Meal planning is the key to successfully maintaining a whole food, gluten free diet cooked at home.
It was my privilege to be interviewed for an episode of A Canadian Celiac Podcast, which aired this week.
One of the things we talked about on the show was meal planning. Those of us who can't eat gluten don't have the luxury of just grabbing any fast food that might be available. It occurred to me that it might be valuable to you for me to share in more detail the tips that work for me on a weekly basis as I prepare almost everything I eat from scratch with unprocessed food.
If you haven't really set up your kitchen to be safe for gluten free food preparation, read How to Eat Gluten Free at Home.
1. Grab inspiration when it strikes!
The most difficult part of meal planning can be deciding what to make. I keep an ongoing notebook where I save ideas as they come to me. I keep a secret Pinterest board with recipes I want to try. It's organized into sections for various courses. When a great idea comes to me for a recipe I'd like to try, I save it right away.
If it's online, I'll pin it to the Pinterest board.
When I find a recipe in a magazine that's my own, I'll tear it out and save it.
If I'm inspired by a restaurant dish I've enjoyed while eating out or I come across a recipe in a cookbook that I want to try, I'll jot down a note in my book.
2. Practice meal planning weekly.
Once a week, sit down for a few minutes to plan your menu and shopping list. When you can draw from your sources of inspiration (See point 1 above.), this task is quick and easy. Keep careful notes of where the recipes are, ie. website, page in cookbook, etc.
Make a grocery list from your menu, and go shopping once a week. A lot of time is wasted traveling to and from as well as shopping in grocery stores!
3. Prepare extra while you're at it.
Prepare more than you need for one meal, so you have an extra meal or leftovers for lunch.
Bones from a roasted chicken or turkey can easily be tossed into a pot to make healthful bone broth. I save them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough saved up for a batch of broth.
4. Use your extra time wisely!
On the days when you're enjoying leftovers, use the time not spend on preparing your main dish to chop extra veggies for a few salads.
5. Batching saves time!
Mixing up a gluten free spice blend that works in several recipes saves you the time and hassle of measuring multiple spices and seasonings every single time you make each dish. My Gluten Free Spice
A flour blend for something you'll make often, perhaps Almond Teff Pancakes, will save time.
6. It's okay to purchase some prepped food.
Purchase pre-chopped and prepped foods when there are no added preservatives or other ingredients in them. Boxed fresh spring lettuce mix, spiralized sweet potatoes, or frozen vegetables can be healthful convenience foods. Frozen pomegranate arils can save lots of time, work and mess! I've used them sprinkled on fresh salads after a few minutes of thawing.
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Happy meal planning!
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