You did it! You took our #ThinkVeggiesFirst challenge and decided to jump into meal planning, vegetables first. Way to go!
Now what? How to Plan a Weekly Menu
It’s planning time! Eating more vegetables can take a little planning and adjustments of habits if you aren’t used to it, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
The first step to planning a weekly menu? Print a copy of our menu planner that was emailed to you after you joined our challenge:
Haven’t signed up yet? Join the challenge and get your free printable here.
Once you have your printable ready to go, the fun begins.
Meal Planning Tip #1
Start with the veggies. Seriously.
It’s easy to start planning a meal by thinking of the meat or the starch and leaving vegetables as an afterthought, but healthier eating is so much more delicious when you put vegetables at the center of the plate. Pick a vegetable for each meal (or two or three…when it comes to veggies more really is better!) and then choose your protein and starches to support that vegetable.
Building a practice of thinking veggies first will encourage you to get more creative in the kitchen. There are 21 meals in a week – more if you enjoy the occasional snack. Challenge yourself to try a new vegetable at every meal – your plates will be more colorful and your tastebuds will thank you!
Meal Planning Tip #2
Have a place for keeping recipe inspiration.
Whether it’s Pinterest or a box in your kitchen, keep your favorite recipes nearby and easily accessible.
Make trying new things easier. If a recipe looks good, don’t just “pin it and forget it.” Don’t close that magazine…print it (or rip it) out and stick it on your fridge! Not only will the visual reminder ensure you actually give that delicious sweet potato chili recipe a go, it’ll make it easier to meal plan because the ingredient list will be right where you need it to be when you’re writing your shopping list.
Meal Planning Tip #3
Take stock of your kitchen.
Don’t go to the grocery store without a plan! Before you go shopping, print a meal planner, look through your kitchen for items that need to be eaten first, and choose menu items that will use those ingredients.
Fill out the meal planner, then create a shopping list. Use a list app on your phone to make sure you won’t miss an oh-so-important ingredient (we like Listonic).
If you have items you buy every week, you might have a generic list ready to go that you can just add any extra items to when necessary. Pull out the list, add any special items, and you’ll be ready to shop in 5 minutes or less.
Meal Planning Tip #4
Make it easy on yourself.
The beauty of #ThinkVeggiesFirst is that it’s easy to follow. Remember, this isn’t some complicated diet where you have to cut a lot of thing out, buy an expensive substitute, or cook complicated recipes. This is about making the simple change to eat more vegetables at every meal.
So don’t make it hard on yourself. Keeping “convenience” options available, like our seasoned frozen vegetable medleys, makes it easy to add vegetables to every meal.
Try new recipes when there’s time. The rest of the week, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to old standbys you love…with an extra helping or two of veggies, that is. Cooking larger portions so you’ll have leftovers the next day is great too. Don’t overthink it – just eat more veggies.
Vegetable-Centric Meal Ideas
Need some inspiration as you plan your first week of vegetable-focused meals? There are lots of great posts on our blog to get you going:
- Veggies for Breakfast? You Bet!
- 14 Veggie-Centric Lunch Box Ideas
- 6 Ways to Add More Vegetables to Your Lunch
- 7 Creative Kid-Friendly Snacks with Vegetables
- 4 Must-Try Tommy’s Veggie Bowls
- 7 Must-Try Desserts with Hidden Vegetables