(If this is your first time here or you found your way here via A Storied Style, welcome! I’m so glad to have you! Please note that this post is part of a Whole Foods for the Family series. You might want to catch up on all the posts in the series here.)
You’ve been waiting with baited breath for a whole foods meal plan, haven’t you? OK, maybe not. But I have had a few of you specifically ask if I could post a sample menu plan, so today I’m sharing a 5-day whole foods menu plan complete with meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I compiled this menu plan using some of the same meals I serve my family throughout the week. With a little advance planning, they’re quick, rather inexpensive and wholly nutritious. While I do try to stay faithful to the meal plans, there are obviously days when we deviate for different reasons. But that’s the beauty of meal planning; I just pick up where we left off the next day or readjust the menu plan accordingly. Thus I’ve discovered that meal planning isn’t so much about strict adherence, but it’s more about planning and preparation for stress-free eating throughout the week.
5-Day Whole Foods Menu Plan
Plain yogurt topped with homemade granola, fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. Try to source raw, local honey. If you can’t find local honey, be sure to buy a quality, organic, raw honey, since the majority of honey from conventional stores is a far cry from the stuff bees make.
Egg salad, whole wheat crackers, carrot sticks, a drizzle of homemade ranch. I bring my eggs to a boil and then let them sit, covered for about 15 minutes, since I like a hard yolk. Experiment with the cook time until you find a consistency you like.
(DInner prep step: chop the remaining carrots, chop potatoes and onion; toss with melted butter, salt and pepper, then refrigerate.)
Whole organic roast chicken, with roasted carrots, potatoes and onion. I like Ina Garten’s roasted chicken recipe. 100 Days of Real Food also has a great crcokpot roast chicken. If you opt for the crockpot method, just roast the veggies separately. Serve a bowl of remaining fresh berries (leftovers from breakfast) for dessert.
(Prep step: Once you’ve finished the chicken, clean the carcass and refrigerate any leftover meat, you’ll use it later in the week. Then use the carcass to make homemade chicken broth, which you’ll use for soup later. Simply place the carcass in a crockpot, top with a few carrots, an onion and a couple stalks of celery. Pour water to cover entirely, then add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Turn the crockpot to high. After a few hours, the broth should be boiling. Turn the crockpot to low and simmer overnight. In the morning, strain the broth through a sine-mesh sieve and refrigerate.)
Scrambled eggs, with sautéed kale (or other sturdy leafy green), a slice of homemade whole wheat toast, topped with butter. (Want to know how to get non-stick eggs without using a non-stick skillet? Put a pat of butter in the skillet, and heat it over medium until the butter browns and smells nutty. Once the butter has browned, pour in your eggs. They will start to scramble immediately on contact. This prevents the eggs from sticking. Continue to scramble until cooked.)
Lettuce salad topped with leftover chicken, veggies of your choosing and homemade ranch dressing. For the kids, whip up chicken and cheese quesadillas using whole tortillas and leftover chicken. Serve with a side of the leftover roasted veggies from dinner the previous night, or apple and carrot slices.
(Dinner prep step: Cut extra veggies and toss with lettuce so your dinner salad is already prepared. Begin preparing tomato sauce.)
Homemade pizza (I like this recipe for the crust; sub whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour), topped with homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and the last of the chicken (if you have any left). Add fresh basil once you remove the pizza from the oven. The crust recipe makes two pizzas. Go ahead and make both, since you’ll have leftover pizza for lunch the next day. Serve with salad topped with your homemade ranch dressing and a side of roasted beets. (Peel the beets. Toss with melted butter and a little salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil and roast at 425 for approximately 50 minutes.) Before retiring for bed, soak a pot of black beans for tomorrow’s dinner. Simply put about a cup (more if you like a lot of beans) into a pot and cover with water. Let soak overnight.
Baked oatmeal topped with whole milk plain yogurt. Add a drizzle of honey to sweeten.
Leftover pizza. Round out the meal with veggie crudites or a side salad. A few hours before you plan to serve dinner, drain the beans and add fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Watch your water to make sure that too much doesn’t evaporate off. Taste the beans at 1 1/2 hours to test for doneness. If they’re done, season with salt and cumin.
Beef and bean tacos, served with corn on the cob. Simply dice an onion and brown it in butter, add 1 pound ground beef and season to your liking. I typically use salt, pepper, chili powder and copious amounts of cumin. Bake the corn on the cob (still in its husk) at 350 for 30 minutes. Let the corn cool slightly and then shuck. Serve the tacos with whole wheat tortillas, beef, beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado and any other additions that suit your fancy. Refrigerate the leftover beans; you’ll use them for breakfast and dinner the following day.
Breakfast tacos with a whole wheat tortilla, scrambled eggs, leftover black beans, cheese and salsa.
Crustless quiche. Make two quiches, since you’ll be eating one for breakfast the next day. Serve with a side of sauteed leafy greens.
Use the last of your black beans to make zucchini and black bean tacos. You can also choose to serve these as nachos, using an organic corn tortilla chip.
Dish up that leftover quiche for a quick, satisfying first meal.
An easy lunch for a busy Friday. Simply slice off two pieces of whole wheat homemade bread, toast it, and top with an all-natural, freshly ground peanut butter, organic strawberries, and a drizzle of honey.
Red lentil soup with a side of sauteed onions, zucchini and squash (or roasted root veggies in the winter). You’ll use the homemade chicken broth you made earlier in the week for this soup, but be sure to add a cube of Rapunzel bouillon for flavor. Saute the zucchini and squash with a pinch of salt and a few shakes of lemon pepper. (This lentil soup recipe is one that I love to have on hand for nights that we need something quick and nutritionally dense. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, and this one-pot soup is super easy and only requires a few pantry staples. Keep brown rice, red lentils and some Rapunzel bouillon on hand so you can throw this together whenever you’re short on time.)
A FEW NOTES, PLUS THOUGHTS ON SNACKS AND TREATS:
Looking through the menu plan, you’ll notice that I didn’t include cereal as a breakfast option. Cereal is nutritionally inferior to so many other breakfast items, so I try not to serve it as a meal. But that being said, I have three kids aged five and younger, so we’re no stranger to the cereal box. On mornings when the older two wake up STARVING, and I’m barely stumbling out of bed thanks to a babe who woke a few times in the night, I grab some cereal, fill a little bowl and pray that it satiates their tummies until I can serve the morning meal. Even then, I do make an effort to choose an organic option with low sugar.
Also a note about mayonnaise (as used in the egg salad). The majority (if not all) of conventional mayo contains non-organic canola, as well as added preservatives, so it’s a far cry from a whole food. (Read about canola here.) If I were a whole foods purist, I’d make my own mayo, but I’m not up to that yet, and we use mayo only in very small amounts. Thus, I choose an organic mayo that contains expeller-processed canola oil. It’s a compromise, but it’s a compromise that works because we use it so infrequently. Remember that a few of the tips for making this lifestyle work are to give yourself some grace and take it step by step; that includes mayo.
Also, I’ve mentioned before that we try to limit snacks. Too much snacking and the kiddos won’t be hungry enough to fill up on the food being served at meals. But we do typically have one planned afternoon snack. I’ll share some whole-food snack ideas in a separate post, but for now, one of our favorites is stove-top popped popcorn with real butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. (Never popped popcorn on the stove? Don’t fear … I’m sharing the tricks you need to know in an upcoming post.) To satiate a sweet tooth, we like to nibble on a square of organic dark chocolate.
I hope this meal plan is helpful to you! If you use it, come back and let me know how you liked it. And if you already meal plan, please share some of your favorite whole-food menu ideas in the comments! We’d all to hear from you!
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