Welcome to the second ever Meal Planning Challenge. The goal is to learn new recipes, to stay motivated to cook healthy, fresh meals for our families and to spend less money on eating out, or buying ingredients that we don't need. If you have not tried a meal plan, I commend you for trying something new! Or if you are joining but don't like to be "scheduled" - I commend you for branching out! This will take a bit of self-discipline and follow through and it will be worth it!
Meal Planning StrategiesThe meal plan is laid out with intention - extra ingredients from one meal can be used in the next meal or frozen for a future meal to streamline the process. This is my gifting to meal planning, as I am not a chef. The lunch menu is optional as some people simply use leftovers or are not at home during the day. The other possibility is to use the lunch menu as a dinner menu and stretch this out for four weeks as the dinner meal ingredients relate to the lunch menu. Doing the same list for two weeks means that you can make the next week meals in advance if you have time, or simply so that it is easier since it's already been done.
SubstitutionsIn my opinion, all the recipes can be easily accommodated for dietary restrictions (like wheat/gluten intolerance, vegans, dairy free, etc.) as they are loaded with veggies and not too dependant on non-veggie ingredients:
- Pasta can be replaced with: corn pasta, rice pasta, rice, or quinoa
- Wheat tortillas: corn tortillas, iceberg lettuce pieces
- Tamari/Soy sauce: Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- Wheat to thicken: arrowroot powder or corn starch
- Cheese: omitted or soy substitute
- Meat: omitted or soy alternative
FeedbackThis process is helpful for me in my personal life and profession. Questions I am looking to have answered through the process and at the end:
- Was the meal plan easy to follow
- Do/did the meals suit your family's typical eating style
- If not, was it easy to adjust
- Was it financially beneficial
- Did your two weeks feel less stressful/hectic since a plan was in place?
- How easy was it to use alternatives for dietary restrictions?
Meal PlanHere is the meal plan (recipes/ingredients to follow later today)
Lunch: Corn Chowder
Dinner: Shepherd's Pie
Lunch: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Dinner: Pesto Chicken Pasta
Lunch: Mediterranean Pasta salad
Lunch: Tomato salad with Millet Rice manna bread
Dinner: Roasted Pepper & Sausage Pasta
Lunch: Lentil Sausage Soup
Dinner: Cashew Chicken (on rice or chow mein noodles)
Lunch: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Dinner: Baked Fajitas
Lunch: Tuna Melts
Dinner: BREAK NIGHT (use a frozen meal, order pizza, go out!)