We started eating the Always Hungry? Way in February 2016, (HERE) we stuck closely to the meal plan for the first 2 weeks or phase 1, I HIGHLY utilized the recipes in the third week on our first week in phase 2. Ever since then we eat a diet predominantly phase 2 with phase 3 pieces occasionally, like corn chips. But the best thing I learned from doing always Hungry (beyond cutting out unnecessary sugars and carbs from our day to day diet) is meal planning. Without meal planning I couldn’t cook balanced meals everyday, I couldn’t know what we’d have in the fridge at the end of the week, or make sure we aren’t eating beef or chicken every night, instead giving us a balanced diet with some vegetarian options as well as some savory beef recipes.
So how do I meal plan? Everyone does it differently but here is how I plan our meals each week.
First, I decide what protein source we want to have each day of the week. Then I like to check to see what we have in our freezer, since we get a monthly Butcher Box, I like to utilize and plan when to enjoy each cut of meat, and spread it out. All their meats are organic, pasture raised, and free of antibiotics and hormones which we appreciate. The grass fed beef is something we can’t get locally at a decent price & their heritage raised pigs, make for the best bacon I ever have had. Although, we don’t get all our protein from Butcher Box but we get most of it from them, what we don’t have in the freezer from BB, I buy from Trader Joe’s or Sprout’s locally.
Since it’s just me and Travis I like to ask what he’d like to eat, although he is really easy and would eat anything I put in front of him. So it’s a nice balance of trying new recipes and falling back on some favorites on other nights.
Once I know what protein sources we are going to have each night, I think about what we have in the pantry. Recently I bought brown rice asian noodles, I only used a small portion for a recipe a few weeks ago so I know I want to use that then I head to Pinterest and look at my option. Stir fry with noodles sounds good and it can be vegetarian so we’ll have that on meatless Monday. There is always one random day usually Wednesday or Thursday that I can’t pin down. Thursdays usually end up as another vegetarian night or a soup, something savory and simple, I’m not trying too many new things at the end of the week.
After I pick a main course and vegetables for each night I make a grocery list. I frequently buy the same vegetables and use them multiple times a week but different ways. One night we will steam broccoli, then another we will roast it and top with Parmesan cheese, another we will have it in that Asian stir fry. Versatility keeps cost down, and makes you get creative.
I arrange my grocery list into fruits/vegetables, protein, dairy, pantry, frozen. I do this because this is the way I walk through our grocery store, it makes it easy to mark everything off and not have to back track. Now there is always something I’ll grab to try that isn’t on the list but I stick very very close to my list.
Once home, everything is put away and the weekly meals and their ingredients are posted on the fridge, all those recipes from printerest are saved in my recipe board and I put all my protein in the fridge to thaw for the week. (I keep a tub on the bottom shelf for vegetables & another for meats) I like to prep the annoy parts of recipes early, so any sauces happen on Sunday afternoon after the shopping. I also use this time to portion out almonds, and baby carrots for lunches for the week. It makes assembling lunch boxes easy on week day mornings.
Do you meal plan? What is your go to tip?
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