Some people fantasize about going to the market every morning to pick up their freshly picked, baked or butchered food for the day's meals. Not me. I don't have time for that, and even if I did, I've got other things to do with my time.
What to do - The Mindful Battle Plan
- Find a calendar and create spaces for breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and exercise. You can use your personal planner, a calendar with squares that you can put up for the house, a handwritten list with each day written out on it - whatever works best for you. I use my weekly to-do list.
- Fill in the meal plans you already have for the week - lunch meetings, dinners with friends, parties, whatever.
- Now you are left with the meals you have to prepare. Figure out what they will be and write them in your calendar. The people you live with can help plan since they'll be eating as well. I have a list of regular meals - for example, in the winter I usually have one night a week where I roast a lot of vegetables for dinner, and then bring it in for lunch for a couple days. I like to bulk cook so there are always leftovers - that way when I'm ravenous I can find something healthy like a boiled egg or brussel sprouts in the refrigerator. If you can't figure out what to make or you are on a budget, plan your meals by what's on sale at the grocery store or the coupons you've clipped. The sale items are often the most seasonal anyway. Also look out for the times when stores are offering double coupon days - you can double your savings! Once you figure out the weekly menu, post it so the house can see it. Whoever gets home first can start cooking. EXTRA CREDIT: Fill in your exercise for each day.
- Look at the meals you have planned and create your grocery list for the week. Organize it according to the stores you need to go to (e.g. grocery store, green market, bakery, butcher, seafood market, etc.) My mother loves a good deal, and she used to shop the sales at multiple grocery stores. Sometimes she would go to to a grocery store that had a special on broccoli and buy only that.
- Figure out what days you have to shop. I try to do the bulk of my grocery shopping on Saturday, but I usually need to fill in a couple more times during the week.
- Stop and congratulate yourself! You've created a Mindful Battle Plan for eating mindfully the entire week - no small feat. I think of it as a battle plan since armies always go into an engagement with a carefully thought out battle plan. However, war being what it is, even the most carefully laid plans shift when messy reality hits. That will happen with your Mindful Battle Plan too - things will come up, and you'll just flex around them. No big deal. If menu planning is too overwhelming, there are services that will do the meal planning for you. SavingDinner.com is one of them - it will email you a weekly dinner plan, provide the recipes, and the grocery list for a few cents a day. It also includes lots of special menu plans, for example if you are on a diabetic or low-fat diet.
- Tip: Pick the same time every week to plan. I do it on Fridays. It only takes me 15 minutes, though it might take longer since you're just starting out.
What I ate today: 1 clementine, 2 handfuls Mindful Mix, 1 piece of whole wheat bread + goat cheese, 2 hard boiled eggs, large latte, 10 oz green juice, yogurt + jam, spinach + mushroom + cheese salad, 1 c. macaroni and cheese, 1/2 bread + butter, 2 chocolate chip cookies, coffee, 3 squares of cheese, 1 multivitamin, 2000 m. Vitamin C (I feel a cold coming on), 50 oz. water
Exercise: 1.5 hours of Buddakan (active yoga), 20 min. upper body weight lifting