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The Secret to Meal Planning

I don't actually know if a secret exists...



But here’s what I do. In my last post I said that as of Sept. 1st, my family has decided to become Vegan. At least, we’re experimenting with it and hoping that it sticks. Any diet change like this requires some level of pre-planning and commitment. For us, it’s felt almost like we’ve naturally shifted into Veganism without much effort simply because we’ve already learned so many things about eating whole organic foods and about meal planning.

One of the number one tips I received when going Vegan was from a blogger named Sarah Lemkus. She and her family have been vegan for several years, and in her posts titled “My Vegan Beginner Tips,” she says to just pick 4 or 5 recipes that you like and would want to eat often. Make those your staple meals and then keep adding as time goes on for variety. This tip applies to any diet and is so helpful!

These are four meals my family ate on a regular basis before going vegan:

Chicken Salad

I’d buy a whole free-range chicken and roast it in the oven for dinner. We’d de-bone it and serve the chicken over greens. Then, we’d take the leftover bones, and use them to make bone broth. Here’s a good recipe for bone broth: https://wellnessmama.com/5888/bone-broth/

Beans and Rice

This meal is so easy! I tend towards the easier meals and the meals that leave us with leftovers to use for other meals. I’d soak black beans over night and then cook them in our crockpot or Wonderbag the next day. Then serve them with rice at dinner with whatever other toppings (salsa, sautéed onions, green peppers, etc.).

Salmon with Butternut Squash Soup

For this meal, I’d either bake the salmon or cook it on the stove top, while I prepared the soup. I’d use the bone broth I’d made from the leftover chicken bones for this. You can find variations of this soup recipe online. Here’s a good one: https://wellnessmama.com/3364/butternut-squash-soup/

Chili

For our chili we used the leftover beans from our beans and rice night. Then served it with whatever toppings we had. This is a good chili recipe: http://maximizedliving.com/basicchili

As you may have noticed, I tried to make the most of the food we made each night saving either leftovers or using one meal as an opportunity to make more for a later meal like the leftover beans for chili or the leftover chicken bones for chicken stock. There’s no one way to go about meal planning. My meal planning centers around dinners. Then, we stick with variations of the same things for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast we often had either oatmeal (homemade with nut butter and berries, etc.) or yogurt and berries. For lunch, I often had a large salad of some kind with boiled eggs or sardines, and the kids would often eat steamed veggies with a boiled egg or leftovers. We did this because it made our meal planning and grocery shopping easier!

If you’re interested in taking your family on a whole foods journey, I suggest trying the Whole30 first. This isn’t a vegan thing. It’s a Paleo thing. It’s a month-long commitment to no sugar, no dairy, no grains, and no legumes. Sounds crazy?! It’s totally possible and is guaranteed to jump start you into eating well for the rest of your life. The beauty of something like the Whole30 is that it requires pre-planning and commitment, and it’s something you do for only 30 days. You don’t have to eat that way forever, and it’s a learning opportunity. If you like the way you feel after 30 days, which you probably will notice a difference, you may want to continue adapting how you eat!

We asked this question last week, but I’ll ask it again: How does your family meal plan for the week? Do you have meal plans? What about favorite meals?

We’d love to hear from you!

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About This Blog

Alana Jamison is in her final semester Goddard College’s MFA in creative writing program. Her story "What I Lost" is forthcoming in Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine. As a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers and an aspiring homeschooler, she’s passionate about living simply for the sake of having an adventurous life. She and her husband Jeremiah are building their tiny home in a school bus, and she started http://thejamisons.blog and its accompanying YouTube channel to share about her family’s transition into tiny living. In her work she hopes to inspire others to live their “tiny” dreams. Find out more about Alana and her work at http://alanajamison.ink.  

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