The Secret to a Satisfying Meal Plan
Keep it simple.
“Meal prepping is easy!”—Doug the Pug
I think Doug is on to something.
We eat about three times a day. That’s three separate occasions we are confronted with the question, “what should I eat?” Meal prep is supposed to help with that question, but I think it can be more of a stressor than a solution. Not everyone has the time to chop vegetables for hours, or to plan out wholesome, budget-friendly, tasty food for every meal of the day.
Don't get crazy
A friend recently told me her husband eats the same thing for lunch every single day: a sandwich, crackers, and an apple. “Simpleton," I snickered on the inside.
I say this as if my methods are any better:
- Check the schedule.
- Take inventory of pantry.
- Cross-check list with coupons.
- Ask hubby for special requests.
- Scour Pinterest boards and Instagram feed for inspiration.
- Clean out fridge and make room.
- Schedule a time to go shopping.
- Shop with toddler who eats granola bars and samples for lunch.
- Sit down.
Are you tired of reading yet? Seems like I can learn a thing for two from my friend and stick with a turkey sandwich for lunch and call it a day.
Yes, take pleasure the celebratory gifts of extravagant melty cheese, rich frosting, and perfectly crispy crust. Enjoy expressing your meal creativity. But let’s not make every day food more complicated than it has to be. Keep meal planning simple for your own sanity.
Start with a Satisfied Heart
What did the Israelites eat in the wilderness? Manna. One ingredient. One food. That’s all God gave them because that’s all they needed (Exodus 16:4).
And they complained.
So He gave them meat, so much meat they couldn’t handle it (Exodus 16:7).
Likewise, we have so many food options we can’t wrap our brains (or stomachs) around it all. We hire meal services to do the work for us or look longingly in the fridge, hoping for meals to make themselves. Even though we have food in the kitchen, our appetites are never satisfied.
Let us be satisfied in the Lord's provision and be good managers of our daily bread.
Simple Meal Planning Tips
When my husband and I worked at a Young Life camp in the Dominican Republic, we were given rice and beans to eat for a few of the meals. They were so delicious that when we returned home, my husband said I didn’t need to meal plan. We could just eat rice and beans every day. He was satisfied in the simplicity. And it sure would save us a lot of money!
Now, of course, we can get too lazy and throw pizza and donuts in a to-go dish, but that’s not how the Lord would want us to steward our bodies every day. God delights in order, and a little forethought for our meals can free us up to serve Him in other ways. Here are a few practical ways to keep meal planning and prep simple and healthy:
- Shop seasonally according to the farmer’s market wares.
- Buy whole foods: one-ingredient items, no package required. Ex: an apple, a chicken, a head of broccoli. Focus on plants.
- Shop and prep according to your schedule.
- Weekly: Shop one day, then prep and cook another day.
- Weekly split: Shop one day, prep one day, then cook as needed.
- It’s okay to eat the same thing. There’s no shame in eating a salad or power bowl every day. Mix it up if you want, but don't make it a requirement.
- For shortcuts, consider portion-sized meal prep containers (glass for re-heating) for at-home meal prep, or services like Gobble.com which preps all the ingredients for you and delivers them to your door.
Do you have any tips or suggestions?
Do you delight in creating recipes, or do you like to keep things simple?
If you’re still struggling and need somebody to walk you through this, please join my 30-Day Whole Body Challenge. It’s a free plan (for a limited time) where I provide you with whole food recipes, whole body workouts, and set you up with a plan to read the whole Bible to see lasting transformation. You will also get access to our Facebook group with fresh ideas, support from others, and video messages from me! Hope to see you there.