Meal planning: how do I go about it?

Are you overwhelmed with the task of preparing your meals? Are you at the end of your rope and would just like to be relieved of some of the weight? Or maybe you’ve just discovered that you need to change your diet and would like to know how to go about it? Well, you’re in the right place. Light & Delight gives you tips for getting organized, drawn from years of tough experience! Keep reading, here comes the help.

MEAL PLANNING: WHY?

Everyone plans their meals to some extent. True, BUT. While meal planning can be quite practical for someone who lives alone and doesn’t want to go to the supermarket several times a week, and pretty spontaneous for families where parents work, it can become really vital when one’s diet is different because of a health problem.

If you have to cut out certain foods from your diet and introduce others that are less common, less familiar, you are bound to prepare a large share of your meals. If you look around you – in supermarkets, restaurants, home delivery services – you will no doubt notice that the standard diet relies heavily on gluten, dairy products and sugar in all forms. It is still quite difficult to find healthy and tasty ready-made meals, or restaurants that serve recipes free from gluten, dairy, or any another allergen. Not to mention that getting suitable meals delivered to your home is often simply impossible.

No matter what medical condition leads you to eat differently, meals quickly become a burden. You have to deal with them, prepare them. This burden can rapidly become quite heavy, exhausting even. This would of course depend on your personal and family situation. Indeed, you don’t plan your meals in the same way when you live alone and have a lot of free time as when you have an intense family life.

To make the task lighter, Light & Delight offers programs designed to help you whatever your situation may be. Whether you need help setting up an organisation scheme because you’ve just discovered you need to change your diet, or improving the scheme you’ve already put in place as you need more efficiency, or getting your head above water because you’re sinking and need relief as soon as possible, these programs can be of assistance.

So, which planning system is right for you?

MEAL PLANNING: HOW FAR SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?

To make it easy for you to find your own planning routine, the method that suits you best, we will consider five scenarios that should be fairly representative of the different possibilities. You should be able to easily find the one that most closely matches your circumstances. Each scenario is associated with a planning program that you can discover by clicking on the corresponding link.

Take a close look at the five scenarios to be sure to get the full picture and make an informed choice. You can change program at any time, according to your needs. What matters is that your program brings you the greatest possible relief.

Scenario 1 : the relaxed one

Situation: you live alone or with a partner. You do not have young children.

Pace of life: tranquil. You have spare time and you feel like cooking.

Planning purpose: to live a little more comfortably.

Planning tools: you plan a small part of your meals. You only use batch cooking as a backup solution. Meal plans are only appropriate if you like being organized.

Scenario 2 : the light one

Situation: you live alone or with a partner. You do not have young children.

Pace of life: rather busy. You don’t have much free time and therefore not much time to prepare meals. Or perhaps you have time to cook, but you just don’t feel like doing it every day.

Planning purpose: to keep your life full, with the activities you already have. To not let the handling of meals take up too much space.

Planning tools : you plan some of your meals, for example all dinners or all lunches. Batch cooking and meal plans will help, they are useful to get organized and deal with the unexpected.

Scenario 3 : the organized one

Situation: you have a family, with children at home.

Pace of life : balanced. You are rather busy, but you can still find a bit of free time.

Planning purpose: efficiency. You already have a lot to deal with, you need to be nicely organized so you can maintain a balanced pace of life.

Planning tools : meal plans are important to make sure you don’t forget anything and to keep track of everything. Batch cooking can help you a whole lot, especially if not everyone has the same diet at home.

Scenario 4 : the muscled one

Situation : you have a family, with children at home.

Pace of life : hurried. Between work, the kids and everything else, you are pretty busy and you don’t have a minute to spare.

Planning purpose : to not get overwhelmed. You are already operating at near full capacity. Adding an extra load by cooking multiple meals on a day-to-day basis would quickly tip you over the edge.

Planning tools : planners and batch cooking are a must. Your meal planning system has to be top notch.

Scenario 5 : the military one

Situation : you have a family with young children who need to bring their lunch to the nursery or school.

Pace of life : intense. You have toddlers or young children, plus a job. You are already going through some intense years of your life. If you add this full-time meal preparation load, burnout is just around the corner.

Planning purpose : to survivre. You’re already operating at full capacity. You simply can’t prepare all of the family’s meals without going into burnout (unless you have help, of course).

Planning tools : meal plans and batch cooking are e-ssen-tial. You need all the help you can get.

MEAL PLANNING: THE STEPS TO TAKE

Now that you’ve figured out which planning method is right for you, let’s talk about what meal planning actually involves.

Meal planning entails the following steps (some or all, depending on your situation):

Create a meal plan

Over a certain period of time (usually one to four weeks), depending on your circumstances, your needs and your aspirations. Once drawn up, this meal plan can be reused of course. Meal plans become a real system that runs (almost) automatically and is quite a relief!

You're in luck, Light & Delight offers you an online meal planning tool, plus a downloadable planner if you prefer to work on paper. All of it for free!

1

Draw up a shopping list

The shopping list matches the meal plan you designed. Whenever you reuse a meal plan, you also reuse the associated shopping list. Wow, music to your ears, right? No more worrying about it, no more spending time on it...

To help you even more, your shopping lists are automatically generated whenever you build meal plans with Light & Delight's tools, isn't that encouraging? And yes, this is also free.

2

Do your shopping

Shop for a week, or for all the batch cooking you need to do to cover two weeks, for a month, etc. The possibilities are many, but in any case once you've shopped for the meals you planned, you have little or no shopping left to do for a while. Another welcome relief!

3

Prep your food

Set aside some time to prepare certain ingredients or meals in advance, for the entire week. For example, make sure that all the salad for the week is washed, spun and stored in the fridge, thus giving yourself a better chance of eating it instead of letting it spoil at the bottom of the fridge because there simply was no time for it. You could also prepare all the children's snacks for the week in advance, so that you don't have to think about them every evening or morning.

4

Do some batch cooking

Prepare some dishes in large quantities and keep all or part of them for later (either for the next few days in the fridge, or for the next few weeks in the freezer). A great solution to get true relief, to catch your breath.

5

Freeze (if needed)

Divide the dishes you batch cooked in portions and freeze these portions so you can use them later according to your meal plan, or as a contingency solution. Freezing can mean being able to take a break for weeks, which can be incredibly beneficial!

6

A kind piece of advice

If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now (which is totally understandable) and you’re thinking “no way, this is too much for me”, then think about next week. Next month, next summer, next year. And ask yourself if you want to be handling things the way you are now when that time comes. Give yourself an honest answer.

If the answer really is that yes, it’s okay, it’s not that heavy, then no worries. You can do without this type of planning system. However, if you are still reading this page, it is probably because deep down you know that you need something else, some relief, to catch your breath.

Cast aside your fears, you will build up this planning system step by step. No one said you had to be ready tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn! Light & Delight will guide you and help you, one step at a time. And if you are really in a bind, go to the Contact section and send us a message, it’s as simple as that…

So what should I do now?

Now, visit the page of the program that you think fits your needs best. Read the tips, visit the pages mentioned, and you will see that your planning system will start to make sense. Use Light & Delight’s tools to build your meal plans and generate your shopping lists, as this process is a great investment (of time only, as the tools are free) that will do you a world of good. You can switch from one program to another at any time if you feel that it is necessary, and above all adjust the tools to YOUR life circumstances.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Your wonderful tools

coming soon

Login