5 Sofia’s Ideas on Simple Meal Planning

June 22, 2010

simple meal planning.string beans.SofiasIdeas.

When I posted our June 2010 {Focus of the Month} Nutrition :: Update, I confessed that we haven’t been doing as well as I had hoped with our nutrition goals. I also claimed all the blame because admittedly, I have been lax with meal planning. So I had to remind myself of what I said back in March during Dining Simplicity week. And I quote:

“So I vow to no longer attempt 5 course meals or a new recipe every day of the week. Instead, I’ll focus on fueling our bodies with whole foods, through simple and healthful meals.”

And during Kitchen Simplicity week…

“Spending the week in the kitchen made me realize that my attitude towards cooking really is a form of perfectionism. I expect too much out of myself, put too much pressure, and compare my cooking skills (or lack thereof) to that of my mother & husband. And you know what? It turns out that my family doesn’t care about those things. Most of the time, they don’t care so much about what I’m making; they care more about the experience of cooking with a joyful (stress-free) mama, and eating together as a family.

My hope is that we will look forward to and enjoy cooking & eating as a family again, making memories out of the mundane…”

So I sat down determined to find a solution to this diet dilemma. I asked myself what I was doing differently when we were doing “better” nutritionally. Ah-ha! I had a “light bulb moment” when I realized that all I had to do was stop trying to reinvent the wheel! (I can hear my Juice Plus+ friends saying “If you try to reinvent the wheel, all you’ll do is spin yourself in a circle!“) I already know what to do, I already know what works for us because I’ve done it before and I did it for years! I did it right up until the Gestation Period! Duh, Sofia! Like I said before, leave it to me to make simplicity complicated.

And since I did say “More on that later, definitely”, I thought I’d share what I used to do, and am now doing again.  

fruit salad.watermelon bowl.SofiasIdeas

5 Sofias Ideas on Simple Meal Planning

1. Breakfast: Have a breakfast schedule.

Years ago, we had a family meeting where we decided we needed a breakfast schedule. At the time, we all had to be dressed and ready to leave the house at 7:30am, and we wanted our mornings to be peaceful. It was a priority for all of us to leave the house feeling energized and ready to change the world. And who wants to change the world when you start the day off on a frazzled foot, right? So I let the kids have as much input as they wanted, and we decided on the following:

Sunday: Special Family Breakfast (pancakes, scones, croissants, crepes, etc.)

Monday: Muffin Monday (with a side of fruit)

Tuesday: Toads in a Hole (or other egg dish ex. veggie omelette, with a side of fruit)

Wednesday: Waffle Wednesday (with fresh fruit topping or side of fruit)

Thursday: Tropical Topped Oatmeal (pineapple, papaya, mango, etc.)

Friday: French Toast Friday (with fresh fruit topping or side of fruit)

Saturday: Cereal (because we usually had an all day family fun day activity planned)

Knowing exactly what we are eating on any given day do make our mornings go a lot more smoothly. Not only do we always have the items in stock because they are on our running grocery list, but we are also able to set the breakfast table the night before, according to what is on the menu for the next day. So simple!


2. Lunch: Eat leftovers with a big green salad.

Leftovers are inevitable. What could be easier than warming them up and serving it with a big green salad? By noon, we are already well on our way to getting those 9-13 servings of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables into our bodies!

tilapia lolla rosa mustard greens.SofiasIdeas

3. Dinner: Dinner Diva to the rescue!

Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table* written by the “Dinner Diva” Leanne Ely, is a cookbook I recommend because it is the only cookbook that I have ever stuck with for longer than a week at a time. Is it the healthiest cookbook? Absolutely not. Meat is the main dish 6 nights a week. However, with every meal comes tons of in-season produce! And I am willing to bet that the recipes in there are much healthier than what most of us are eating at this time. The best part about this cookbook is that it simplifies the whole meal planning process. (More on this tomorrow.)


4. Snacks: Stock up on “green light foods”.

In addition to whole grain crackers, raw nuts, and dried fruits, we have plenty of fresh produce readily available and easily accessible for all the kids. These are all “green light foods” because they have the green light to eat these whenever they want. Plus, when we added the kids’ snack cabinet to our kitchen, it made it so much easier for everyone to prepare their own snack trays. (More on that later too.)


5. Desserts: Make it the exception, not the rule.

How did we get into the mindset that having dessert every night was normal? Um, that’d be my fault too. Yeah, the Gestation Period. But you know what? We all know better, so that’s it! We are doing better! (When you read that, try to read it with a stern voice because that’s me, putting my foot down! ) I have always been guilty of craving something sweet after dinner. But all I have to do is reach for some Juice Plus+ Gummies* or Thins* like I used to. It’s really that simple. Once again, dessert will be had but once a week in our home.

By following my own advice on meal planning, and continuing to purchase & consume as much organic and locally grown foods as possible, I am embracing Sofia’s Ideas on Simplicity, Frugality, and Frivolity… all with an Eco-Mentality.

What tried and true tips do you have to make meal planning simple?

* Affiliate link

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

The Wife of a Dairyman

Wow! Thanks for all the great tips! Looking forward to watching your progress:)


Sofia's Ideas

Well, that’s the thing about a blog, huh? Accountability and all that jazz! *giggle*

I would love to hear how you plan your meals! Especially with all those beautiful veggies you get from the farmer’s market!



These are some wonderful ideas!


Sofia's Ideas

Thanks! I don’t know why I always try to reinvent the wheel. This is what worked for(like)ever. I have issues.



I love these tips. Especially stretching the leftovers with a salad.
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Sofia's Ideas

Oh good. I’m glad you found this helpful.


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