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Meal Plan

by Meghann on May 14, 2013

I’m trying something new this week: a meal plan.

You see, the last few weeks have been sort of crazy in the food department. I’ve never been much of a food planner and my idea of grocery shopping is just randomly throwing whatever looks good in the shopping cart. That’s all good and grand, but when I’m arriving home after a long day at 8:00pm, my creative juices aren’t exactly flowing like they used to in the kitchen.

So Sunday night I took to Pinterest for inspiration and put together a semi-meal plan for the week. Another thing I’ve noticed, I’m more into recipes lately. In the past I would get inspired just by opening the fridge and seeing what’s for dinner, now I feel like I need an actual recipe in front me to make something.

Look, I even put together a grocery list and everything!

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And I stuck to it at the grocery store! I’ve found that shopping when you’re tired with a get-in-get-out attitude helps when trying to stick with a list.

Sunday night I did a little prep work for snacks this week:

NO-Bake Oat and Nut Granola Balls

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I used raisins instead of chocolate chips and am obsessed with the way they came out. I stored half of the balls at work for snacks during the week and plan to take the rest with me to Atlanta this weekend. They’re surprisingly filling and easy to munch on. I’m a fan.

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Cranberry Walnut Paleo Granola

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Again, easy to make and highly addicting. I couldn’t stop eating it after I made it Sunday night and I’ve brought little containers for snacks this week. It’s nut based instead of oat and is low in sugar and high in healthy fats and protein.

The granola was also great with some ricotta cheese, blueberries, and strawberries for breakfast on Monday.

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Monday lunch:

  • Leftover chicken and dumpling soup
  • wasa cracker w/ roast beef and horserasish cheddar
  • 1/2 avocado

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Monday dinner:

I wouldn’t be able to make it through the week without this guy:

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The crock pot is still new to me (I didn’t grow up with one in the house and only received my first one as a wedding gift last September), but I’m already hooked. I’m constantly looking on Pinterest for new Crock Pot recipes to spice it up. I had pinned one for Slow Cooker Cabbage Stew a while ago and thanks to my nifty grocery list, actually remember to pick up the ingredients I needed to make it for dinner Monday night.

I prepped the meal before work (only I ignored the directions and instead just threw everything in the pot ‘as is’ and cooked it on low for 10 hours). I had swim practice after work, which meant I wouldn’t be getting home until after 8:00. The stew was a complete meal where all I had to do is get a spoon, bowl, and serve when I walked in the door.

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I’m not going to lie, the meal was ugly. It was brown, red, and didn’t look very appetizing. However, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This stew was good. It reminded me of a deconstructed version of stuffed cabbages my dad made when I was younger. I’ve tried making stuffed cabbages on my own in the past, but have failed. The stew version in the crock pot was a no-fail meal. I loved it.

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Told you it was ugly. πŸ˜‰

Tuesday breakfast:

Something I’d been meaning to make with my 5Lbs of blueberries…. a smoothie!

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Derek and i have a rule: no one is allowed to make a smoothie while the other person is still sleeping. I think it’s a good rule. So I filled the blender with blueberries, ice, Lemon Chobani, spinach, vanilla whey protein, and milk and waited until I heard the shower going in the next room. As soon as I was sure Derek was up, I pressed the blend button and was finally able to fill my smoothie craving. I’ll probably have another one tomorrow, too. It was good.

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Tuesday lunch:

  • cucumbers and tomatoes
  • hummus
  • wasa crackers with turkey and horseradish cheddar
  • homemade granola

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Ate at my desk while working hard.

Tuesday dinner:

Cilantro lime chicken tacos with avocado and pan fried brussels sprouted with roasted hazelnut.

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I used the recipe linked above as inspiration, but instead of making the chicken in the crock pot I made it on the stove top after work.

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The plan for the rest of the week:

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: fruit, yogurt, and granola (or maybe another smoothies? πŸ˜‰
  • Lunch: Leftover Cabbage Stew
  • Dinner: Leftover chicken and broccoli frittata

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Apple, almond butter, granola
  • Lunch: wasa crackers, turkey, cheese, pickled tomatoes and cucumber slices
  • Dinner: Out – family visiting

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Smoothie w/ granola
  • Lunch: Atlanta!
  • Dinner: Atlanta

And that’s it.

Any ideas of what to add to the menu for next week?! I hate eating the same thing over and over again, so I’m always open to suggestions.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel R. May 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I could not manage without meal planning! I only grocery shop every two weeks, so I plan out two weeks worth of meals and buy accordingly. I also love trying new recipes – out of every ten meals I make, probably eight are new recipes!

My most recent favorite is a lentil stew I found on food52: http://food52.com/recipes/21229-red-lentil-vadouvan-coconut-soup. I made some substitutions – regular lentils instead of red, spinach instead of swiss chard, light coconut milk instead of low-fat, and regular old curry powder instead of the fancy vadouvan called for in the recipe. SO delicious!!

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2 Monica May 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I’d love to see healthy slow cooker recipes. I also didn’t grow up with one, and I love mine. But – I need healthy recipes with only a few ingredients that aren’t always soup!

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3 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats May 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I have been saying for months that I want to meal plan. Maybe one day I actually will,
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..The decision Angelina Jolie and I made

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4 Christina @TheTinyRunner May 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I need to meal plan too! I have heard great things! Cilantro chicken lime tacos sounds like heaven! I have to try that!!

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5 Erin @ Loop Looks May 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm

There is no way I could function without making a meal plan for the week and shopping with a grocery list. This week’s meals include:

Cheddar Jalapeno Turkey Burgers

Chicken Asparagus Carbonara (I used the microwave for the spaghetti squash instead of roasting it)

Thai Noodle Soup

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

And regular ground beef tacos.
Erin @ Loop Looks recently posted..Blue is the Color of Hope

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6 [email protected] May 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Meal planning is a must in my house. I get all off track without it. πŸ™‚
[email protected] recently posted..A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

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7 GiGi Eats Celebrities May 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Do you like salmon??? That’s always a delicious meal addition in my mind! πŸ˜‰

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8 Meghann May 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

I do, but salmon has been a bit $$ lately.

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9 Mary May 15, 2013 at 1:04 am

I meal planned for a week not long back and it was the first time in a long while I felt truly organised in the kitchen. I need a few more slow cooker recipes as we both leave for work at 7am and don’t arrive home until gone 6:30pm. By the time I’ve been for a run I’m not feeling very inspired for nutritious dinner ideas.
P.s. That Blueberry smoothie looks amazing! πŸ™‚
Mary recently posted..First post-marathon run

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10 Rachael May 15, 2013 at 2:26 am

What is cilantranto? Is it a type of cilantro?

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11 Meghann May 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

Yep. Of the Cilantran breed.

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12 Meghann May 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

ha, just looked at the grocery list. I have no idead what I was writing there. I guess I accidentally combined two words as I was copying items for my list, but I couldn’t tell you what those were. Oh, well. πŸ˜‰

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13 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats May 15, 2013 at 4:07 am

Those lime chicken tacos sounds great! I just did a link up on my blog of new recipes I just tried from other bloggers, I highly recommend trying out the Barley & Mushroom soup (it freezes really well) and the Salsa Chicken, it is ridiculously easy and delicious too!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Trial Tuesdays #1

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14 Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife May 15, 2013 at 6:36 am

I’m definitely a meal planner and prepper now. I love not having to cook during the week! I use that extra time to workout longer!

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15 Frances May 15, 2013 at 6:55 am

Crockpots are the best! I’ve made a few things that looked gross, but tasted good too…I feel ya on that one!

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16 Amy May 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

I really love making baked sweet potatoes. I like making them in the slow cooker, so they’re ready when I get home and topping them with taco toppings like black beans, lettuce, salsa, and shredded cheese. There’s a more complete recipe on skinnytaste.com.
Amy recently posted..Hot Run

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17 Julie Wunder May 15, 2013 at 7:11 am

Baked salmon with seasoning is really easy and healthy.
You can easily add steamed or roasted veggies.
Make a double portion and use the leftover fish on a salad later in the week.
I also use Pinterest to try to plan ahead– but I get behind a lot.
It’s so much easier to eat well when you plan for it.
Julie Wunder recently posted..Fashion- Striped Skater Dress with Country Edge

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18 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed May 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

I’ve definitely gotten into the habit of meal planning!

Here’s some awesome recipes I’ve made in my crockpot recently:
http://hollywouldifshecould.net/2011/04/easy-weeknight-paleo-crockpot-recipe/
http://everydaypaleo.com/cumin-spiced-slow-cooked-pork/
http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2012/10/16/slow-cooker-italian-pork-roast/
Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed recently posted..How Many More Times?

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19 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner May 15, 2013 at 7:48 am

February’s issue of Fitness had a lot of great slow cooker meals like Coconut Curried Tofu and Spinach (I’m going to try this one soon!), Hoisin-Ginger Pulled Chicken Sliders, Moroccan Pot Roast, and Chickpea Ratatouille. I love how they weren’t all stew (even though stew is delicious). Here’s a link to the recipes if you’re interested: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/quick-recipes/dinner/easy-healthy-slow-cooker-recipes/?page=1

I love eating pita pizzas during the week because they’re so much quicker than regular pizza. A good addition to the menu!
Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner recently posted..Kitchen Staples

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20 Molly @ RDexposed May 15, 2013 at 8:16 am

Meal planning has saved my sanity!
Also, I wish I could snack on raw cherries tomatoes like you do!

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21 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian May 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

Meal planning is seriously the only way I stay sane (and on a budget). I always check out Gina’s blog Skinny Taste for some delicious and healthy meals. I also have some days where I make simple old standby’s like grilled chicken, a veg, and a starch of choice. 1 and done.
Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian recently posted..WIAW #52: A Day in The Life {What I Ate Wednesday}

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22 Katie D. May 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

I try to cook a big batch of brown rice, baked potatoes (regular or sweet) or plain pasta on Sunday and use it through out the week as a side, as a part of a casserole, stirred into a soup, etc.

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23 joelle (on a pink typewriter) May 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

Those tacos look great, and I need that Paleo granola recipe!!

I’m sort of lousy at meal planning (I just get too busy on the weekend sometimes!), but my favs to do are stuffed peppers or Paleo chili (both are on my blog), and enchiladas make great leftovers too!
joelle (on a pink typewriter) recently posted..Cleaning Out My Closet

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24 Natalie @ Free Range Human May 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

I have to make a meal plan. My OCD wouldn’t not allow me to function otherwise. Some staple meals in our house are tacos, breakfast for dinner, and homemade pizza. Those are always easy and never fail to satisfy!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Keep Moving Forward

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25 Mary Ann May 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

are you going to pick up the calories once ironman training starts? Just curious

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26 Kate May 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

This http://www.dailygarnish.com/2011/06/mexican-quinoa-with-black-beans-avocado.html is one of my go-to, I don’t know what to make for dinner meals because I usually have most of the ingredients on hand and it is so yummy. Also really easy to sub things in, I made it on Sunday and left out the tomatoes because we didn’t have any, and used chickpeas instead of black beans as thats what we had on hand. Still yummy!

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27 Ashley May 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

I’ve just recently started meal planning and I totally love it. It’s so nice to have a specific list at the store and not have to ask “what should we eat for dinner tonight?” every day. Plus there’s still a bit of flexibility in that you can always swap days around if you aren’t feeling your planned meal.

Staples in our house lately have been burrito bowls, GIANT salads (a great use for leftovers) and stir fries.
Ashley recently posted..What season is it?!?

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28 Emily May 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

Meal planning is the only way we can get in and out of the grocery story/have a less busy week. My husband and I both work long hours, so it’s nice to not have to think after work and have a plan in place. It also helps us fight the urge to go to eat when we’re feeling lazy πŸ˜‰

Looks like you had a pretty good first go at it! We always try to have one night of grilling since it’s easy prep and clean up.
Emily recently posted..Take Time Tuesday-Mom & Sister

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29 Annette @FitnessPerks May 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I love the crock pot so so much!!!!! And canned black beans. I often make my own, but some weeks, it’s canned. And corn–makes quick tacos with salsa & cheese!
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Lock Laces Review

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30 Jamie at Sometimes Healthy Living Blog May 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Wow! So impressed with the ability to plan breakfast, lunch AND dinner. For breakfast, you might be able to vary it with a quick breakfast sandwich: egg beaters in the microwave, toasted with cheese and topped with a bit of sweet jelly (if you like sweet and salty). For lunch, giant salad day is always fun. Cut up a bunch of veggies, add some leftover protein from dinner the night before and you are set!
Jamie at Sometimes Healthy Living Blog recently posted..WIAW: A First time for Everything!

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31 Sonia the Mexigarian May 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Eric asked me not to use the blender in the morning too. He says it sounds like a rock grinder. It’s true. Good idea with the meal planning. I really have to buckle down and do it.
Sonia the Mexigarian recently posted..WIAW: Emotional Eating

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32 Melissa @TryingtoHeal May 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I have yet to try meal planning because I’m always afraid that by say, Thursday, if I plan burgers, I’m not going to want burgers but maybe a stir fry or burrito! I hate not eating what I feel like, so meal planning has always kind of scared me. Glad it’s working out well this week though!

I do the same thing with the blender: no using when people are sleeping. I’ve never thought it very nice to torture someone like that…well, unless they missed their alarm and need to wake up. πŸ™‚
Melissa @TryingtoHeal recently posted..Side Note: New Realization

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33 Julie May 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I don’t like to plan day by day either…what I do sometimes is just make a list of the meals I have ingredients for. So, there is a list in the kitchen of stuff I can make so I don’t have to scrounge around and the night before I can decide what I want to make for dinner the next day. It works pretty well for us.

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34 Prathiba May 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm

What you said about needing a recipe is SO true. I started my first job a year ago and I couldn’t figure out why I had such a hard time cooking/keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. Recently, I realized that I don’t have the capacity at the end of the day to be creative in the kitchen. I solved this by pulling recipes from my favorite blogs every week and basically doing exactly what you said in this post.

Out of curiosity, what kind of lunchbox do you use? And, how do you typically plan your lunches?

Also, I would like to request another day in the life post! I loved the last one and would love to read another one!

Love your blog! And LOVE hearing about how you balance everything with the new job. You inspire me!!
Prathiba recently posted..Introducing Tucker

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35 Meghann May 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I have a lunch box by THirty-One, but I also use the small Lululemon bags they give you when you shop at their store. My lunches are usually made of left overs or a vegetable/hummus with crackers and sandwich meat and cheese. That’s my go-to for now.

I’ll work on another day-in-a-life post after I start IM training. πŸ™‚

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36 Alyssa May 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm

What is up with the way you cut that avocado? It made me smile!
Alyssa recently posted..Cooking with Wine

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37 Meghann May 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm

What do you mean? Is it not normal? πŸ™‚

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38 Laura May 15, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia :
http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/parmesan-crusted-tilapia/

Turkey and Bean Chili :
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-turkey-chili/
—> I usually use a huge can of black beans instead of the beans recommended.

Skinny Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo :
http://iowagirleats.com/2012/03/22/skinny-chicken-broccoli-alfredo/

Turkey Veggie “Messy Burgers” :
http://blog.naturebox.com/post/39321958602/turkey-veggie-messy-burgers-with-feta

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup :
http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/2012/11/27/crockpot-chicken-tortilla-soup

Isabel’s Island Chicken Marinade :
http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/isabels-island-chicken-marinade/

Pollo Asado :
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/pollo-asado/
—> We just use like 2-3 chicken breasts instead of the chicken legs. I marinade it overnight, grill it, and just eat it with mashed pinto beans and mexican rice or potatoes and a salad.

Teryaki Chicken :
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easiest-teriyaki-marinade-ever/detail.aspx

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39 Jen May 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

This sounds like such a good idea, I think I’m going to purchase a better slow cooker; my old one appears to be on its last legs =(

If you are looking for good crockpot recipes skinnytaste.com has quite a lot which are healthy but still packed with flavour. Hope this might help =)

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40 Amanda May 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I also recommend skinnytaste.com for slow cooker recipes, or any of them really. The last slow cooker one of hers I made was the salsa verde chicken and it was so easy and tasty! I also recommend the Santa Fe Chicken one!

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41 Kim May 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

My mother-in-law serves cabbage stew like that over mashed potatoes, it is AWESOME! Tastes just like stuffed cabbage πŸ™‚

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42 The Many Thoughts of a Reader May 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm

For an easy start I throw chicken in the crockpot with diced tomatoes and green chile. Amounts depend on what you want to do with it. But we turn it into dinner over baked potatoes, tacos, over rice, over mashed potatoes, with tortilla chips or on it’s own. Delicious. You can also add black beans in with it.
The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted..Group Read Updates

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