I'm seriously struggling with this meal plan thing. I have some major food hang ups and I get so caught in the details that I never get further than breakfast *sigh* I also have zero creativity with food... and hate cooking... basically if it has to do with food, I get super stressed out. This isn't a good thing for the kiddo. So I really need help with a basic 7 day meal plan that I can just follow for awhile while I get hold of my issues.
So yeah... if anyone has time and is good at meal planning.... I'd really appreciate some help. 1000 internets to you. I want to be gluten, dairy, and soy free and I don't do peppers (spicy or bell) but otherwise I'm open to a lot. Tips on how to make meals more nutritiously dense would be great. I do meat and eggs but I'd love some vegetarian meal ideas too as I'm not keen on a heavy meat diet.
I try looking up ideas on blogs and looking at meal plans but so many seem to be complicated or based in a specific eating style and I just want something healthy and easy that me and kiddo can eat and shop for without too much stress that will still be yummy. I have a crock pot (two actually, a big one and a small one) and a bread machine (that supposedly does other things besides bread) at my disposal too.
Write down everything you usually have. I have a master list of meals I plan my weekly stuff from. I'll try to think of some things. Id love to cook vegetarianm but my husband and daughter are meat and potatoe types. I am forcing salad into them a few times a week now as an appetizer. Haha!!
I do themed days for about half the week, then leave the other half more open. I plan two weeks at a time. So, something like that might appeal to you.
We have the same 2 breakfasts during the week. Then, the weekends are different.
For lunch, we eat from about 3 choices.
Supper is different every day.
I tend to cook 1 treat a week. We have it as a dessert, then treats as long as it lasts.
so, for you, it might look something like this:
Breakfasts--eggs and fruit, oatmeal with peanut butter stirred in or rice pudding (made with almond milk) with sausages
Lunch--leftovers, large salad with a can of tuna, or bean tacos on corn tortillas (canned refried beans, salsa, tortilla)
-roast chicken (or roast beef or pork roast), roasted potatoes, salad, green vegetable
-Salmon, wild rice, salad, roasted vegetable (or whatever other fish your family likes--fish is just so easy and quick to make)
-simple tacos (ground beef, refried beans, onions, lettuce, salsa, corn tortillas). Cause everyone loves taco night.
-chicken and rice soup (winter) or chicken salad (summer). Chicken salad can vary so much, but a good one we like is lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, and a vinagrette made with some Mexican flavorings (lime, cumin, garlic).
-Thai curry over jasmine rice (coconut milk plus jarred Thai curry, plus stir fried vegetables and meat of your choice). You can do a different style of stir fry if you like something else better.
-Meatloaf or salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green vegetable, salad
-Chili (this could vary, too. Veggie, Texas--no beans, over rice, red chili, white chili, different cuts of beef, different beans, over baked potatoes).
-Picadillo over rice. We call this sloppy joes on rice at my house. Totally inauthentic. LOL. But, my kids like it. Serve with a salad or raw cut vegetables and applesauce, and it's a hit at my house. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040922/news_lz1f22rushed.html
There are some great cookbooks from a nice lady here in Alberta Canada- Sandi Richards. She used to have a TV show called "Fixing Dinner" which I loved. She would go in and help families meal plan and teach them shortcuts and how to get the kids to help out. She has several books out that have 4-6 weeks of recipes, most of which can be made in less than 30 minutes. Half the book is "traditional" meat and potatoe type meals, but she does usually add hints to make them vegetarian.
Probably the easiest thing is to have a master meal plan that you can expand on as you are able. What are things that you and your family like to or at least WILL eat that are half ways healthy? Rotate those things.
Think of 3 easy breakfasts and 3 easy lunches that you can just keep rotating. At least for me, I'm fine with repetitive breakfasts and lunches, dinners I like more variety. Say oatmeal, eggs and toast and whole grain cereal for breakfasts...serve some fruit with breakfast. Lunches: PBJ and fruit, salad with beans/cheese/nuts/grains or tuna or chicken, or cook a big pot of soup weekly to reheat for lunches. Even easier: double all dinners and just eat leftovers for lunch.
Dinners, for example DH and I love curry so we had Monday curry night, Tuesday pasta, Wednesday Mexican food, Thursday soup, salad and muffins, Friday home made pizza, Saturday baked or grilled chicken (now we are vegan so usually a veggie loaf or cutlet), baked potato/sweet potato/squash/rice and a green veggie or salad, Sunday easy night (usually frozen appetizers from Trader Joe's). Now you can customize that to fit your family, if you don't like curry but love stir-fry then swap that out. You can get creative with each theme and on Mexican night have burritos, tacos or enchiladas. Or if more rigid planning will be easier for you...then just plan on tacos on Mexican night, spaghetti on pasta night, etc. Of course, I try to plan on a green veggie or salad with each dinner.
Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.
I was on a gluten/dairy/soy free diet when nursing my colicky infant. One thing that I found indispensable was nutrional yeast "cheese". You can buy nutritional yeast flakes in the bulk section and find recipes online how to make it in to a 'cheesy' sauce. (if not i will help you) I ate tons of sweet potatoe enchiladas using corn tortillas. I would make two casserole dishes full and have plenty leftovers for lunch and dinners. Boiling sweet potatoes then running them under cool water and chopping in to 1" cubes is alot easier than trying to cut when un-cooked. I would saute onions in a little olive oil and add the potatoes with the enchilada sauce and a little 'cheese'- it makes a great filler! The nutritional yeast cheese melts well on top and is so good for you!!
I also ate alot of quinoa and veggies. Quinoa can also be bought in the bulk section. You can buy any veggies on sale...i usually use broccoli, carrot and onions. Saute some garlic in olive oil....add a cup of quinoa, stir until it gets lightly brown then add two cups of water and the finely diced veggies, put on a lid on it and let the steam do the rest...aprrox12-15 minutes...can be served with any cut of meat or used for a nice healthy lunch the next day.
Rice-almond toast with avocado and tukey bacon and/or tomato was my favorite breakfast.
Something I also do is a pot of beans...either soak beans the night before and throw them in the slow-cooker, the large one, or just canned beans with a can large can of diced tomatoes, small can of tom. sauce, can of corn, a diced onion, some chili powder, garlic powder, cumin or whatever spices you have on hand and cook then until soft and tender... I usually crunch corn tortillas on the bottom of serving bowl, add the chili, top with nutritional yeast 'cheese' ...this meals lasts for days!!
It's not easy eating on a restricted diet. I didn't know how to cook very well before I became a mama. But I have learned to cook nutritional yeast cheese and it has helped so much! I hated cooking too, still not to keen on it. But these meals are worth it. It takes 5-10 minutes to wash and cut up the veggies. Nutritional yeast cheese is easy too...just not something that you're probably familiar with, oh, which reminds me, it calls for flour, I use brown-rice flour which is expensive but lasts a super long time!