The first step to a healthy eating plan is menu planning. It may sound like a daunting process, but planning a weekly menu and shopping list usually takes me only about 20-30 minutes or so. This is time well spent to make it easier to stay true to your healthy PCOS eating plan.
- Look at your calendar for the week. Usually on the weekends, I sit down with a cup of tea and my refrigerator notepad which lists the days of the week in columns on 81/2 x 11 paper. I use the notepad to write down the activities for the week and then I can begin planning menus. When I am finished I post the menu plan on the frig so my family knows what’s for dinner. I plan my meals around the amount of time I have to prepare them during the day and whether we have a lot of time to sit and eat around the table. For example, if my son has a 5:30 soccer game Wednesday evening, then I know that I should probably plan a simple dinner that can even be taken to the soccer field like Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas. On Thursday, I know that I am out all day volunteering at school, so I am going to put dinner in the crock-pot before I leave – Beef Daube Provencallshould work. You get the drift. I typically don’t plan breakfast and lunch. In later blogs, I will share my rotation of typical breakfast and lunch items that I eat. It takes the guesswork out because I always have these items on hand. So when I am meal planning, I typically just focus on dinner.
- Check out items you have on hand. Before I start planning the meals for the week, I take inventory of what I have on hand in the pantry and the frig/freezer. If I have some frozen wild salmon that needs to be used, I will plan a meal like Spiced- Rubbed Roasted Salmon with Lemon-Garlic Spinach recipe one day during the week.
- See what is on sale in the grocery store flyers. Also take a look at the grocery store flyers to see what items are on sale for the week. If pork tenderloin is on sale, plan to use it in one of your nightly meals. Pork Tenderloin with Onions and Cranberries is a entrée recipe.
- Make a shopping list. I have a generic list that I generated on the computer with items I usually need every week. When you have all your menus planned for the week you can then add items to your generic list so you can make this week’s recipes.
- Shop strategically. Shop on a day that works best for you. I typically shop on Monday and then pick up fresh produce and any items I might need for the weekend again on Friday. Be flexible with your list too: If you were planning on having summer squash on Monday but the asparagus looks beautiful then go with it.
- Rate your menus. In my house we have a 4 star rating system. After each meal my husband and kids rate the meal. I will keep the 4 and 3 star meals on file to use in future menu plans. Building a collection of 4-star meals will make menu planning easier. Next time I’ll share with you where I find the recipes for my weekly menu plans.