Meal planning is a valuable skill that every cook, magical or otherwise, should cultivate. Meal planning helps save time and money and helps relieve the stress of last-minute dinner preparations, leaving the magical cook free to focus on intent. Meal planning is simple and only takes about a half hour a week. Just follow these simple steps. Those steps that are only necessary for magical meal planning will be marked with an asterisk (*). You may wish to practice the basic meal planning steps first, and then add the magical steps later, after you’ve gotten into the meal planning habit.
1. Take stock of what you have in the house. Clean out your fridge. Peek in your freezer and cupboards. Make a list of what you have that you can use to make a meal.
2. Research what’s available to you at a reasonable price. Check your grocery’s sales fliers and your coupons for deals and see what is seasonally available at your farmer’s market. Note these.
3. Think about your goals for the coming week. What things could use a little magickal boost? Make a list. Check the lunar calendar to see what energies are supported this week. *
4. Compare your goals for the coming week with the coming week’s lunar calendar and look for energies that correspond to your intent. Note these. *
5. Look up foods that correspond to your intent. *
6. You should now have a list of food items to focus on for the week. Brainstorm some recipes you can make with these. You can look up new recipes if you like but stick to mainly those recipes you are experienced with, adding something new once in a while.
5. Plan meals according to the information gathered above using the following guidelines.
A. Meals should be nourishing and satisfying. To achieve this, make sure each meal includes one protein source(beans, nuts, mushrooms, eggs, meat, fish or dairy), one fiber source (whole grains, fresh vegetables) and at least one additional fruit or vegetable (2 if your fiber source is a grain).
B. Meals should be pleasing to all the senses. Fill the house with their aroma (and their magic), try to have at least three different colors on your plates (example, brown rice, black beans, red peppers) and vary textures and flavors. Start light and finish sweet. Pare spicy with cool, sweet with salty, etc.
6. Think about those things you can use for more than one meal. For example, I can buy bell peppers on Monday, chop them up for Monday’s Chili, use half of the remaining chopped peppers in Tuesday’s potato salad, and the rest in Wednesday’s Fajitas, (That is if the kids don’t eat them raw first!) and I only have to chop peppers once. I can soak and boil twice as many beans as I need for Monday’s chili and refrigerate the rest to make quinoa and black bean salad to go with Wednesday’s fajitas or red bean patties for burger night.
7. Plan for leftovers. Leftover chili can be used to make chili mac, especially if you have leftover macaroni and cheese leftover rice can be used for breakfast rice pudding, leftover meat and vegetables can go into a soup. Consider making an extra helping or two of each meal and putting it in a freezer container for dinner emergencies or take to work lunches.
8. Write your meal plan on a calendar so that you, or any other interested party, can tell at a glance what needs to be done to prepare for tomorrow’s dinner, and what’s for dinner today. Keep in mind the other things you need to do each day when you decide how much cooking you’ll be doing. (You wouldn’t want to have a long, complicated recipe scheduled the same day you have parent-teacher conferences after work – but maybe you have time on the weekend to do some of the prep work so you can just throw it together on the day in question.)
9. Make a shopping list. Get whatever you need for the week’s recipes. Don’t forget condiments and beverages. Go shopping first thing in the morning if you can. When the store is well-stocked but not crowded yet.
You are now ready to make a week’s worth of fabulous magical meals. You will know what you’re making each day and half of your work for the rest of the week will be done about halfway through the week, so you can focus each day on your magical intent instead of trying to figure out how you’re going to go about it.