Plan to Eat Well – One Week at a Time

It’s really hard to eat deliciously, healthfully and economically when you don’t think about what you are going to eat until the late afternoon.  By that time, when you are tired, starting to get hungry, and the stores are crowded, convenience food, take out or home delivery become hard to resist. While they work as a fallback for an emergency for some people, they are not a good long term strategy, especially if you need to modify your diet in any way, like a FODMAPs diet for IBS or a gluten free diet for Celiac disease.

The solution?  Devote some time once a week to planning.  It’s not as onerous as it sounds.  In fact, once they get into it, many of my clients who are new to planning their meals tell me that not only do they eat well for less money, but that they experience a new sense of inner peace in the late afternoon, knowing that dinner is already taken care of.

I’m not talking here about rigidly pre-planning and pre-preparing everything you are going to eat during the next 7 days with no room for spontaneity.  What I am talking about is taking a series of small steps so that gradually,  you get used to the process and experience the benefits.

Over the next few weeks, I will post a number of blogs about the steps you can take to bring control of your eating back to your own kitchen.  I’m posting these steps gradually, in order to emphasize the idea that just like in making any other change in behaviour, permanent change in the way you plan meals can be achieved by making a series of smaller changes over time.

Today’s steps are easy:

  • keep a list of meals you enjoyed.  Include details like the season, the recipe location, or the place you ate it and any tweaks for next time.  If it’s not something you made yourself, search for a recipe, keeping in mind that for weekday meals, the stars are recipes with not more than five ingredients.  Keep the list in a notebook which you keep near your recipe books and add to it on a weekly basis.
  • schedule a time once a week to look ahead in your calendar and think about how you will need to plan to eat.  Schedule a day of the week, and time of day that works for you, and try to stick to it.  Eating homemade food is an important part of what you can do for optimal health, so think of this planning date as a medical appointment that you can’t miss.
  • keep a list on your fridge of things you run out of.  Less time wandering up and down grocery isles trying to remember details means less impulse buying and more time for preparing delicious, nourishing food in your own kitchen.