5 Tips and Tricks to Meal Planning for the Unpredictable

YOU are awesome. You are a culinary GENIUS, a rockstar with a spatula. You meal plan each week and buy the healthiest, freshest ingredients you can find. You plan and you prep, using all of your culinary and nutrition knowledge to create healthy, delicious meals for you and your family. Pat yourself on the back, my friend…you have got it goin’ ON!

What about those days, however, when life throws you 17 curveballs and then your car breaks down? What about those days when everyone is running late and eating at a restaurant is simply not an option? What about those days when you have a flare-up of medical symptoms and creating that 3 course meal you planned for your family this evening simply ISN’T going to happen?

I’m Joanna Wilson Phillips, Culinary Nutrition Expert and founder of MenucationKitchen.com, and I’m about to be your BFF for life. Here are
5 tips and tricks

1.) Choose (and Prep) Whole, Unprocessed Ingredients


Aside from the health benefits of eating whole foods, choosing unprocessed ingredients allows you infinite flexibility. A prepped container of deseeded, sliced and diced bell peppers, for instance, can be thrown into a soup, a stir fry, an omelette…the options are endless for all ability levels.
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2.) Create Multiple Meal Options Using Key Ingredients

With meal planning, it is possible to create multiple recipes from just a handful of healing, healthy ingredients. These key ingredients can be local and in season, they can be healing for a particular illness or health condition, or they can be your absolute favorite, nutritious foods to eat—like BANANAS, NUTS, and MAPLE SYRUP, for instance.

  kitchen tip healthy ingredients

3.) Buy Local and In Season


When you create a meal plan using ingredients that are local and in season, it means that most (if not all) grocery stores and markets in your neighborhood will carry the ingredients you need. This is great when you have unexpected visitors or the kids have their friends over for dinner: Indian Veggie Stew for four can easily become stew for 8 with a quick stop at any market on your way home from work.

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4.) Include Recipes

Uh oh! Mom is running late at work and won’t be home until after 7pm! Little Jenny has a music lesson at 6.30pm and needs to eat dinner beforehand. Dad is home and has all the ingredients he needs to make dinner for the whole family, but doesn’t know where to start. If only Mom had left him a recipe….oh wait! She did! She included all the recipes Dad needs in her weekly meal plan packet so that anyone…even little Jenny… can participate in creating a home cooked meal for the family. Thanks, Mom! You rock:)

Coconutsforyou recipe

5.) Swap Meals

This may be a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: a meal plan is just that—a PLAN (and you know what they say about “the best laid plans…”). When the unpredictable happens and you’re crunched for time, swap out tonight’s 2 hour Roasted Chicken for tomorrow night’s 30 minute Almond Burger. Trust me, when the family is busy munching away on your seriously yummy creation, no one will even know the difference. Happy Cooking!

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