Menu Planning is a non-negotiable if you want to eat real, nutrient-dense food.

I used to hear this and want to scream “Gah, I know!”, and yet each week, here’s how it would go for me:

On Friday, the low-grade anxiety would start. Even the words menu planning put a marble-sized lump in my throat.

My avoidance would continue into Saturday until I came to terms with the fact that we couldn’t have an empty fridge for the week, so I would pull myself together and (flailing!) head to the store.

I’d mostly look for the on-sale items, while breathing through adding a few choice organic ingredients in my cart. I would shop from a place of indecisiveness. Did I get enough broccoli to cover that recipe? Should I be trying some new vegetables or eating more seasonally?  

Trying to convince myself it was worth it to feed myself real food, I’d be very intentional about not making eye contact with the cashier or the cash register at checkout. 

Ignoring the total means it doesn’t come out of the bank account, right?

During the week, the amount of space that cooking dinner occupied in my brain was absurd.

What are we going to eat tonight? I don’t feel like cooking. Is there anything else I need? I really shouldn’t spend more money this week. Should I really be spending all this time on Pinterest? I kind of just want to order takeout. 

I honestly believed that this method of planning was just fine, because I love cooking, and dinner got on the table most nights, after all.

The truth is, I was stressed, spending too much money on food, and not making progress toward my health and weight goals.

Enter Ry’s honesty and her Clipboard Method.

Watching her film a New School Kitchen video one day, I heard it again:

“Menu Planning is a non-negotiable if you want to eat Real Food, take care of your body, and feel good.”

For some reason, this time, it clicked!

Menu planning became the bridge between who I am now and the glowing, vibrant person that I most want to be.

So I gave up my way, and tried hers. Results, ladies and gentleman!

On the weeks when I execute the Clipboard Method, I am a lighter person. I’m less stressed and more present. There’s simply more space in my life: mental space, space to play and get creative with food, space to do what I actually want to do in the afternoons instead of throwing something together that may or may not work.

I follow my grocery list, buy more organic food, and spend less money.

I’m eating more real food, and I am starting to glow (or at least feel like I am)!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take inventory of your pantry, cabinets, fridge or freezer for any food items you’d like to use this week. I do this Friday after work or Saturday morning.
  2. Choose 2 of your favorite cookbooks and search the index for recipes using the foods from your inventory or foods you’d like to eat for the week.
  3. Google or Pinterest “(food name) + clean eating + recipe” and see what comes up! Don’t spend more than 10 minutes picking a few recipes to try.
  4. Write down 5 recipes for the week in the Meal Ideas section on the Clipboard Method page. Don’t overthink it! Just get them down.
  5. Go through each recipe and write the ingredients in the Grocery List section in the corresponding grocery store section. Anything else you need to add to the list? Tooth paste? Toilet paper? Breakfast items? Snacks?
  6. Go shopping. Take your list or take a picture of your list. Stick to your list. Avoid buying extra food just because it’s on sale. Try it.
  7. Hang your Clipboard on a choice spot in the kitchen so you and everyone else knows what’s for dinner.
  8. Implement and cook!
  9. Notice the space you’ve created during the week. Notice your thoughts around the dinners you choose. Notice what works. Notice what you and your family like.
  10. Give yourself a big pat on the back!
  11. Repeat next week.

Trust Ry. Give her Clipboard Method a try.

Turns out, it’s not scary. Or time consuming! My clipboard and I walk through the week totally in control and loving every second of Real Food planning. 

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