May 2, 2011

Month of Meals: May 2011

I've written extensively on the benefits of meal-planning on your health, your wallet, and the ability to try new foods. I had been planning weekly meals and decided to put this together (and hopefully improve it some).

The extra prep column is meant to be for tasks that can be performed a day ahead of time (such as planning to soak and cook beans - a vital food to vegetarians, or could be used to prep veggies that can be used later in the week. In this way, soak beans in plenty of water, leave them out all day, and then cook them when you get home as you start prepping dinner. You can cook a bit batch of them and use them in meals the rest of the week. The list of meals can help you grocery shop and reduce purchasing things you already own. Include kids and other family members by getting input on what to eat. To find recipes, I use cookbooks, blogs, magazines, or try to recreate several meals that I enjoy in restaurants.

Lettuce and fresh greens based salads are easy tasty ways to include more servings of veggies without much effort. I usually add nuts, radishes, chopped tomatoes, onions, or peppers and toss with some olive oil and vinegar (e.g. a fig or raspberry vinegar). Planned meals can help you try new foods, or help you include servings of foods from food groups that may not make it on your dish every day.

If you stray from this (as often one does) just get back to it. This is a general framework that has helped me buy groceries, balance my budget, utilize the pantry, try new foods, and overall plan meals so I don't have to spend much time thinking about it during the week.

I've included links to the recipes I used; I will update with a pdf once I figure that out.  Don't hesitate to let me know how I can improve this (or what your thoughts are). and p.s: I didn't know I could publish spreadsheets through Google Docs! How cool!


  1. Ah, Nilam, if only I were this organized...Seriously, I admire this so much. You know what, maybe I should give it a go for a month and see how it works. Right now if you mapped our food habits, it would look something like this: spaghetti, stir-fry, spaghetti, cold sandwiches and boxed soup, spaghetti, whatever we can find in the cabinets, spaghetti.... We eat a lot of spaghetti.

  2. Sounds like you have a good plan, mostly throwing together quick meals, isn't that the point? It's way better than eating out all the time!

  3. How interesting that you should post about meal planning since I've been thinking about doing that. Maybe this is a sign from the universe.

    Each day recently I've been winging it, hoping that I've got the right groceries to put together a complimentary dinner, since I don't have the time to devote to cooking proper meals. Planning things on my days off and prepping the vegs would make a big difference.


  4. Jai, hope it's helpful to you. Let me know how it works out for you. Neeli

  5. Nilam, if June at your table is going to be only half as fantastic as May looks like it was, then I want to be part of that!

  6. thank you!!!!! I am going to make all of these. They don't have enough calories for a breastfeeding mom but I'll supplement with stuff. I am just so happy to have a few weeks planned for me and all i have to plan are my other 3 meals of the day. Maybe i'll work to expand your chart to include lunches? :-) Thanks!