How to plan a weekly menu while eating intuitively

If you’re like most of my clients, you find yourself wondering what’s for dinner several times each week. You wish you could just wave a magic wand and have dinner served. Realistically, you would love to plan your meals for each day of the week so you don’t need to stress about or dread meal times.

The problem is that you’re not sure how to do meal prep, because looking up recipes is overwhelming and you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen. The good news is deciding what to have for dinner doesn’t need to be complicated!

Meal planning is usually seen as part of a diet regimen, but in reality, you can plan to eat what tastes good to you while providing your body with the nutrition it needs. Whether you’re brand new to Intuitive Eating or are very familiar with it, Kourtney Johnson, LD, outlines how to plan a weekly menu so you can enjoy the experience! 

Focus on simplicity

Meal planning guides often appear complicated. You’ll see perfectly organized refrigerators and color-coordinated containers stacked high. However, it doesn’t need to be like this! The key to learning how to plan a weekly menu is to keep it simple and realistic so it works for your lifestyle.

How to plan a weekly menu: Include shortcuts

One of the biggest challenges you might face when meal planning is a lack of time or cooking skills. Luckily, meal planning doesn’t need to include foods that require cooking! Here are examples of shortcuts you can use to put meals together.

  • Cooked protein, such as rotisserie chicken, chicken sausage, meatballs or already-made boiled eggs
  • Prepped veggies that have already been washed and cut
  • Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, which are picked when ripe and therefore nutrient-dense
  • Salad kits that have all the ingredients needed, including dressing
  • Microwavable rice cups
  • Microwavable baby potatoes that come with seasoning

Actual dishes you can make with these foods include:

  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Chicken tacos
  • Salads from kits, which can be doctored up with protein and other prepped vegetables
  • Stir fry with microwavable rice and veggies topped with protein and your favorite sauce
  • Spaghetti and meatballs with jarred sauce and salad

Bento Boxes are another way to fit a variety of foods into your meals. Whether you eat at work or in the car while driving to your meeting, Bento Box meal ideas include:

  • Turkey slices, crackers, cheese and carrots with dip
  • Boiled eggs, crackers, cucumber slices and strawberries
  • A Caesar salad topped with chicken, cheese and croutons with an apple and a chocolate bar
  • Tortilla chips, guacamole, cheese and black beans

How to plan a weekly menu: Think about what you like

Satisfaction is a key part of Intuitive Eating. If you finish a meal only to find that you still want other types of foods to fulfill your cravings, your meal hasn’t provided enough  to satisfy you. 

When coming up with ideas for meals, ask the food police to step aside for a moment. Consider what you truly like. Which foods could you realistically eat any day of the week? What sounds good to you? What combinations of foods are most satisfying?

a side by side comparison of perfectly portioned meal prep containers with chicken and salad and pizza slices awkwardly stuffed into old tupperware and takeout containers
Both of these can work for intuitive eating! Or, ideally, one of each 🙂

Consider gentle nutrition 

Gentle Nutrition is the last principle of Intuitive Eating, and is the idea of including a variety of foods into your eating pattern that honor your taste preferences and health. This means all foods fit, from whole grains to fruit to dessert. 

Balanced plates include a mix of food groups, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Including all three macronutrients, or food groups, can help promote fullness and satiety. They also ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients throughout the day. 

Remember that what you eat over time is what matters! No single meal will determine your health. 

A registered dietitian can teach you how to plan a weekly menu

If you are looking for individualized advice on how to plan a weekly menu, a registered dietitian like Erin can help! Whether you have food allergies to navigate, struggle to find foods you like or are dealing with anxiety around food that limits what you are comfortable eating, having Erin in your corner can make a big difference so you don’t have to figure this out alone.If you are interested in learning more about Erin’s services, request an appointment or contact her to learn more!

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