Less than one week in to the new year and I am sure a lot of us are already seeing how hard it can be to stick with our New Year's resolutions. I am loving seeing how many of you want these meal plans though to help you overcome the headache of what to make and how to offer it to your family night after night!
Below you will find another tried-and-true meal plan shared from my family to yours! If ever you want to share feedback on what sounds and look good (or what doesn't!), never hesitate to contact me so that I can make sure the content each week is as helpful as possible,
Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of January 7
STEP 1: PLAN
How many of you do "themed nights?" Not only do I love this for helping me introduce variety into my family, but it takes the guesswork out of picking seven nights worth of what to serve. Then when I think about any need for convenience or how much time I will have to cook each week, I can delegate certain nights or menus to what meals are easier to simplify. Currently, these are some of our favorite themes:
Sunday: Seafood Sunday
Monday: Meatless Monday
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday
Wednesday: Pasta Night
Thursday: It's Almost the Weekend Wild Card
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Soup/Stew Saturday
For our wild card night, we often rotate in breakfast for dinner, takeout, or leftovers depending on how much we have already eaten up as lunches over the week. What are your families favorite menu ideas? Experiment to see if assigning one to each night of the week helps simplify your planning and picking of what to make.
Interested in walking through the steps to meal plan like a pro?
Download your copy of my Meal Planning Playbook. It outlines the following five steps of successful meal planning in more detail so you can achieve "Less Meal Time Stress and More Feeding Success" for your own family!
STEP 2: PICK
A special thanks to each of the following contributors for the delicious recipe ideas this week!
4 ǁ Pasta Night: Caprese Pasta Salad (Recipe by All Recipes; modified to use EatBanza noodles and Formaggio marinated mozz balls)
6 ǁ Pizza Night
STEP 3: PAIR
I am excited to share new meal ideas with you and your family in the New Year. However, I don't want to get too far into this before I address something:
Where you are starting.
Maybe you just need the ideas I have outlines above and below and with that, are ready to take these weekly plans and run with it. Your family doesn't show any real issues with the food you offer, but rather your struggle is consistently coming up with the actual meals and menus to put out each night. If that is you, I am so glad this little resource can help you take that next step.
But what about all of you who are quite possibly a few (or several) steps "behind" that? Maybe you don't even have an established family dinner. Maybe you are starting with a norm of making four different meals each night to accommodate each family member. Maybe your child's list of preferred foods ("love it foods") seems so limited that you aren't really sure where to start in exposing him/her to new staples.
Well to you, I want to make one thing clear:
You are welcome here.
I have been feeding apprehensive eaters for over three years myself now and while we have see lots of baby steps of progress and several unexpected strides towards "feeding success," there have been several days when I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Step by step, implementing the Division of Responsibility, offering preferred foods alongside non-preferred foods, and establishing the feeding environment and family menu I want my kids to grow to know and love...over time.
This meal plan is not expected to be a one size fits all approach. It also doesn't have a drag and drop feature to mix and match to your family's preferences. But what it does have (especially to newsletter subscribers who get the detailed menu with what I serve as sides), is the framework for you to figure out how to take steps in the right direction - meal after meal, day after day, week after week.
So if you have big goals for the New Year and yet are wondering if this whole meal planning and one meal for the whole family idea will ever work, know that where you are starting TODAY is the perfect place to be. Rarely does raising healthy eaters just happen without opposition. It takes your planning, patience, perseverance, and repeatedly putting healthy foods on the table to end the year in a different, BETTER place than where you started it.
Be sure you are signed up for my newsletter! If you want the extra nudge each week to what's on the menu and how to make it work for kids with more limited lists of preferred foods, this is your best starting place. It's all free and delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Want to learn more about how "Love it, Like it, Learning it" works?
Grab your free guide here.
STEP 4: PURCHASE
What I Buy and Why:
Many of you might have noticed that last week I only spent $90 on our grocery haul! While part of that was due to some awesome sales at Sprouts and coupons I was able to use on items we bought, another reason for that was due to my buying behavior. I tend to buy majority of our animal-based products from Costco, as I find it easier than buying these items week to week. Some of our favorites are organic eggs, organic chicken, honey smoked salmon, cheeses, canned tuna, and turkey breast to slice up for sandwiches (MUCH cheaper than buying as pre-sliced lunch meat AND no nitrites!). I also buy our bread at Costco as it tends to be more cost-effective to buy there and then store the extra loaves in our deep freezer. If I am shopping at another smaller grocer the same week, I may also buy our produce at Costco so I don't have to make another trip. This supplements whatever we already have at home and growing in the garden!
STEP 5: PREP
What I Prepped Ahead:
Do you struggle with making sure YOU eat something substantial in the middle of the day? Too often, it seems our lunch becomes nibbling on the leftover scraps on our kid's plates. We spend time and attention to give them balanced meals and yet, we often forget about feeding ourselves as moms too. That's why this week as the girl's go back to preschool two days a week, I also made sure I had some "working lunches" ready for both my husband and I to have. As shown in my weekly #vvmealprepchallenge posts, I love using EasyLunchboxes (affiliate link) to pack lunches for my husband and I to have throughout the week. They are easy, portable, and leak-proof enough for either of us to toss in our work bags before heading out for the day. They also are a good size to make sure we are getting "enough" mid-day fuel, without the temptation to overeat (as may happen when ordering lunch out).
How Long it Took:
This took two hours including the time to prep AND clean up, which I always try to either do as I go or before I officially wrap up. Dividing up portions for lunches helps a ton though when it comes to having dinner-sized portions ready to put out each night with lunches packed up for the week.
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