I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately… specifically, how to make sure that we make great choices when we eat. I’d like to share with you one of my most useful and effective tools for helping me to make those good food choices – my menu planner!
I love using it so much that I wanted to share with you – so here’s a set that I created just for you!
For a lot of you though, it may seem like an impossible task – to decide in advance what you’ll be eating. The funny thing is that, once you start, not knowing what you’ll be eating becomes more difficult!
Here’s how it works :
- Take an afternoon, sit with your favorite recipe books, the internet… and get inspired!
- Think about what you like to eat. Think about what you want to eat more of: if you know that you need to eat more fruit – plan into your meals.
- Start filling in the days – thinking about your schedule: If you know you’ll be coming home late one day – make sure that you have leftovers to heat up a quick meal. You’ll thank yourself!
- Veggie Thursday! Pencil it in!
- When you’re all done – do your shop, gather up all of your ingredients – stick the menu planner onto your fridge, follow it – and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
I’ve been planning my meals for a good year now and here are 3 things that I’ve noticed:
- I save money. I don’t make impulse decisions anymore – the kind you make when you’re desperate to get out of the supermarket. I know exactly what I need and how much money it takes to feed my household of 5. I do the shop on one day – Monday. It’s done and I don’t need to worry about it again throughout the week.
- I try out more recipes. Now instead of finding a good recipe and thinking “oh, I should make that someday”, I say… great, I’ll make that Tuesday.
- I make good choices. When you plan your meals, you are essentially tracking your food. An interesting thing happens here – although you may very well have eaten three hamburgers a week in the past, it’s hard to put that in writing. You start making good choices for you body and those choices usually also tend to the best for our planet.
Let me give you a little background to my menu planner…
I wanted to make something easy to use and pretty to look at. This month, I felt inspired by the different types of local fruits and veggies that grow right here in Singapore – so I made four looks: Turnip, Abalone Mushroom, Sweet Potato and Papaya. You can print up a different one for every week of the month.
I know that there are tons of apps for this…but I like the feel of pen on paper. I like having something pretty on my fridge and it makes me feel excited to look at all the yummy things that I’ll be eating during the week.
One last thing…
When deciding what you’ll be eating throughout the week – I like to consider Michael Pollan’s advice:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants
- Eat food: Eat real food. Processed food is just that – processed. To make that packet of noodles, with its infinite shelf life, it has to be put through a process which includes many steps and many ingredients (preservatives, additives) and at each point of manufacturing, energy and resources are consumed. Not to mention, the final product is so far removed from its original natural state, that what you are now eating, can be better described as a “food-like substance!”
- Not too much: We are in a serious position faced by the fact that our planet needs to feed 8 billion of us. It’s about changing the way that we view food. As long as we continue to want our food – fast, convenient and super-sized – we will prove to be too large of a burden.
- Mostly Plants: Reducing your meat intake is one of the easiest and most significant ways to be green. You’d save more water by cutting out meat just once a week, than you would by not showering for six months! I don’t know about you, but I’m not really willing to give up my showers – whereas meatless Thursday is absolutely do-able.
But, the only way it works is if you you have a plan. So get planning :)
Hope it works for you… if you like it, do let me know, I love hearing from you!
p.s. If you have any trouble grabbing the PDF, let me know and I’ll email you a copy