A minimalist meal plan is an effective way to simplify your life by minimizing both the time spent planning and everything else needed for meal preparation. Here are three reasons why it might be worth simplifying and adopting a minimalist approach to meal planning!
At it’s core, a minimalist meal plan is a simple meal plan.
An example of one type of minimalist meal plan is one that is very similar from day to day and from meal to meal. For example, oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, hot meal for supper. This would be great for someone looking to follow a simple eating pattern, reduce decision fatigue, or meal prep.
Creating a minimalist meal plan involves writing down the meals you want to eat for the week. It simplifies the whole process of meal planning because you eliminate unnecessary details.
For example, you don’t need to include the side dish or vegetable for each meal, you can just mix and match whatever food you have. You don’t need to assign a specific meal to a specific day if you don’t want to, and you don’t even need to plan a different meal for every day of the week!
If you find meal planning to be complicated and time consuming, you’re not alone! But there is a different way that involves making your life easier!
3 Reasons Why You Need a Minimalist Meal Plan
- take the overwhelm out of meal planning
- spend less time meal planning
- increase your ability to stick with it
As a Dietitian I’m not a huge fan of following a random meal plan you found on the internet. It’s very unlikely to reflect how you actually eat and of all things, what we eat is totally unique to each of us!
At the same time, it can definitely be helpful to have a pre-made meal plan as a reference to see how other people put together a week of meals.
I created a one week sample minimalist meal plan so you could see an example of what a minimalist might eat. Get minimalist meal plan ideas here!
1. Take the overwhelm out of meal planning
The reason you feel overwhelmed about meal planning is because traditional meal planning systems are overly detailed. We simply don’t need to know what we’re going to be eating for dinner on Wednesday in 3 weeks.
Take a deep breath and stop trying to plan this far ahead.
Instead, consider how you typically cook for your family week-to-week.
You don’t have the same menu every day, but you also don’t have to have something different every day of the week either. Leftovers are a life saver!
Also, you probably don’t need to plan all 3 meals plus snacks every day. Stick with planning the main meal then have leftovers for lunch. Or have a similar type of meal for lunch every day, for example, soup and sandwich.
Having a variety of options on hand for breakfasts and snacks is perfect. You really don’t need to plan in advance for making a smoothie for breakfast or eating apples and cheese for a snack as long as you regularly keep those foods on hand.
2. Spend less time meal planning
Creating a minimalist meal plan should take you 10 minutes or less per week. If you’re spending more time on your meal planning than that, then I highly recommend you work on simplifying it!
A minimalist meal plan simplifies meal planning down to the core essentials; what do you actually need to plan in advance in order to have the groceries you need for the week?
With traditional meal planning, you might spend hours thinking of meal ideas, finding recipes, figuring out what day of the week each meal should go, and making a detailed shopping list from scratch.
With minimalist meal planning, you work smarter, not harder.
You don’t need to plan a new meal for every day of the week because you know you’ll be having leftovers. You also know you like to have a restaurant meal so you don’t need to plan a meal for that day either.
You’re going to work from a set grocery list like a minimalist grocery list or a master grocery list so you don’t have to start from scratch each week. Simply add the few unique things you need and cross of any staples you already have and head to the store!
Using a pre-made meal plan makes it seem like it will save you time, but does it really?
To be honest, typical pre-made meal plans don’t work for most people.
Personally, I find it will actually take more time because that means I’m trying to learn to cook multiple new recipes per week. Even though a recipe says it takes 30 minutes, it always takes me longer the first few times I make it because I’m constantly checking what I need to do next. I’m much faster and more efficient when cooking meals I’m familiar with!
What time you save in planning will be more than spent in additional time cooking and shopping for a different set of groceries each week.
3. Increase your ability to stick with it
If you love planning every last detail and have a regular habit of meal planning this way, then keep doing what’s working!
But if what you’re doing is not working or you’re not able to stick with it, working towards a more minimalist meal plan may be a good option for you.
Like most people, it’s easier to stick with habits that are easy and simple to do. So if your meal plan is overly complicated, you’re on an uphill battle to stick with it from the start!
A minimal meal plan is flexible and adaptable to change
It’s the bare minimum amount of planning that still ensures you have the food you need to make meals. It’ll work for people who don’t typically do well with traditional type of meal plans.
Because you’re not planning every last detail about what you’re going to eat and you’re mostly sticking to core foods
Simplifying your meal planning is the key to increasing your meal planning success!
Minimalist meal planning is the simplest, core essentials of what you need to do in order to help you prepare for your week ahead. You’re going to stick with it because it’s easy and fast rather than feeling like you’re spending hours figuring out a complicated puzzle.
I always thought that I sucked at creating a meal plan because I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write out a detailed plan of what I was going to eat for the next week. I’m a minimalist and like to keep things simple in the kitchen!
Meal Plan vs Meal Planning
Now even though they sound similar, there’s a big difference between a meal plan and meal planning.
A meal plan is simply the list of meals. It’s the final product of the meal planning process.
Meal planning is a process we take in order to come up with the meal plan, plus the additional steps such as grocery shopping and cooking that we take in order to follow through with the plan.
So you can see that simply having a pre made meal plan, or writing down the meals is not the complete process and leaves room for failure.
If you hate meal planning, or you’ve tried meal planning in the past and haven’t been able to stick with it, could it have been because you didn’t know how to fully implement the plan?
If so, I encourage you to check out my Minimalist Meal Planning Workbook which takes you through the whole process of meal planning, from thinking of meal ideas to creating a grocery list and actually cooking the meals you planned.
It simplifies each step in the process and eliminates all the unnecessary steps you find in traditional meal planning techniques to keep you from getting overwhelmed.
If you want to feel less overwhelmed by planning your meals, spend less time, and increase your ability to stick with your meal plan, then I highly recommend going the minimalist route! This doesn’t mean giving up all of your favorite foods or eating the same thing every day, but rather using an easy-to-follow plan that will help simplify the task so you can focus on what really matters!
Want a head start? Get a FREE 1 week minimalist meal plan!