It’s Friday morning as I write this (and Lord willing, I’ll get it out to you later today), so I’m sending you wishes for a restful, fun and productive weekend. I don’t know about you, but I always preach to my kids, “work before play” because that’s what I was taught and that’s how I feel best. I love it when I get to the end of the day and know I’ve been a good steward of my time. So that’s why I threw in the productive part of my wishes for your weekend. But I digress…
Last year, I did a series called What We Ate Wednesday. You can search for that in the search box and find all those posts. I did it for most of the year. People ask me ALL THE TIME what I’m fixing for dinner, so I thought I’d just show it to you in a neat and tidy post each week. My thought was that you would turn those What We Ate posts into a meal plan for your own family, if that’s what you needed. But from talking to some of you, it turns out that this served more as a curiosity. You read what we ate, looked at the pictures and thought, “Oh, that’s nice.” Well, I’m glad you thought it was nice and interesting, but I want what I put out there to be HELPFUL.
So instead of showing you what we ate, I’m showing you what I have planned.
I have traditionally done my meal planning for the week on Saturday. This just works for me for many reasons. Here are a few:
- I prefer to do my grocery shopping on Saturday morning when the stores are less crowded and I can go by myself.
- I really focus on planning Monday – Friday meals and something about starting fresh on Saturday just works for me. If we eat out, it’s sometime over the weekend, usually Sunday, and there is typically some combination of leftovers for Saturday, so the weekends are easy and don’t require much planning.
- I like Sunday to be wholly devoted to fun and rest so by getting this huge task tackled on Saturday, I feel like I’ve set myself up for the week.
- Nobody has time to figure out what’s for dinner on a weeknight. This absolutely HAS to be done over the weekend. If you don’t currently meal plan at least one week at a time, I implore you to try. I dare say I think it will change your life.
So here goes….I’m doing my meal planning on Friday this week because I just woke up this morning thinking this would be helpful for you. Please let me know if it is! Bear in mind, this is the meal plan that works for my family. We have two adults, one teenage boy (who eats a lot) and one almost teenage girl (who hardly eats at all – unless it’s junk food). My husband has Type 1 Diabetes, I have Crohn’s and I feel best when eating lower carb/keto-style so I tend to keep our dinners fairly low in carbohydrates.
True confession: I am continually losing the dessert battle over here. People think we eat perfectly all the time, but that is simply not the case. I have tried and tried and tried to get the three of them to give up their sweets and I have been successful for very short periods of time, but it never sticks. All that to say, I keep dinner low carb knowing they will add in their carbohydrates in the form of dessert. The kids in particular, are very lean and active and need some carbs. My husband only needs what he accounts for in the insulin he takes, so that’s always a fine balance for him. I don’t typically keep homemade sweets in the house because I can’t resist them, but the candy comes in for holidays and from grandparents and there never seems to be an end to the supply. I have tried fruit as a dessert and sometimes that works – but then they get chocolate too! So I just gave up. I used to make my paleo treats, which are really, really good, but they’re so good that I can’t resist them and I really shouldn’t eat them very often. Because of all of this, my meal plans will be fairly low carb. You can always add a sweet potato or other starchy vegetable or some rice if you are not trying to stay lower carb in your household.
Before I get into the specific meal plan for this week, I’ll point you back to this post where I talked a little more about meal planning and offer other tips.
Without further adieu, here is my plan for this coming week:
Breakfast: everyone feeds themselves breakfast and I very rarely eat breakfast (I do intermittent fasting and I like to workout fasted in the morning – we can talk about that more if you’d like – this works really well for me for a lot of reasons.) Here is what is typically on the menu:
- Cheerios – I buy Honey Nut and Regular and mix them together. Yes, they eat these with regular whole milk, not almond milk or some other dairy free milk.
- Eggs – hard-boiled for my daughter, mini quiches for my son and husband. I started making these mini quiches on Saturday and freezing them for the week because my husband is not exactly zippy in the mornings. He would very leisurely make himself an omelet every morning. He used to just eat cereal, so at least that was an improvement. But it took FOREVER! I needed him out of the house so we could get started with our day and he could get to work sooner and therefore, get home sooner. He will eat three of these for breakfast with a few Cheerios on the side. My son does the opposite – two big bowls of Cheerios and one quiche.
Lunch: Husband always takes leftovers if there are any. I almost always cook enough for him to have at least one lunch afterward, but if we gobbled it all up, he takes the same thing the kids eat:
- lunch meat – I usually buy those “ham nuggets” at Whole Foods. They like them, they’re a good value for lunch meat and the meat is good quality, uncured, no hormones, etc. The only downside is that I have to slice it myself.
- fruit – whatever is in season. Favorites are clementines, apples, and pears.
- vegetables – they ALWAYS have to eat something green – this is usually just a pile of mixed salad greens or spinach. They also love baby carrots and those mini sweet bell peppers.
- some sort of chip – I like Kettle brand avocado oil chips.
- Then of course they have some sort of dessert, usually chocolate. In my defense, if I bought it for them, it’s a good quality brand of dark chocolate. My daughter does earn ice cream through some of her school work. Hey, don’t judge. You gotta do what you gotta do to motivate them. If a little ice cream motivates her to actually try to spell words correctly, then so be it. 😃
Breakfast and lunch look just like this every single week. What about me you might ask. I am a wild card when it comes to lunch. Sometimes I skip it altogether (doing a longer fast). When I do eat, I have a few favorites:
- salad greens + 2 fried eggs (in ghee) + olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- bacon and egg salad (mayo or mashed avocado + hardboiled eggs + bacon)
- avocado – I buy the mashed avocado cups from Costco, it’s just avocado, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I will scoop this with carrots or sometimes plantain chips
Dinner plans for this week – One more note, what I plan for dinner is directly tied to what we have going on. Monday nights are free and Mondays are typically lower stress days as far as activities and my work goes, so I do a more time-consuming dinner on Monday. So if you follow my meal plan, you might need to mix up the days depending on what your week looks like.
Monday: Creamy Ranch Chicken and Mushrooms in the Instant Pot, with cauliflower rice and salad (this recipe is a new one I’m developing, but I will be videoing it so look for that over on my YouTube channel – assuming it’s a success). To prep for this recipe, I need to make a paleo version of cream of mushroom soup. That is also an experiment and I’ll be making that sometime this weekend. I’ll probably end up eating a bowl of it for lunch and freezing the rest. So I know this isn’t helpful because I can’t share this recipe. Consider substituting my Ground Beef Stroganoff, which is also good with cauliflower rice or mash and salad.
I got my inspiration for this recipe from a blog I read called Mix and Match Mama. This picture isn’t all that great (sorry Shay), but I thought it sounded good and totally Paleo-ify-able.
Tuesday: Primal Cheeseburger Soup This is basically a beef and vegetable soup. You can add the cheese or leave it out. I eat it without the cheese most of the time and my family will add it to the top of their bowl. This is an easy one for people to customize. Because this soup is so full of vegetables, you really don’t need anything else to make your meal complete.
Wednesday: Pork and Veggie Un-rolls – this is a tried and true favorite around here. It takes a little prep time with all the chopping, but you can easily do that head of time if that helps you. I almost always give myself an hour to prep dinner. When I was still in school, I would listen to a seminar while I cooked. Now I listen to a favorite podcast or sometimes music. Everyone has to get out and leave me alone and I really enjoy my time in the kitchen. So a recipe that takes a little more prep is not a burden to me, but I realize it may be for some of you. Maybe there is some way you can find to make it more enjoyable?
Thursday: Taco night! I make my beef and veggie taco filling*, roast some sweet potato cubes and then put out all the fixings: shredded cheddar, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and shredded lettuce. We make this like a taco bowl, sort of like nachos I guess, but instead of the chips, we use the roasted sweet potato. Oh! And top it with my secret sauce: homemade mayo + salsa. It makes this creamy, tangy sauce and it’s amazing!! With this, I don’t miss all the dairy my family is eating. *Alternatively, make my super simple taco filling: one pound of ground beef plus one link of fresh chorizo, brown this together than add in about a cup of your favorite salsa. Simmer until you’re ready to eat.
Friday: I try to make Friday night family fun night and that includes a kid-favorite dinner. We had gotten into a rut of eating those gluten free pizzas from Costco (I add toppings, of course), but in trying to keep it truly paleo, this week we’re having Meatza. This recipe is for sweet potato meatza, but since we will have just eaten sweet potatoes the night before, I’m going to just make a meat crust. All this means is smushing your meat into a flat crust in your baking dish. I usually use sausage, but you could use any ground meat you like. Then top with all your favorite toppings. Trust me, there is so much flavor if you use sausage and good veggies (I like onion, mushrooms, squash and peppers) that you will not miss the cheese if you choose to leave it off.
So there you have this week’s meal plan. The only thing missing this week is fish. I have a “prescription” from my doctor to eat salmon twice a week so I usually have a fish night, but we are trying to be very frugal right now due to all the start-up costs for Total Wellness Health Coaching so that means lots of ground beef and chicken. I may sneak some canned salmon into my lunches.
I sincerely hope you find this helpful. Please let me know if there is something I can do to make meal planning easier for you. If you say to write fewer extra words, I don’t know if I can do that. 😉 My only C in school came in the third grade. For conduct! For talking too much, of course.