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  • Writer's pictureSasha Millice, MS, RD, LD

Nourishing the Body and Soul: Practical Meal Planning with Intuitive Eating

In a world filled with diet culture and rigid meal plans, intuitive eating offers a breath of fresh air—a way to reconnect with our bodies and cultivate a positive relationship with food. But how do we merge the necessity of meal planning with the intuitive eating philosophy? Let's explore practical tips for meal planning that honor your intuition and nourish both your body and soul.

1. Start with an Inventory

Before diving into meal planning, take a moment to assess your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer mindfully. What ingredients do you already have? This not only reduces food waste but also provides a foundation for creating meals.

2. Embrace Flexibility in Planning

Unlike traditional meal plans that dictate specific meals for each day, intuitive eating encourages flexibility. Instead of rigidly assigning meals to days of the week, create a list of meals to enjoy throughout the week based on your cravings. This allows you to choose intuitively, considering what your body truly desires in the moment. It can also be helpful to have several easy pantry or freezer meals on hand in case of last-minute schedule changes or lack of motivation to cook. I usually suggest 3-4 breakfast options, 3-4 lunch options, 4-6 dinner ideas (including both recipes and pantry/freezer meals). This allows you to switch up your breakfast and lunches throughout the week and use up an leftovers!

3. Include a Variety of Options

A key principle of intuitive eating is embracing variety. Ensure your meal options include a diverse range of food groups, textures, colors, and flavors. This not only enhances the nutritional value of your meals but also makes the eating experience more enjoyable!

4. Batch Cooking for Convenience

Incorporating batch cooking can be a wonderful time-saving tool! Prepare versatile ingredients in batches, such as grains, proteins, and roasted vegetables. Making chicken for dinner one night? Why not make a few extra servings to throw into a wrap for lunch the next day! You can mix and match these components with different flavor-enhancing sauces, spices, herbs, and toppings for easy and spontaneous meals.

5. Plan for Pleasure and Satisfaction

Intuitive eating places a strong emphasis on finding pleasure and satisfaction in eating. Ensure your meal plan includes foods that bring joy and fulfillment. Whether it's a favorite comfort dish or a new recipe you're excited to try, prioritize pleasure in your meal choices.

Practical meal planning and intuitive eating can coexist harmoniously. By embracing flexibility, incorporating variety, and listening to your body's cues, you can create a meal plan that nourishes your body and soul. Let intuition be your guide, and savor the journey of cultivating a positive and mindful relationship with food.

Here's to nourishing yourself with intention and joy on your intuitive eating adventure!

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