Wondering how to plan your gluten-free meals? Tired of throwing together whatever you have with no plan in sight. Let me teach you about gluten-free meal planning.
Today, once my two older children were off to school, I had 5 minutes of sipping my green tea in quiet before my little guy awoke for the day.
We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of oatmeal and fruit together and then whipped up some of our favorite Chocolate Banana muffins. Yum!
I then prepared two dinners – lentil stew, a super-fast and easy dinner to pull together, and a beef and veggie bake, a recipe I tweaked from Mickey Trescott’s Auto-Immune Protocol. Also delicious!
I was able to sit and read with my little guy as one dish simmered on the stove, and the other baked in the oven. I was at peace knowing how much I had completed – dinner for two nights plus left-overs – in just a little bit of time.
As a busy mom and gluten-free family, I am always pre-planning our meals. Truth be told, we definitely wouldn’t be eating healthy meals every night if I didn’t follow a plan.
Gluten-free meal planning is a must!
Planning your meals is a big step in keeping your family on a healthy path. It is a very important step if you are living gluten-free. It ‘s not always easy to run errands, drop kids off here and there at activities, and grab a healthy gluten-free meal on the spot.
Typically, many families return home around dinner time, often running out again right after eating. So, with no time to cook, what is one to do?
Start Gluten-free Meal Planning!
Being gluten-free, it is important to pre-plan your meals, especially on busy days. But, in reality, I am not just a gluten-free mom. I am a typical busy mom running our kids all over just like you.
Without pre-planning, you won’t be putting healthy, satisfying dinners on the table to nourish your family. As much as the temptation is to stop at the nearest drive-through window to grab dinner – just resist.
First of all, it’s not healthy, and secondly, it becomes tricky for gluten-free eating. There’s too much cross-contamination in most of the fast-food places if they even offer gluten-free items. I honestly choose not to feed fast-food meals to my family on a regular basis. (This is really a whole other discussion of what is happening to America with its SAD – Standard American Diet today).
Since cross-contamination, along with unhealthy meals is a huge issue for gluten-free living, let’s get you out of the fast-food places and put meals on your table.
“HOW?” you ask.
Set up your gluten-free Meal Plan!
Let’s look at Meal planning:
List out your favorite meals:
First, list out your favorite meals, possibly ones you already make. If you don’t have any set recipes, look through some cookbooks or google simple gluten-free dinners (I also have a bunch right here on my website or here in Pinterest.
Plan your meals by your schedule:
Plan your meals by your schedule. For very busy weeks, plan a prepared dinner for the busy nights with limited preparation or cooking for that day. Other days, plan time to cook. Definitely consult your family schedule before you plan your meals so you know which days you need a meal already prepared, and when you may choose to cook. Do what works best for you and your family.
Choose the recipes for your meals:
Choose the recipes for your meals and fill them into your calendar. Planning by the week works well, or you can plan the whole month if that works better for you. Think about left-overs and reusing them to create new dishes the following days, either for dinner or lunch. For example, if you boil a whole chicken, make chicken soup for one meal, use the extra chicken meat to create chicken sandwiches or use in a chicken stir-fry. You can get very creative here.
Check for ingredients:
Check for ingredients you have to prepare the meals you want for the week. Then create your shopping list to buy what you do need. You can also reverse this step, and plan your meals by what you already have at home.
Schedule shopping and cooking times:
Check over your calendar and schedule when to go grocery shopping, and when to cook. If you can easily cook at mealtime, great! If you are busy running around, then plan a couple of hours to batch cook, (learn about that here) or prepare your meals ahead of time, so you are ready to get dinner on the table when you return home.
Choose the right time:
Choose a time you know you can concentrate on just cooking, no interruptions. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish!
You can start with just dinners, or plan all meals and even snacks.
If you are just starting this routine, start with dinners. Once you feel good with this routine, add in lunches and then breakfast if desired – whatever works best for you.
The important part is to start!
Dinner is Done!