Starter Meal Plan
Phase 1- Meal Plan #1
When we began our food-to-heal journey, we had very limited resources and were truly making this up as we went along. We were living in Ohio Amish country, consulting with Dr. Edwards via phone and email, and knew no-one else locally who was feeding their family this way to share ideas and swap stories. Pinterest was very new and although there were a few websites out there to provide assistance, grocery shopping and meal planning felt like a full-time job without direction. During that time, I kept a detailed journal of my son’s reactions & behaviors as well as notes on which recipes were family favorites– I tried to cook things that would be safe for him but also enjoyable for everyone else.
Using my recipe binder and notes, I have created a one-week starter menu that I hope will bring you some inspiration. That first trip to the grocery store can be so overwhelming. It helps to plan out every meal (not just dinner) as well as plan for snacks. Making sure you’ve always got choices available will be the key to keep you on track. Its those nights when you can’t think of anything good to make or the afternoon when you wander into the kitchen just hoping to munch on something that can lead to choices you’ll regret soon after. As you clean up your diet, you’ll find that you’ll have a much better understanding of what foods trigger discomfort (which in my house meant toddler melt-downs) and having choices that minimize these reactions is well worth it!
When you’re starting out, it is a good idea to print off the weekly menu and grocery list- not only to use for reference, but to also jot down notes for the following weeks. If you find a favorite, mark it down. If something didn’t work for your family, cross it off so you don’t use it in future rotations. I used to make little notes if I noticed that my son had a particularly bad night and eventually we realized that he wasn’t tolerating nightshades very well- so I was able to adjust the menu plan to limit tomatoes and peppers until later in his healing.
In this post, I will walk you through each day of the week and explain the timing behind the plan and will include links to the recipes you’ll need. I cook for a family of two adults, one teenaged girl and one little boy (who eats more than the rest of us). You might need to adjust the recipes for your situation, but hopefully the ideas will be helpful. Some nights you’ll be prepping something for another day, so look over the whole week before you start to see if you need to adjust the timing for your schedule. I have created printables for the week of meals plus the grocery list. I split the list into a grocery store (I used Natural Grocers) and Costco. The grocery list doesn’t take farmers markets into consideration since they are seasonal in most areas– but utilizing local farms and markets for meat and produce is always the best choice and worth the effort. When our farmer’s market is open, I try to visit there first thing on Saturday morning, buy everything from my list there and then visit the grocery stores for the remainder. Shopping this way does require a couple of trips, but it is worth it. If you’ve never visited a farmer’s market or a local farm before, now is the time for an adventure! You can meet the people producing your food, learn new ways to prepare produce and get the best possible prices on the excellent ingredients that are directly affecting your healing.
So let’s say you spent some time on Saturday purchasing everything on your grocery list. You wake up Sunday morning and are ready to get started.
Sometime today, hard boil 8-10 eggs and bake crackers. This process takes about 25 minutes total.
Blender Waffles and Oven Bacon- One batch of waffles or pancakes from this recipe makes enough to serve my family of 4. Make a double batch so you have some for leftovers later in the week. I try to make these on the weekends and then keep them in the fridge for busy school mornings. For the oven bacon, I just put bacon on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. I like making bacon in the oven because it is easier to clean up and doesn’t require me standing over the pan. I also keep my bacon fat in a mason jar in my fridge. I use it during the week to cook veggies.
Roast Beef Roll Ups, White Cheddar Cheese, Bubbies Relish or Pickles- The website I’ve linked to has some excellent lunch ideas. She has multiple posts on packing paleo lunches which can provide lots of inspiration. I have included cheddar cheese here- which of course would be if you are able to tolerate it.
Chicken Nuggets and Kale Salad- These chicken nuggets are a kid favorite in my house. I usually have leftovers I can serve again as well– which is always helpful. Whenever you can make extra at the time you’re cooking– do it! You’ll appreciate it later. The Kale salad is from Costco and comes with dressing and croutons. Just toss those, please. Tessemae dressings (I’ve purchased these from Natural Grocers and Target) or a home made option would be much better!
Prep your raw veggies for the week. Clean and cut everything you plan to munch on so you’ll have it ready for snacks.
Smoothie– I typically make bulletproof coffee for my breakfasts (sometimes with a slice of bacon if we have it). My kids like smoothies and for a while I was making them every morning just using extra berries & spinach– my son could have lived on pear, mango and spinach smoothies if I would have let him. The post I linked to has great ideas on adding good fats to your blend– this is so important! Don’t skip that part.
Deviled Eggs & Crackers with Cherry Tomatoes and Pickles (or Relish)- I try to include the Bubbies relish or pickles in as many lunches as possible. I serve it with egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad… you get the idea! The more fermented foods we can introduce to our diet, the better equipped we become to digest everything properly and build our immune system to fight infection.
Pan Seared Salmon and Roasted Veggies– This salmon recipe is super basic and easy. Its simplicity really lets the roasted veggies shine.
Leftover Chicken Nuggets and Kale Salad
Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs in Tomato Sauce- the meatball recipe linked has our traditional directions, but sometimes I like to make a double batch of meatballs and bake half now, freezing the other half for another day. Then, I put the meatballs in a glass dish, pour sauce on top and bake covered for 45-60 minutes. Then I don’t have to think about those cooking and can focus on the rest of dinner. I use a spiralizer (I have this one, but there are lots of options out there) and use about 1 zucchini per person. I boil a big pot of water and throw the zucchini noodles in the boiling water for a minute or two– that’s all it needs.
Tonight, place a whole chicken in the crock pot and cover with water. Throw in a splash of apple cider vinegar and some onion, garlic and carrots if you have them. Cook on low until tomorrow night.
Leftover Meatballs with Sauce- just reheat this in the oven. The sauce is the best part anyway! Add a side salad for a perfect lunch.
Frittata– the cool thing about frittatas is that you can vary the ingredients to whatever you have on hand. The linked recipe is one of my favorites. It also reheats really well in the oven.
Soak 2 cups of navy beans overnight.
Salmon Patties with Peas and Carrots (use 1/2 bag for lunch, save the other 1/2 for dinner). The website I linked to is absolutely fantastic. Her recipes are all kid and budget friendly. I relied heavily on her site when I was learning how to plan safe meals.
Chicken Fried Cauli Rice– Your chicken broth in the crock pot will be ready to go now. You’re going to want to utilize both the cooked chicken meat and the broth. I try to remember to turn the crock pot off in the late afternoon so the chicken will be cool enough to work with when I prepare dinner. I pull all the meat off the bone, using 1/2 of it for tonight’s dinner and I save the other 1/2 for tomorrow’s lunch. I strain the broth and save it in jars for tomorrow. I then prepare the cauli-rice, adding the cooked chicken and the rest of my frozen peas and carrots, I make a well in the middle of the pan and add an egg, scrambling it and then stirring everything around to mix it in. Finally, I season it with coconut aminos.
This morning, rinse the beans you were soaking and then cook them with 2 quarts of broth and 2 quarts of water in the crock pot on low all day.
Chicken Salad with Raw Veggies and Crackers- our recipe calls for home made mayo and raw honey. I do make our mayo and it is super fast and easy, but if you’re on cooking overload and want to buy it, Sir Kensington’s has a good one. I also often skip the honey and the grapes and just do chicken, mayo, celery & nuts and it works great for me for a super fast prep without sweetener. Add some fresh lemon juice and dill in place of the honey for a savory version.
Burrito Bowls– My family loves this meal. My kids like to make the guacamole from the recipe, but know that it is also ok to buy the Wholly Guacamole that they sell at Costco so that you can have plenty for this meal and for snacks throughout the week. Early on, you need to know your time and patience limits. Make everything you are able from scratch, but know that there are a few conveniences you can take advantage of if you need them. Reserve 1/2 of the beans and freeze them for another day.
Tonight, prep a breakfast casserole and leave it in the fridge to bake in the morning.
Coconut Muffins– recipes like this one are great because of the helpful comments added below the recipe. You can find many substitutions for ingredients you might want to skip as well as nice add-ins as you are able to tolerate more foods.
Hot Dogs as the Bun with Sauerkraut and Romaine- Costco has grass fed hotdogs in their meat section.
Bacon-burger Salad- This salad is one that could easily work with other ground meats. Every now and then I buy the lamb just for the variety. It is an expensive meat so I don’t do it too often, but this recipe is really good and a nice treat.
SNACKS FOR THE WEEK
Make sure you have snacks at the ready. There are only so many times you can open the fridge looking for “something” before you end up eating something junky and regretting it. Give yourself and your kids lots of good choices.
- Brazil Nuts- our practitioner recommended we eat a few of these every day so we make a daily snack out of it.
- Sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds – I send these in ziplock bags for my son’s snack time at school
- Raw Veggies- cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, peppers- I like these with hummus. The Hummus Guy even has one in a squeeze bottle, which is just kind of fun. For this week, since we’re buying guacamole for other recipes, you could use that as a dip.
- Roast beef & Cheese– this wouldn’t be for every day, but on this particular week, if you have any left over from lunch, it does make a good snack. Remember that you can get too much of a good thing– cheese, in particular– so be careful with that!
- Hard boiled eggs- when you make a batch for deviled eggs or egg salad, peel some and keep them in the fridge. They’ll keep for a few days.
Need some inspiration to get out there and get shopping? Check out the videos below!
I’m not going to lie. Getting started is probably going to cost more than you’re used to. A lot more. If you’re starting fresh and need to buy everything on the grocery list, it is going to cost about $450 (using our current, local prices- obviously that’s subject to change depending on the grocery store). Going forward looks a lot better. The second week costs about $145. If you learn to use what you buy and not let your produce go to waste, you’ll save a lot. Click here for MENU PLAN #2.