I can't really justify a long shopping list when I have all that in the right-hand column already in the house!

I can’t really justify a long shopping list when I have all that in the right-hand column already in the house!

I confess… I’m not so great at meal planning. The biggest obstacle for me is having four people in the house who eat significantly different diets. I do try, though, and I feel like I did well last weekend in preparation for this week. So far, I’ve brought my lunch with me to work each day and, while that may not seem like a big deal, it’s an achievement for me.

To do my planning, I took a piece of note paper, folded it in half, and wrote all the major things I had on hand in the right-hand column. The list was surprisingly long, even to me… It’s easy to forget what’s in the house when it’s split between the fridge, freezer and pantry! That made it really simple to construct a list of only a few vitally important ingredients (like coconut oil – I had less than a tabelspoon left, the horror!).

What’s fascinating to me is how far you can stretch most foods if you take just a little bit of time (an hour or two of your weekend) to do this kind of review then pick the items for your shopping list with the abundance already in mind. Mindfulness leads to conscious belly-full-ness. Also, keeping in mind that simplicity is sometimes the key and complexity wins out at other times, I relieve myself of the pressure to make meals look a certain way in order to satisfy some limiting belief that “Lunch must contain a starch, a vegetable and a protien” or any other dogmatic preconceptions.

If you enjoy learning more about meal planning or could do with some valuable assistance with this task, please visit Leanne Vogel over at Healthful Pursuit – her site is full of valuable insight, advice, recipes and AMAZING photography that’ll have you pulling ingredients out of the pantry before you’re even finished reading a single post! (In my case, I’m often preparing them in my head when I read her blog over breakfast.)

Do you have any special tricks to assist you with your meal planning?