Sunday, October 19, 2014

Save Time With Meal Mapping

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meal planning and creating a plan. How if you don’t make a plan, you are planning to fail. And while that may indeed be true (I know it has happened in my life), I do understand that life is BUSY. We are on the go. We have places to go, people to see and things to do.

But that doesn’t mean your health has to take a back seat! Recently while I was researching some new ideas to share with my challenge groups, I came across a pretty stellar idea for meal planning called “meal mapping.”

My organized, detail oriented brain revolted at the idea at first. But after I shared it with my group and the more I thought about it, the I thought, hey, this could actually be really great.

So what is meal mapping? Well, to the detail oriented person, it can look a little like chaos at first. It’s just a different method of meal planning with a little more flexibility and a little less rigidity.

What you do is grab a pen and paper. Got it? Now. Write down seven dinner ideas on this paper that you want to have for the week. Just anywhere you want on the paper. Scatter it around, write it in a circle, or even in a line if you want.

The idea is to write down your main dinner ideas, and from there you can pick and choose which dinner you want to create that night, thus allowing for more flexibility in your planning. You are still planning for all of your meals, but they aren’t restricted to a certain day.

I have tried this method for the past three weeks, and really enjoy it! Since we use our dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, this was a great idea. We also tend to rotate through the same breakfasts or snacks throughout the week, so not much additional planning was needed there. Dinner was always the big one, and one that did change sometimes.

I got tired of creating lots of lines and filling in the box, so I gave this a whirl and it’s worked out great! I also create a little section that I entitle “breakfast” where I put our breakfast options to rotate through, Shakeology, smoothies, muffins, omelets, and maybe even a special pancake breakfast for Zach. I also create a little spot for snacks, and write down things like: veggies with hummus, smoothies, yogurt. This allows for proper planning, but flexibility!

So, if you are looking for a new way to meal plan, or just getting started with meal planning, give meal mapping a try! It’s simple, easy, and flexible. Take your biggest meal of the day and plan around those. For us, that was dinner, because we got our lunches from that as well, but it can vary from person to person. Or you could try meal mapping for all three meals of the day if you want something different!

What’s your favorite way to meal plan?

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