The act of writing a weekly meal plan (by hand) is a simple habit that can serve you.
Meal planning is the simple act of writing down a list of the dishes to be served at a given meal. Many people do this for big holidays and events (like weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, or a Kiddush luncheons). I do meal planning every Sunday because it helps me and here is what I have learned.
7 Comforting Benefits of Meal Planning on Sundays:
- Sit down, write by hand, and focus: I know this has nothing to do with “food” and the ritual of meal planning is a calming non-tech time as I start a new week. Sunday afternoon, I clear off the kitchen table, sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and my favorite recipe resources and create our menu for the upcoming week.
- Shared responsibility: Although I am fine with taking the lead on food in our home, I want my husband and daughter to participate. Even if I do most of the meal plan, I always ask them to name one dish they would like to eat during the week. My daughter acts as meal plan scribe. It is emotionally better for everyone is all members of the family are involved with food.
- Ensure variety: Seeing all the meals for the week in front of me helps me ensure that our family will be eating a good variety of plant based foods (i.e. vegetables, fruits, tubers, whole grains, and legumes) in the week ahead.
- Waste Less Food: Food waste our homes is real and it is serious problem. Meal planning helps reduce food waste by helping us buy appropriate amounts of food (composting helps too).
- Focus on Core Favorites: Our weekly meals mostly feature the foods we know, love and make over and over again. As a rule, I try to make one new recipe each week to keep things interesting.
- More Calm (less stress): When I meal plan on Sunday, Monday thru Saturday, I simply follow my own schedule when it is time to make dinner. This creates more calm and less stress when my daughter gets home from school.
- Supports My Health Goals: My friend said it best. “When I do not eat well, I get angry and then I get sad”. Quite simply, meal planning helps us stay accountable to our health goals and gives us peace of mind that we are doing our best.
All you need to meal plan is yourself, paper, pencil or pen, and your favorite recipe resources. When I started meal planning, I used plain notebook paper and a ruler to create grid for the week. After awhile of searching to find the “perfect” meal planner on pinterest, I created my own.
Jewish Food Hero Weekly Meal Plan offers:
- One weekly meal template for the person who likes lists
- One weekly meal template for the person who is more visual
- One shopping list template that highlights plant based food categories
- Two versions: one starting on Monday and the other on Sunday (because it turns out that some people like to plan meals from Monday-Sunday while others prefer Sunday – Saturday.
This very simplistic template is helpful and non-intimidating plus the shopping list template helps you to focus on whole plant based ingredients for your meals. When you can look to the week ahead and see how and what you’ll be eating. It’s easier to follow your plan and honor your body with healthy eating.
Your Turn: Please share a meal planning tip for us in the comments below.