One of my favorite shows is called the “Food Nanny.” On this show, Liz Edmunds, a mother to many children, goes to the homes of families and teaches them how to plan, prepare, and make yummy, delicious meals so that families can enjoy dinner time together. Although she is not a gluten-free chef, she has some great recipes (that I will probably be sharing and mentioning on this blog) that are easy to make GF/DF (gluten-free, dairy-free) AND some fantastic meal planning philosophies.
To fill out the Nanny Plan, simply pick a food theme for each night of the week (for example, Monday is “Comfort Food,” Tuesday is “Mexican,” etc). Themes are great because they focus your meal planning efforts AND create traditions that you and your family can enjoy (“Mom, I love Pizza Fridays!”). Once you have your themes selected, you go through your recipes and pick which ones to cook up for the next two weeks.
Time to get real for a second. My family and I struggle eating leftovers. For some reason, heating them up in the microwave (especially meat) scares us to death. To save money and time, we usually plan to eat the same meal for two nights (say chicken tacos for Tuesday and Wednesday). We get enough ingredients to prepare the meal twice, and any leftovers from the night before (say Tuesday) get thrown in the oven or on the stove with the fresh ingredients (on Wednesday). When we site down to eat, the fresh and leftover ingredients are hard to distinguish because mixing them together seriously makes them all taste fresh! It’s true magic.
After you have filled out your Nanny Plan, you can use the second print out sheet to write out all the ingredients you will need for the next two weeks and then go grocery shopping for those two weeks. My family and I struggle with shopping for the whole two weeks because we like our produce to be fresh (see paragraph above ;D). So, my family is not able to go to the grocery store only once per two weeks, but it’s still a lot easier to go to the store during the second week with a meal plan and shopping list prepared!
Some of the other Food Nanny philosophies that I have enjoyed are to eat fish or vegetarian meals twice per week to give our bodies a little rest from meat, and she also encourages you to make only 5 meals per week (with those extra 2 days set aside for eating out or eating leftovers). I REALLY appreciate this philosophy because there are weeks when we cannot get to the grocery store on the day we need to or have an unexpected thing come up, and I do not have to worry about food spoiling or making dinner on a stressful day because I have already planned/budgeted to eat out for two times that week. Any meals I had planned for that night simply get pushed to the next night (meal planning for the win).
For more info on the Food Nanny, visit her website here. You can watch her show on BYUTV (chances are good that I’m watching it, too).