I like to cook, but I don’t like to stay in the kitchen all day. When I got married, I worked full-time and time at home was extremely limited. I transitioned to staying at home, but there’s still so much to do with caring for the household, pursuing entrepreneurial ventures with my husband, homeschooling, and working on my passion projects. I pray for all who work away from home, go to school or both and maintain a household. It’s a lot of responsibility!

Working at home frequently causes my days to be unpredictable. I’ve been guilty of last minute scrambling about meals or opening the refrigerator to find barely anything to put together because I hadn’t shopped. Even if your commitments cause you to eat most meals away from home, you still have decisions to make about eating. What I’ve discovered is planning is half the battle! My family typically eats three meals a day with snacks between. I’m forever searching for inexpensive ways to make healthy, hearty meals with little preparation time.

Quick eats is all about narrowing down options for everyday meals. These meal planning tips and starting points have helped me cut down on time and money. I’m also less frustrated about what we’re going to eat, and we eat out less. Take a look and be inspired to make a plan that works for you.

QUICK EATS Meal Planning Tips

  1. Research & use time-saving recipes, especially those with the least or simplest ingredients.
  2. Plan around a few options for every meal and snacks, and then rotate them every other day for a week at a time. If planning to eat out, be sure to budget for those meals and make note on your meal plan for the occasions. If you usually cook for others, plan for things they can make sometimes to lighten your cooking load.
  3. Take inventory of what you already have and then make a grocery list of other staples and special items needed for the plan. Be prepared with alternates if planned items are out of stock.
  4. Watch for grocery sales, coupons, reduced prices, discontinued items discounts & special offers on in-season foods.
  5. Read expiration dates, labels and aim for items with the purest ingredients and least additives.
  6. Stick to the grocery list, budget & plan.
  7. Prep and precook what you can. Store in fridge to save time and energy at mealtime.

KEEP IN MIND: When life happens, it’s okay to let yourself off the hook & improvise if needed!

QUICK EATS Starting Points

BREAKFAST

  • Dry cereals
  • Oatmeal or grits
  • Quinoa or rice
  • Whole or sprouted grain bread
  • Biscuits
  • English muffins
  • Bagels
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Muffins or Breakfast Pastries
  • Breakfast toast with toppings
  • Breakfast Tacos or Burritos
  • Vegetables (regular or sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions)
  • Fruits (apples, berries, melons, citrus, tropical, avocado)
  • Eggs (scramble, boil, fry, poach)
  • Omelette, frittata, or quiche
  • Breakfast scramble or casserole
  • Breakfast sandwich
  • Uncured bacon, ham or sausage
  • Wild caught salmon or shrimp
  • Cheese (sliced, cubed, shredded)
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Smoothies
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Real fruit preserves
  • 100% Maple Syrup
  • Honey or Agave Syrup

LUNCH

  • Sandwiches or wraps (bread, flatbread, tortilla, or lettuce)
  • Salads (meat, vegetables, eggs, cheese, pasta, fruit)
  • Pickled, fermented or brined vegetables
  • Rice/Noodle/Grain Bowls
  • Soups
  • Lunch Box/Tray (meat, cheese, crackers, veggies, fruit, dips)
  • Lean meats, tuna, baby shrimp, sardines or smoked oysters
  • Leftovers

DINNER

  • Meat/Fish + side dishes
  • Vegetarian or Vegan Meals
  • Protein-packed salads
  • Hearty soups, stews or chili
  • Stuffed potatoes
  • Sandwiches or Burgers/Sliders
  • Pizza – traditional, flatbread or cauliflower crust
  • Pasta dishesCasseroles
  • International Cuisines
  • One Pot or Sheet Pan Meals
  • Theme Meals
  • Favorites or Comfort Foods
  • Kids & Spouse Cook Meals

SNACKS

  • Popcorn
  • Crackers
  • Rice Cakes
  • Pretzels
  • Chips (corn, kettle, whole grain)
  • Tortilla chips & salsa
  • Hummus & pita or pretzels
  • Veggies & yogurt dip or hummus
  • Cheese/meat & crackers
  • Cheese/meat & fruit
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Nut butter & apples
  • Nut butter & crackers or pretzels
  • Fruit (fresh or 100% juice-packed)
  • Dried fruit or veggies
  • Yogurt with fruit, nuts/seeds or dark chocolate chips
  • Smoothies
  • Cereal Bars
  • Dark Chocolate

BEVERAGES

  • Water
  • Infused waters (citrus, melon, cucumber, berries, herbs, apple cider vinegar)
  • Natural mineral waters
  • Herbal Teas
  • Green Teas
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juices
  • Reed’s Ginger Beer
  • IZZE Sparkling Juices
  • Kombucha
  • Milk
  • Kefir

DESSERTS

  • Fruits
  • Baked goods
  • No-bake desserts
  • Frozen desserts/treats
  • S’mores

EVERYDAY MEALS PLATE GOAL

Meat, fish, or other protein (25%), grains (25%), vegetables & fruits (50%), dairy (1 serving) & healthy fats/oils

Featured in Regal Heart Magazine, Issue 4. Check it out at www.regalhearts.com

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