Well, here we are. Our family is nearly 2 weeks into quarantine (“stay at home”) and we are surviving! It’s been an adjustment though! Sometimes it’s hour by hour. Can you relate? I have noticed differences in the ways that I meal plan. I have also heard about many new challenges that are arising for my clients during this time. To name a few… People are more conscious of food waste, eating more on a “budget”, more emotional eating due to stress/anxiety/boredom and trying to maximize meals from the foods on hand (i.e. less trips to the grocery store). I have been thinking about this A LOT lately and wanted to pass along some tips! Not all of these will resonate with you, but take a look and see if 1 or 2 of these may work during this uncertain time.
Stay the f home and be safe!
Meal Planning Tips During a Quarantine:
- Write it down! When you PLAN, you are much more likely to follow through. Planning ahead and writing meals down also manifests your destiny! You don’t need anything fancy-a piece of paper taped onto the countertop or a menu on the fridge will work great. There are also helpful meal planners (I give all my clients the one pictured above) or this one on Amazon.
- Plan around perishables. You can reduce food waste by planning around what’s close to “going bad” or expiring. For example, do you have a bag of spinach that’s about to turn slimy (the worst, right?) or some chicken breasts approaching the “best by” date? Plan around that! Save the canned beans and frozen pizzas for later (see number 7).
- Make a hash or a stir fry. Chop up any and all veggies in your fridge and sauté them in a wok or fry pan. Add some lean protein such as shredded chicken, shrimp, cooked beans or lentils or cubed tofu. Or make it a veggie hash and add a poached or fried egg on top. The runny yolk makes a delicious sauce! This makes for an easy lunch or dinner AND is great leftovers!
- Order groceries. If you haven’t tried online grocery ordering, NOW is the time! However, ALL of the delivery/pick-up options are slammed right now due to COVID-19. Expect for there to be some delay in delivery/pick-up times. Here are a few of my favorites: Clicklist from Fred Meyer, Instacart (Costco, Total Wine and More, Safeway, Natural Grocers, Petco, and MORE), Walmart, Target, Safeway, Albertsons, Rosauers. THANK YOU to all the grocery workers, shoppers, truck drivers and delivery people making this possible right now!
- Make grain bowls. Making a big ‘ol grain bowl is super simple and allows you to use up produce on hand. Here’s the recipe: Add some cooked whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta or Banza, quinoa, farro) to the bottom of a bowl. Next, add lean protein (see ideas in number 3) and tons of veggies. Top with a great sauce (check out my Pinterest page for sauce ideas). This is a great meal to batch cook. Save some time by using precooked frozen brown rice or quinoa or precooked meat.
- Bring extra mindfulness to your day. If you’re like me, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and stress/anxiety is certainly heightened! It’s normal if you’ve noticed yourself changing eating habits during this challenging time (eating more/eating less/eating differently). Try getting curious with yourself the next time you find yourself reaching for food. How hungry are you? What emotions are you feeling right now? What’s on your mind? Food is a coping mechanism for many of us. This is a complicated subject and I love working with my clients on this 1:1. Just know, this is normal behavior and be kind to yourself.
- Give yourself some grace and go EASY. We are in the midst of unprecedented times. It’s OK to take the easy route every now and then. If you’ve had a helluva day, save yourself the stress of cooking from scratch and bake up that frozen pizza. It’s OK! If planning a week’s worth of family dinners only adds stress to your life right now, that’s OK. Try planning JUST 2 meals ahead. We are all doing the best we can right now. We had hotdogs over a bonfire the other night! So easy, no dishes and it was a blast!
- Make it a theme night. Running low on meal inspiration? Try making themes out of your meals. Maybe start incorporating Souper Sundays, Taco Tuesdays or Friday Pizza Night. Keep it regular and steady!
- Break out the BBQ (Netflix and grill? Ha!). It’s officially Spring and nicer weather is here (well, for the most part). Make sure you have your propane tanks full and get grilling! Pretty soon we will be able to dine outside (i.e. BEST time of year in my opinion).
- Get fancy! Do you miss sitting at a restaurant or having a date night? Try this at home! Set your table with all the fancy placemats, table clothes, dishes, centerpieces, music and even put on some nice clothes (I need an excuse to get out of sweats and athleisure too guys!!). You could take it a step further and pair your menu with the music! We played Italian dinner music while eating our spaghetti the other night and it brought us right back to Tuscany. We might as well have fun with this, right?
Take photos and tag Eat Move Thrive-Spokane on social media! I would love to see what inspires you and your meal planning! XO.