well, but then you’re tired when you get in, or you’re late getting up so you grab breakfast on the run or you just don’t have the right ingredients in the fridge, so you return to your old habits and feel bad that you’ve failed in some way.

Let’s make a meal plan together for the coming week so that you’ve got time to shop and plan ahead. Gather together a piece of paper, your schedule for the coming week and a coffee and settle yourself somewhere comfortable. I like to sit at the kitchen table with the pantry doors open so I can see what food I already have to help to reduce food waste.

Draw a line down the middle of your sheet of paper. Separate one side into 7 sections and leave the other side for your shopping list. I’ve created a handy printable which you can download, with either a Saturday start or with blank days so you can start on a day of your choice. I start on a Saturday because that’s the day I do my supermarket shop.

Look at your schedule for the coming week and work out which days you will need to take lunches and which days you might be late/ exhausted/ really not in the right frame of mind to cook anything remotely fancy. These are the days where you make life easy for yourself. On these days you rely on old favourites, things that you could cook on autopilot or that you can shove in the oven and forget about. If planning lunch and dinner for the week seems overwhelming, start with your dinners for the week, you can move onto lunches another time. Pencil in your food choices and, as you do it, add to your shopping list. The printable sheet allows you to sort your shopping list into sections to make your shopping trip even easier.

On the other days you can prepare something a little more adventurous but don’t make it difficult for yourself- you don’t need to try a new recipe every night of the week. It’s also helpful to plan meals towards the end of the week that use more store cupboard items so that you don’t have to go shopping for fresh food before the end of the week. This might seem difficult to begin with but, as with everything, it gets easier with practice.

Here’s mine for this week:

Use your plan to do your shopping and then place the plan on your fridge door so that you can refer to it as the week progresses. Try your best to stick to it, but life changes and you may need to swap things around. The important thing is that you’ve got the right food in the house when you need it, that way you’re more likely to cook it.

For those of you who’ve been inspired to create a meal plan, with today or in the past, how did it go? How do you feel now that you’ve done it? Add your comments below.

Come back tomorrow for your next nudge into productivity.

Photo credit: Freepik

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