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Do you ever feel even the smallest amount of stress when you're trying to figure out what to eat? I don't like having to think about food too much. I like to jot down what we'll eat and look forward to the meal, but anything beyond that tends to fall into the mental clutter category for me. Four years ago, I started blogging and sharing meal plans. When I'd make menus to share, I found that I enjoyed planning evening meals most. I knew I'd have a little more time to prepare the meal, and a little more time to sit and enjoy it with my family. I love to find shortcuts, and this simple meal planning method feels like the ultimate shortcut.
Breakfasts and lunches shouldn't be rushed, but they often are! A recent Trim Healthy Mama podcast recommended slowing down while you eat, and I've been trying. But I've found that the simpler I make those meals, the easier it is to stick to the plan with little hassle.
I use blueprints to plan every meal, and I thought this little tip will be helpful for you, too!
I'll be talking about three different ways to use a Meal Plan Blueprint – with breakfasts and lunches, with weekly dinners, and with your dinner plate. Today we'll tackle the first one – breakfasts and lunches.
The simplest and easiest way to plan breakfasts and lunches is repetition.
Despite it's…er, repetitive nature, I've never gotten bored eating this way! If you've used my menus in the past, you've probably seen that I repeat breakfasts and lunches in a pattern (or following the blueprint, if you will).
Here's an example of our breakfast blueprint this month:
Mondays: Bagels (store-bought for the kids, this low-carb recipe for me and my daughter with Celiac disease) (THM S)
Tuesdays: veggie scramble (I chop and sauté double the amount of mushrooms and zucchini so I can reuse the rest on Thursdays) (THM S)
Wednesdays: THM Stovetop Granola from the THM Cookbook (E)
Thursdays: veggie scramble (THM S)
Fridays: protein shakes (THM S)
Saturdays: triple batch of Trim Healthy Pancakes from the THM Cookbook (I triple it to use half of the recipe for Sunday) (E)
Sundays: Trim Healthy Pancakes and bacon (XO) I used to stick to something really fast and easy for Sundays, but I'm switching to a more elaborate breakfast after reading (well, listening to) the Life Giving Table by Sally Clarkson. I've found a planned, sit-down breakfast on Sunday mornings seems to soothe the chaos and has actually helped us get out of the house on time for church. But by pre-making the pancakes and sometimes the bacon on Saturday, I cut down on a big mess of dishes after our Sunday breakfast is done.
The point of this blueprint is that every Monday we eat the same thing. There's no squabbling or wondering what there is to eat. We've eliminated the six-breakfast mess, as I like to call it, that accumulates when six different people want six different breakfasts. I'm able to plan ahead and pre-cook a few things to save time, too!
Here's our lunch blueprint this month:
Mondays: Whoop Whoop Soup from Trim Healthy Table (S)
Tuesdays: sandwiches on Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table with veggies and ranch dressing (S)
Thursdays: homemade pizza (gluten-free crust for kids and THM crust for me) (S)
Fridays: sandwiches on Blender Bread from Trim Healthy Table with berries and boiled eggs (S)
Saturdays: beans and chips with a bit of shredded chicken breasts (E) (it's a more casual day, so this is more of a DIY meal – I'll heat two cans of black beans with 1 can of mild Rotel, add about two teaspoons of cumin and one teaspoon of chili powder, and that's it!). The kids have the giant cheap bag of tortilla chips from Costco and I'll have a few baked tortilla chips and some collagen tea with mine.
Sundays: salad – I pre-chop the veggies and add whatever cooked meat I have from leftovers throughout the week. (S, or E)
As you think about your meal plan for next week, think about ways to simplify! Try this simple meal planning method and plan to repeat breakfasts and lunches – it can help you save money by shopping in bulk for the month, too!
I've done the meal planning for you!
I'll send you free meal plans and shopping lists! All gluten-free, all sugar-free, and all work for THM.