Planning meals can be a great way of improving your food choices
The other night I was making dinner. With the oven on, I decided to start making a new batch of granola for the week. As I started toasting my oats, I began grating the carrots for a salad for my partners lunch the next day.
There was a point, in all of this activity, that I thought to myself “Am I completely mad?”. Here I am simply making dinner, yet I am also juggling all these other meals. And, of course, my next question was “Why am I doing this”. Why add these extra layers of work to my meal making?
What I realised was that underneath all this activity was something important to me. I wanted to make my own cereal and enjoy it the next day. I wanted to make my own dinner using fresh ingredients as much as possible. I wanted to provide my partner with his lunch so that he wouldn’t have a dodgy sandwich from his rather dodgy canteen.
And for that, I was willing to spend some extra time in the day making and preparing meals. And over the last 10 years of looking after myself better, I have realised that eating well and looking after yourself takes time. It takes a little planning, it takes a little structuring of my week and it takes a lot of foresight.
Sometimes I have to fight for this time. Sometimes its a struggle to find this time. And sometimes I have to use the time I have to the max. Whatever is happening, I’ll use what resources I have to make this happen. This may be some tinned tuna if I haven’t had time to shop for fresh fish. Sometimes its going to the freezer for peas when I’ve run out of fresh vegetables. Sometimes its making a little extra dinner so that I can have a lunch the next day. And sometimes its getting some take out and making my own salad to go with it.
But whatever it is, it does need some sort of conscious effort on your part. I find it hard to see how people can create a practice of eating well without this. It may mean taking time out on the Sunday to do a full weekly shop. It may mean doubling or tripling recipes so that you can freeze portions for future meals.
I guess my question is – what is your plan or what is your structure? What is it that you do, or what is it that you could do, to help you manage your eating pattern in a way that feels good to you. And it may be different for everyone. I’ve had so many clients over the year with their own mechanisms that suit them or that we have worked with to find what is right for them.
Feel free to send me your experiences and, if you want any input or other suggestions around these, I’ll be happy to share them with you.