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Allie Peach is an artist, serial entrepreneur, mom of two, and meal planning expert. The services and teaching she offers in the kitchen are designed to empower women to cook more real food at home.
Allie’s cooking expertise is built on an early foundational love for food and for the experience of a shared meal. She strives to leave a legacy of family meals and real food for the next generation.
When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find Allie working as a freelance Creative Director and designer.
Find her on Instagram @thealliepeach and @alliepeachdesign
REAL TIPS FOR MEAL PLANNING
- Define what success looks like for YOU.
Once you define what success means for you -- whether it be to eat less meat, or to cook 5 meals at home in a week, or to keep your grocery bill under $200 for the week, or maybe all of those things! You’re already giving yourself an advantage toward reaching your goals. Make your meal planning goals clear, and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
- Strive for better over Perfect.
We often intimidate ourselves away from meal planning before we even get started. Pinterest, Instagram, and fad diet celebrities show us unattainable pictures of perfection and systems that are more work than necessary. In order to sustain a meal plan, embrace the fact that not every planned meal has to look like a gourmet Pinterest recipe.
So, what does that look like in real life? For us, it often looks like tossing a bunch of roasted veggies and a grain in a bowl, topping it with some kind of sauce or dressing and calling it dinner. If you want to get fancy, you can call it a “buddha bowl”. It doesn’t have to be fancy or gourmet to be GREAT.
- Prep ahead
The best thing you can do to sustain a meal plan is prep ahead. My favorite way to get ahead is to prep as much as possible As soon as I get home from the grocery store. What I do is set aside 90 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday to chop and roast all of the vegetables I’ve purchased. It makes it so much easier to assemble a meal in 5-10 minutes, rather than having to start from scratch every single time you go to cook something and end up spending 30-45 minutes
- Take Inventory.
The game changer in our house was this one simple step that we started doing before I even began to make a meal plan or write a grocery list. In the most basic sense, it’s finding out what’s left over in your refrigerator and your pantry and then starting to think about how those items can be used in the week ahead. It seems obvious, right? But how many of you actually look in your refrigerator before you start meal planning? There’s so much great stuff in there that can become the starting point for a meal. If you think about meal planning as if you’re trying as hard as you can to use up the stuff you’ve already bought FIRST, there are a few awesome things that happen.
First, you’ll have less stress about coming up with a plan.
Taking inventory takes the guesswork out of choosing recipes. It’s easier to know what types of things you can and should cook in the week ahead, rather than having an infinite number of possibilities of things you could cook. That way, you aren’t too overwhelmed by the thought of choosing a recipe out of thin air to even get started.
Second, you’ll save money.
I know you get sick of tossing half-a-container of spinach or fresh herbs that you never used up, just because they sat in the fridge too long. Seeing those things as the spark of an idea for a meal means you don’t have to toss them out. It shortens your grocery list. Not having to start from scratch on a new ingredient list every week makes the savings add up quickly. I think of it like saving money twice. Not only are you using up produce you’ve already spend money on, thus sparking a whole other meal, but you’re also saving yourself more money by not having to buy a pizza or all the ingredients you would need for a whole new meal from the grocery store.
Finally, you’ll accidentally eat healthier.
Now, I don’t have to tell you that meal planning in and of itself really helps to keep a healthy diet on track. But again, if you try to use up all your vegetables before thinking about buying other stuff, what’s going to happen? You’re going to eat more vegetables! I don’t know how many times I end up with half a container of baby spinach or a bag of carrots, or 3 potatoes, or half a head of cabbage leftover. Instead of looking over that stuff and starting from scratch with a new plan for the next week, taking inventory means you’ll prioritize those ingredients, again, that you’ve already bought -- and those veggies will “accidentally” become the driving force for a new meal.