Menu for the week:
How to plan your healthy meals
Making the menu for the week is not always that easy.
I want to show you what it looks like to me: how to balance meals and how I can spend as little time in my kitchen and have healthy and nutritious meals for myself and my darling, without spending a lot of money!
I encourage you to try to plan your meals, and even if you don’t always follow this plan, don’t be discouraged. To make it easier to prepare such a plan for the week, I have for you our sample weekly menu with a shopping list and advice on how we make these purchases.
It took me a while to learn meal planning and I thought that spontaneous shopping and cooking was a better solution!
I really thought it was impossible to have a weekly menu (like in a restaurant), and today I cannot imagine without this daily operation.
The worst time of day is when dinner breaks out, and we have neither the idea nor the time to cook!
Usually it ended up eating just about anything or going out to eat and it cost us sometimes the same price as shopping for the week.
Why is it worth planning meals?
Meal planning is a simple way for me to make my life easier. Thanks to this, I always have a relaxed mind and a refrigerator and cupboards with products from which I am always able to prepare something delicious. In addition it allows me:
1. Save time
I Go shopping, with a list ready and an exact plan of what I’m buying. I only take items from the list, so the purchases take much less time. More specifically, I do it less often, usually once a week (depends on the season), which represents a huge time saver for me. In addition, I also save this time in everyday life, because I do not wonder what meal I should prepare, just look at our weekly menu. I avoid the situations in which I go to the store for a while before cooking because I lack an ingredient to prepare dinner.
2. To save money
Meal planning promotes smart shopping. We don’t buy too much, just enough, we organize the weekly menu according to stocks, we don’t make decisions on impulse. The entire menu can be determined based on the promotion of the products in the store. But for us it’s too complicated and I go shopping at the store where there are rarely promotions.
3. It’s an ecological approach, we don’t waste food
Just throwing food breaks my heart. Thanks to meal planning, these situations have practically no place in our lives. Planning promotes the use of all the supplies we have in the kitchen. I regularly use what I have in the refrigerator. Almost nothing breaks and expires. In addition to do my shopping I always have my reusable bags in the car, my fridge box and reusable fruit and vegetable sachet.
4. Healthier eating
Sometimes more frequent visits to the store can lead to more unhealthy snacks in our diet. Thanks to meal planning, such situations practically do not occur. Wafers, candies, crisps – we have them, but rarely and we don’t miss that. Although sometimes these not very healthy purchases are planned, for example if we have guests 😉
5. Regular meals
Planning your meals also results in regular meals. For me, this is important because I feel much better in health, weight and well-being.
6. Take your time
You can really celebrate a meal and spend time quietly at the table, like at grandmother’s.
If you think meal planning is impossible, think of me and the examples above. Try it for 2 or 3 weeks and I guarantee you will feel the difference.
How to get into meal planning?
- Make a list of your favorite dishes, a list of “healthy” dishes and one that you can eat without feeling bad after eating (follows indigestion) – these can be ideas for the dinners you cook most often and which you like to eat, it can be a collection of thematic recipes, for example breakfast, pasta, quick dishes, soups, salads, fish dishes, meat dishes, vegetarian dishes etc. . One place with easy-to-access dishes that everyone likes to eat. Meals will be quick and healthy.
- At first, start by planning just one meal a day – it was like that with me. At the beginning, meal planning only involved dinner. And I recommend starting with the dinners. In time, move into planning other meals.
- Plan the week, but don’t stick to rigid days.
- Once a week, an emergency dish – we provide the so-called emergency dish, which is one of our favorites, quick, for which we always have the ingredients in the refrigerator. If it were necessary to change plans, such a meal can always be easily moved.
- Match the dishes to the activity of the day – we look at what we have in the planning for the week. When we have planned, for example to leave the house in the afternoon, we focus on quicker dishes or enter what we have frozen (we just need to think about getting out of freezer in time). We can also the day before, plan a meal that we can prepare for two days. The next day it was enough to reheat it. I think it’s very important to reduce stress.
Organization is the key to a balanced diet. It optimizes the intakes between meals of the same day and thus helps us to keep a rhythm, a food frequency. When you have 4-4 weeks planned, these menu cards can be used as recipes for the following days.
We choose such dishes for which we can use similar products, for example if we decide to add a piece of young cabbage to the broth, then we include another dish with young cabbage in the menu the same day or day after. ..
We are also planning one of our standard dishes which can be prepared quickly and which always comes out (pasta with vegetables for example).
By entering specific dishes in the MENU, we immediately register the necessary products in the shopping list.
Finally, we add other food products to the list that we must buy, for example household products, but more often, we register these products in the shopping list when we find that they are finished. A good patent is a running list, such as hanging on the fridge – shopping next week.
When setting up the menu, we are not afraid to change meals or abandon a dish. It’s also worth watching how many meals you eat, as maybe a late lunch means you won’t be eating typical dinners.
Remember to eat as you’re hungry. If you are not hungry, do not eat or eat a small portion.
Having breakfasts, lunches, dinners and scheduled snacks makes it easier for us to understand a large shopping list and the contents of the refrigerator.
I like to cook dishes with lots of vegetables. That’s how I like it – colorful, fast, tasty – and I’m sure we eat healthy.
Although I am not a vegetarian, I think we should not exaggerate with the amount of meat in the daily diet, because we have many products on hand that are healthy and precious. For example, beans, carrots, zucchini can be used to prepare a quick and healthy dinner and cheaper than meat. We forget what mother nature gave us – beets, potatoes, fish, kohlrabi, broccoli.
It is better to eat little, but often and light, to have the best digestion.
How to organize your purchases?
Our purchasing program may look like this:
- once a month – reconstitution of fats (oil or olive oil, coconut oil, butter), pasta, rice, flour, oat flasks, seeds, nuts and dried fruits and other products such as tea, coffee, coconut milk and other exhausted products
- once a week – fruits, vegetables (better twice a week in summer), bread (unless we do it ourselves), milk, fish or meat
And how often do you buy?
6 steps to improve the planning of meals for the week:
- Plan meals.
- Determine shopping day: for the moment at my place it is Tuesday and Thursday (sometimes I choose Friday) morning or around 2 – 3 p.m. It is absolutely essential, if possible, to avoid shopping between Friday evening and Sunday. Traffic, the world etc. make the process twice as long and affect the nerves.
- The day before the races, look in the fridge and cupboards to find out what you need or don’t need in the store in relation to the meal plans.
- Go shopping without forgetting the shopping list, coupons, loyalty card, returnable bottles and reusable bags and bins.
- After shopping, put everything in the freezer first, then the fridge, then everything else.
- Post the list of meals for the week on the fridge. Like that, hubby knows exactly what is on the program.
What are the needs of our body?
(All the recommendations are for information only and do not take into account everyone’s diets and food intolerances).
But what does our body really need in a week? To be able to function properly, the body has a need to receive daily energy (calories) and essential nutrients. This energy and other nutrients come from from digestion, from the absorption and metabolism of the food we consume.
Compared to calories, it all depends on our lifestyle.
For a woman (average height and weight) who has low activity, the daily needs are 1,800 Kcalories .
For moderate activity, they are 2000 Kcalories.
For high activity, they are 2400 – 2500 Kcalories.
For a man (average height and weight) who has low activity, the daily needs are 2 100 Kcalories .
For an activity, these are 2500 to 2700 Kcalories .
For a strong activity, they are from 3,000 to 3,500 Kcalories.
Vegetables: every day both raw and cooked and with each meal.
Fruits: twice a day.
Starchy foods: once a day and if possible rather at noon. Prefer rice, bread and wholemeal pasta.
Red meat : two to three times a week maximum.
White meat: about five times a week.
Fish: two to three times a week but limiting fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel to one time.
Eggs: three times a week.
Dairy products : three dairy products are recommended per day but only one portion of cheese.
Legumes: three times a week.
A balanced meal must be composed of 100g to 150g of meat (chicken, veal …) or fish ( salmon, tuna …), 200g of green vegetables or raw vegetables, 125g of starchy food (potato, rice, pasta, quinoa) or 50g of bread and a dairy product (yogurt, fromage blanc, cheese – for me either lactose-free or not at all).
Our sample weekly menu
We usually plan meals so that we don’t eat the same dinner 2-3 days in a row. But we can use part of the previous day’s meal to prepare the next day’s meal or dinner. When we can cook a larger portion, we do so and freeze the excess. It works perfectly on days when we have less time.
Meal planning of the week
|Monday||Oat flakes with apples and almonds||Vegetable and mozzarella pasta||Apple, pear, dates||Salmon, green beans + mushrooms, parsley|
|Tuesday||2 sandwiches with white cheese, avocado and tomato pâtés||Greek salad, with grilled lamb and couscous||Watermelon, dark chocolate squares, handful of almonds||Baked sweet potato with tuna, avocado and asparagus|
|Wednesday||Vegetable omelette (asparagus, tomatoes)||Grilled vegetable plate with wholegrain rice||Banana, grapefruit and garnet salad||Cod, with vegetable salad|
|Thursday||Vials of oats and sautéed moss||Turkey and vegetable skewers, with yesterday’s grilled vegetable barley||Smoothie missing, pineapple, banana||Tartine with sardines and peppers|
|Friday||Sandwiches with egg and avocado mash, favorite vegetables||Stuffed sweet potatoes (with or without pork as filet mignon or chop)||Apple, handful of almonds, dark chocolate squares||Salad with shrimps, tomatoes, corn, avocado|
|Saturday||Chia with fridge fruits||Steak, buckwheat, vegetable stew||Fruit salad, square of dark chocolate||Canned or smoked mackerel toast, spinach, eggs|
|Sunday||Fried eggs, bacon, wholemeal breads||Chicken breast stuffed with cheese and spinach, broccoli and baked potatoes||Grilled apples with 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream||Canned sardine salad, tomatoes, olives|
|FRUITS, VEGETABLES||FLOURER||MEAT||DAIRY PRODUCTS|
|Potatoes||Pasta (full)||Lardons||Cottage cheese|
|Sweet potatoes||Oat flasks||Chicken breast||Almond milk|
|Mango||Buckwheat||Rib steak or steak||Milk|
|FISH||SPICES, OTHERS||BEVERAGES||CAN, CANNED|
|Smoked salmon||Almonds, walnuts||Water (bottles)||But|
|Salmon||Wholemeal breads||Dry tomatoes|
|Smoked mackerel||Dark chocolate||Pickles|
|Cod or other||Stevia|
|White wine vinegar|
|Olive oil and rapeseed|
|Salt, pepper, paprika|
|Cayenne pepper, oregano, Provencal herbs|
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