Not everyone needs a meal plan to feed themself well, however you may find a list of favorite meal ideas posted in your kitchen helps with the shopping and food prep. I am a big fan of keeping a list of healthy recipes I love to make posted on my fridge, with plenty of blank spaces to add ideas as they come to me.
One of the best times to come up with meal ideas is when you are starting to get hungry. If you catch yourself staring into your open fridge thinking, “Nothing in here looks good to me,” then that’s a great time to ask yourself, “If I could have anything in the world right now, what would I choose to eat right now?” Granted you may not be able to access that food at that very moment, but it might give you ideas of foods to add to your list of meal ideas.
After identifying things you love to eat, the next step would be thinking about nutrition. For example, if you know you love pizza, but but find that when you go out for it you end up overeating on pizza and skimping on vegetables for that meal, then you need another way to work that food into your eating patterns that addresses this nutrition concern. You might add pita-pizzas to your list of meal ideas. Making pizza on a small whole grain pita, with lots of tomato sauce, plenty of veggies, and being able to control the amount of cheese you use, is going to be a big improvement nutrition-wise compared to picking up a pizza outside of the house.
This method of meal planning, keeping it very informal, may be much more appealing than writing out weekly menus. Once you have a decent list of foods you like to prepare, that list will help you organize your shopping and any batch cooking you may do. A little planning may go a long way, but we must remember to start with foods we really enjoy.
What are some of your favorite dinner options? In what ways have you been creative with making those favorites more nutritious over time?