Menu Planning

Dine in Style All Week Long

Last week, Hungry Hairdresser inquired about finding a way to eat healthier on busy work days. I offered several suggestions and promised to address the overall issue of meal-planning in this week’s column.

The issue of eating habits comes into the conversation many times when I’m coaching a client, because often a consistent lack of motivation, energy, and focus can stem from a poor diet. While the problem may be caused by a medical condition, adjusting diet is often a big part of the solution. So if you see yourself as “less than enthusiastic” overall, take a look at when, how, and what you eat. At the very least, the process below will reduce stress by helping you find the time to eat well.

Here are tips for the week on meal planning:

1. Download a meal-planner form. Plan on filling in all the spaces for the entire week.

Juli Shulem

2. Make a list. Yes, you have heard this before from me for nearly everything, and it applies here as well. Write down your favorite breakfasts, and lunch and dinner entrees. Also list side dishes and all the foods that work well as snacks. This gets the “thinking” part out of the way.

3. Put your plan together by plugging in the appropriate items from your list to create your meal and snack plan for the entire week. If you really want to maximize efficiency, plan two weeks at the same time. (There’s no crime in simply repeating the same two weeks, either.)

4. Now make your shopping list from the menu plan. Go through your fridge and pantry noting what you already have. Reduce kitchen clutter by noting quantities needed, so you don’t over-buy.

5. Plan your shopping to include putting-away and prep-time afterwards. If you plan to freeze some part of what you bought, break it up into meal-sized portions before freezing so you can use it more easily. Wash and cut up vegetables for faster meal prep and for grab-n-go snacks during the week. Otherwise – if you just throw everything into the fridge or pantry – you make it harder on yourself when time is crucial, like when you’re running out the door or coming home late from work.

Ask a question for the column and I will address it at the appropriate time. Email questions to Coach Juli at with “question for column” in the subject line, and they will be answered right here.

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