5 Ways Manna Teaches Us to Meal Plan
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mine would be bread. This involuntarily gluten-free gal loves the nutty taste of warm, crusty, whole wheat bread fresh out of the oven. It’s wholesome, it’s delicious, it’s sustainable. But bread right out of the oven doesn’t just appear magically. It takes a bit of planning, a bit of prep work, and a bit of process.
If we want to know how to meal plan according to God’s plan, there may be no better example than His provision of manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. This is the food they ate for the rest of their lives! Let’s put ourselves in the sandals of the Israelites and discover how God provides and how we get to work.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.’” Exodus 16:4-5
1 Start with thanksgiving. Give thanks for the food that sprouts up from the ground as if it had rained down from heaven itself. When we recognize that we have all we need in God, food takes its proper place in our lives as a good gift from the Father.
2. Gather according to your needs. God instructed the Israelites to daily gather as much as each could eat. First, determine what you or your family needs by asking. Ask them their schedules to determine how many meals to make and what kind. Then you can see if you have time to make soup one evening or can bring an extra meal to a new mom on another evening.
You may think your household needs gourmet meals, feeling daily pressure to reinvent the dinner wheel, but they may be satisfied with PB&J sandwiches and want to spend more time with you instead.
I always like to ask each member of the family one meal they would like for the week to keep everyone involved. The meal they choose will be the one that they participate in preparing (giving each an age-appropriate task). If my four-year-old wants macaroni and cheese one night, she will artfully sprinkle the cheese and stir the ingredients herself. If my husband wants steak, I’ll ask him to grill it. This way we all take ownership.
Everyone is more involved in the process together, and food always tastes better when you have a hand in preparing it!
3. Focus on fresh food. The manna only stayed good for one day. Since food in our fridge can stay fresh for up to a week, plan on stocking up with living food for living bodies on a weekly basis. You can make it easy by buying conveniently chopped produce, ordering groceries online and picking them up, or budgeting for a meal delivery service.
4. Be creative with simple ingredients. The Israelites only received one ingredient, manna, but ground it into flour and cooked it in a pot or made loaves. As chef Julia Childs shares from her wealth of cooking knowledge, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Think about each meal having protein and plants, and flavor with healthy fat. Switch out ingredients as you see fit, and enjoy simplicity!
5. Prep for rest day. The Israelites gathered twice as much on Friday to prepare for their Sabbath day. Nowadays, most “prep days” happen the day before the work week starts. Instead, try this revolutionary act of prepping for a day of rest.
If your day of rest is on a Sunday, prep all the food needed on Saturday so you can simply enjoy the day without worrying about food. Doing this will flip your focus for the week for rest instead of work so you can then work out of God’s rest and provision.
However you choose to plan and prepare your food for the week, do it with the confidence of knowing that God will provide exactly what you need. He did it for the Israelites thousands of years ago, and He will continue to do so today. And if you are not even sure of what you need, ask, and you shall receive!
What’s one food you could eat for the rest of your life?
What are some of your meal planning tips?
How have you seen the Lord provide for you when it comes to food choice and preparation?