Meal Planning

I am following Melanie as she works through her Real Food Experiment for this coming year.  Since I have been wanting to change some of my eating habits and the overall food habits of our family, I am looking forward to using her experiments as a starting point for me to take some steps of change for myself.  

The first experiment Melanie is doing is meal planning.  I had initially thought that I might not do anything with this particular experiment, after all I meal plan our suppers and have for quite a while. It works well for me, and I do not see a need to change the way I am doing meal plans.  

However . . . .
 . . . shortly after I read her post, I went to prepare lunch . . . and as I debated what to make for me and my toddler, it hit me!  

I can meal plan my lunches!! 

Now before you laugh or "well, of course!", I feel I should mention a few things about the way I work in my kitchen.  
  1. Up to now, meal plans have been largely restricted to supper meals.  I started them as an organizing tool and since supper was the hardest meal for me to manage that is where they brought the most noticeable result.
  2. As I reviewed my eating habits in preparation for following Melaine, one of weaknesses in my current diet and habits is lunch.  It is often not very healthy and there are times when I don't really eat it all, just snack my way through the day.  YIKES! 
  3. My children are very particular about what and how they eat.  (I know this is a situation developed by our parenting practices, but that is for a different post all together.)  Often lunch is a little of this and a little of that with hopes there is something at the table they will eat. Not good, I know, and I as a parent what to help change the situation we have created for ourselves.  
  4. I am comfortable in my kitchen . . . exactly the way it is!  The idea of changing things is slightly terrifying.  I am motivated to help us eat healthier and to personally grow in my food knowledge, but it is still scary to me.  Baby steps, tiny little baby steps - and what better place to implement my baby steps then in lunch and snacks.   

So here I go . . . meal plans for lunch!  There are a variety of meal planning printables that I have discovered over the year plus that I have been planning suppers.  Melanie created her own that she shares here.  Several others that I have found are: 
My personal favorite, which I discovered only recently is from Confident Mom. She has it as a part of her Confident Mom Planner ebook. The layout is simple, yet detailed enough.  And she has the ability to have my grocery list with my meal plan and it not be too cumbersome for the side of the fridge (where my lives) or the grocery store (for of course you meal plan must go with you when you shop).  She added some pretty artwork to it as well, which makes it enjoyable to look at.  

There are electronic systems as well (E-meals and Plan To Eat), but the only one I have really looked at is from Cozi. I hesitate to pay for something that to date, I have been able to do very well myself.  And since I do not use a smart phone or tablet (gasp!) I found it difficult to use an electronic meal plan app.  I am still more of a paper person in this area.  

I am a bit nervous and yet excited about seeing how meal planning my lunches will affect my diet and overall control of my all day eating habits.  Since I usually do my meal planning over the weekend, I'll have a better feel for things come Monday.   Here I go . . .