Meal Plan Monday! February 6, 2012

Happy Monday, everyone! This week’s Meal Plan Monday comes to us from Kelly of The Nourishing Home, who is also a contributor for The Better Mom.

Kelly posts bi-weekly meal plans that are always available at The Better Mom, so if you’re ever in need of some more menu inspiration, be sure to head over there for ideas!

But first, let’s learn a little bit more about Kelly and her site, The Nourishing Home.

The Nourishing Home’s Mission:

The Nourishing Home focuses on educating and supporting individuals and families who want to transform their health through eating what our Creator has supplied. We want to help spread the word about the health benefits of eating real food prepared using traditional methods by sharing helpful meal planning strategies and nourishing real food recipes that are healthy, easy and delicious!

Kelly, how long have you been cooking and eating real, traditional food?

I’ve been a real foodie for about four years now, although I’ve been interested in nutrition/healthy eating since college. For the most part, I had always steered clear of fast food and most processed foods. But it wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the book, Nourishing Traditions, four years ago that my health and the health of my family took a real turn for the better.

BB: Nourishing Traditions was what turned the “light” on for me as well! It’s been life changing for so many people.

Was there a turning point you reached that led you to this lifestyle? 

Yes, in 2007, I was diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory illness called interstitial cystitis, it literally stopped me in my tracks as the pain was nearly 24/7. Later that same year, I was diagnosed with IBS as well. I was on several RX medications and yet, I was still in constant pain and discomfort. I knew that diet played a large part in controlling these conditions, but I wasn’t sure how to further improve my diet since I thought I was eating healthy. So I spent a lot of time praying and keeping a food journal to see if I could figure out what foods seemed to trigger my pain and discomfort. I even went on an elimination diet.

That’s when the Lord led me to a new friend who was into the traditional real food lifestyle. She loaned me her book, Nourishing Traditions. I was so intrigued, I read it in a single night and immediately began the next day adopting its principles. I am SO THANKFUL to God for leading me on this pathway. Within 6 months of changing to a traditional real food diet, I was no longer in chronic pain and was able to completely go off all medications. Now, four years later, I can’t believe how much healthier and energetic I am! And of course, my whole family has benefited from eating a real food, traditional diet as well! That’s why I’m so passionate about helping others discover how eating real food, prepared using traditional methods, can truly help improve health and well-being!

Wow! What an incredible story. Food does heal — I’m so glad you are helping to spread the message!

 What are some ways that meal planning has helped you and your family?

Like most families, we’re super busy, but eating healthy is a priority! So having a weekly meal plan is a must! By taking a few minutes each week to create a meal plan, I can then focus my attention on everything I else I need to do during the week ahead, because I already know what’s for dinner each night and have everything I need to make the meals I’ve planned out. No more standing in front of the open fridge hoping for divine inspiration on what I should make for dinner and then hoping I have all of the ingredients on hand to pull it off! (Can anyone out there relate?) Meal planning truly is a wonderful strategy to help you provide a healthy, home-cooked meal with the awesome added benefit of saving time, money and stress! That’s why I spend so much time teaching meal planning and sharing meal planning principles on my FB page and as a co-author at The Better Mom.

Divine inspiration in front of the fridge — HAHA! Yes, meal planning really does help you avoid resorting to that!

 Do you have any advice for our readers for how they can get started planning their meals? 

One of the best ways to get started is to start slow. Slow, steady progress always results in lasting lifetime changes. So I encourage anyone new to meal planning to start out slow by planning just a couple of meals a week and then go from there. As you experience how beneficial meal planning is, you’ll definitely want to step it up and start planning more meals each week. I also highly recommend creating a “Master Meal List” – this is a list of all the meals you and your family enjoy. By keeping a running list of all of your favorite meals, you’ll have a handy quick-reference guide that makes creating your weekly meal plan much easier! For more information about meal planning, I have a post called, “Mastering Meal Planning” that specifically walks you through meal planning step-by-step.

Love the “master meal list” idea — no sense reinventing the wheel! If you have family favorites that everyone enjoys, it sure would be smart to keep a list of them handy for regularly scheduling into your meal plan. Perfect starting point!

Do you have any other time-saving tips for making things easier in the kitchen?

My mantra when it comes to saving time is: “Cook Once, Eat Twice or More!” This is a basic meal planning strategy that really helps you save time and work more efficiently in the kitchen. In a nutshell, you cook a double portion of something and save half for another meal. How does this save time? Well, think of the work that needs to happen to get a healthy meal on the table – there’s the preparation time, cooking time and clean-up time! If you make double of something during one cooking session, you’re being more efficient because you don’t have to repeat those same exact steps twice. Cook Once, Eat Twice or More can take two forms. You can either double an entire recipe and refrigerate/freeze half of it for a future meal. Or you can double a main ingredient in a meal and save half for a future meal that uses the same main ingredient, such as meat or poultry. For details, I invite you to check out my post, “Cook Once, Eat Twice or More.”

Genius! I definitely need to implement this one. Even if your family whines over leftovers, it would still work, because you could freeze what you make and have it much later on!

What are your favorite cookbooks and kitchen gadgets that you like to use? 

Some of my favorite cookbooks are actually the same cookbooks I had prior to adopting a traditional real food lifestyle. That’s because I love the challenge of taking favorite recipes and giving them a real foodie makeover. Last year, I decided to shift to eating a more grain-free diet, so I’ve been cooking and baking a lot with blanched almond flour and coconut flour. Two of my favorite grain-free cookbooks that have really helped me fine-tune my grain-free baking skills are Grain-free Gourmet and Everyday Grain-free Gourmet by Bager and Lass. And of course, there are so many great traditional, real food (and grain-free) blogs out there that provide helpful tips and recipes as well.

And as far as high-tech kitchen gadgets go, I’m very thankful for my VitaMix blender, Cuisinart food processor and All-Clad cookware. They really help make cooking so much easier and enjoyable. And this may sound crazy, but when it comes to common household kitchen gadgets, I absolutely adore the humble whisk – it’s such a versatile tool! In fact, I love whisks so much, I have way too many of them and I even wrote an entire post about them (LOL):

I love grain-free baking too! Coconut flour makes for delicious treats. And whisks — haha! So true that they are indispensable!   

If you could only use five words to define a healthy, real food lifestyle, what would they be?

Eating God-made, not man-made foods! (in other words, it’s about eating real food prepared using centuries-old traditional methods that allow you to reap the most health and nutritional benefits available, while avoiding overly processed man-made ‘foods’ which are devoid of naturally-occurring nutrients and lack digestive-enhancing probiotics and enzymes.)

Couldn’t agree more!

As you can see, Kelly’s got a lot of great information and encouragement to share. And some really great recipes! Here’s a screen shot of Kelly’s meal plan for this week. Click on the image to go to the site where all the links to all the recipes are posted!

Thanks so much, Kelly, for sharing your meal plan with us! I’ll be checking back at The Better Mom regularly from now on for more of those great recipes and ideas. And of course, I’m already a fan of The Nourishing Home — one of my favorite pages!

Now, it’s your turn!

To be featured in this series, submit a week’s worth of meal planning from your meal calendar — preferably with links to recipes if they can be found online, or names of cookbooks they were found in — to me by email: emily @ butterbeliever . com (minus the anti-spammy spaces.) Of course since we’re all about real, traditional food around here, your meals have got to be legit. So obviously, no toxic, fake, or super processed ingredients. If you’re not sure what counts as real food and what doesn’t, dig around here a little or just ask me.

Your weekly meal plan could be as simple as just a list with days of the week and what you’re feeding your household for each day — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hopefully even a few snacks or dessert thrown in there. Or you could get fancy, and submit an image from your meal calendar, or a spreadsheet, or whatever. We just wanna know what you eat! Oh and pictures are great too, if you have any you’d like to share.

(What’s in it for me?)

If your submission is chosen to be featured, you’ll get some goodies!

  • A free e-book. My very first e-book to be sold on the site is coming shortly, and each featured Meal Plan Monday submitter will be getting a free copy. (as soon as it’s ready!) It’ll be worth like, lots of money of course. :-P
  • 10 bonus entries into the next giveaway. Whatever the next prize giveaway is here at BB, you’ll get 10 bonus entries for free!
  • Promotion of your blog or website. You’ll of course get a link and I’ll write you a little blurb, but you could also include links to your own recipes in your weekly meal plan!

So, if you’d like to participate, send in your submissions for a chance to be featured! See you all back here next week!

[photo credit: shimelle on Flickr]

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog, including Amazon.com links. I only recommend products I genuinely love, and that I believe would be of value to my readers. Thank you for your support!

MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

7 Responses to Meal Plan Monday! February 6, 2012
  1. You ROCK, Emily! Thanks so much for this opportunity! I truly pray it helps many, many more families to enjoy a healthier real food lifestyle! Thanks for all you do to spread the word and encourage and inspire all of us! LOVE your blog and what you’re doing here at Butter Believer! Blessings! Your real foodie friend, Kelly

  2. [...] This meal plan was a featured post at: • Butter Believer’s Meal Plan Mondays [...]

  3. What a neat post! I like the ‘breakfast for dinner’ idea … I actually love breakfast, and an excuse to eat eggs, sausage, yogurt or (properly prepared) french toast for dinner is perfect for me (not to mention a huge time-saver!) I’ve added The Nourishing Home to my FB feed — looking forward to reading more about your real food adventures :)

    • Thanks, Heba! It’s great to meet you! We love Breakfast for Dinner and always plan for one every two weeks. I like to make double and then use or freeze the extra for quick and healthy breakfasts on busy morning! Blessings, Kelly

  4. Great post! And I love the EAT pad in the picture. Cute!

  5. Susan W says:

    I see you have “breakfast for dinner” too! ;-) We make breakfast for dinner also. Hmm… I only thought old folks like us did that! ;-)

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