How to Meal Plan as an Intuitive Eater


About one year ago I wrote a post called Meal Planning While Being Intuitive and today I want to update that post with a new post: How to Meal Plan as an Intuitive Eater. Have you ever wondered how to combine the two?

You might wonder… Why would it be necessary to combine the two?

I find loose meal planning super helpful as an intuitive eater, and here’s why:

  • Meal planning (loosely) allows me to know my options, and choose what I’d like from there
  • It allows me to be prepared and have my favorite foods on hand
  • It makes my life much easier as it saves me time and guessing
  • Creating a meal plan and grocery list before I hit the store saves me money
  • It keeps me feeling creative and satisfied, as I can new and different meals each week (if I want to repeat a meal again that’s totally okay, too – I don’t have any hard fast rules)

So, what is meal planning NOT as an intuitive eater?

  • Picking the EXACT days and times that you’ll eat certain foods
  • Creating a meal plan based on counting the calories, macro’s, or the points in your food
  • Anything else that FEELS like it’s along the strict lines of dieting for you

Now, HOW do I meal plan?

It’s super simple! Before I share this, I want you to know that it’s super important that you choose what’s right for YOU. Do not listen to me if something doesn’t feel right for you. I am on the exact same level as you, aiming to eat intuitively, listen to my body, and live a life free from dieting. Okay? You’ll listen to your body over everything else? Great…

Each Monday (Monday’s have worked great lately, but this does and CAN change) I choose:

  • 1 breakfast meal for the week
  • 1 lunch meal for the week (unless I’d rather just have leftovers from the night before, then I’ll just choose more dinner options)
  • 2-4 dinners for the week (depending on how many nights Marco and I will be eating at home and how many servings each meal makes)
  • Ingredients for smoothies
  • Dessert
  • Snacks for Marco outside of meal times (so he can also eat anytime he’s hungry, as I tend to be  more of a 3 meals and a smoothie kind of girl, lately)

What does this look like practically?

I open the “reminders” app on my iPhone and have two lists going: “Meal Ideas for this Week” and “Grocery List.” I first go to the Meal Ideas list and input all of the meals I’m in the mood for (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, etc…). I then use that list to create my grocery list. Then, throughout the week, I can open up my Meal Ideas list anytime, and ask myself what sounds good.

Let me show you EXACTLY what we bought this week:

  • 1 breakfast meal: bran flakes with soy milk and sliced peaches, drizzled with agave + eggs and toast for Marco
  • 1 lunch meal: sourdough bread, romaine lettuce, Colby jack cheese, roast beef, turkey, and red onion for sandwiches
  • 2-4 dinners: harvest grains, chicken, broccoli, black beans, and avocado for dinner bowls (will last for 3 dinners) AND turkey burgers (this will last for 2 dinners, and I can borrow from the lunch ingredients and use the frozen buns I have in the freezer to complete the meal)
  • Ingredients for smoothies: bananas and spinach (I already have milk, flaxseed meal, and blueberries)
  • Dessert: didn’t get any this week as I’m not really craving sugar. Marco bought Oreo’s.
  • Snacks for Marco outside of meal times: chips and salsa, Clif bars for work, and shredded cheese so he can make Nacho’s for himself

Our total grocery bill was $89.00 from Trader Joe’s. This is pretty typical. We’re planning to eat at home Monday night through Friday night and eat out Saturday night – we’ll be on Vacation Sunday.

A question that usually comes up: what if I don’t feel like the food that I planned for later on in the week? Here’s what I would say:

It’s okay to have your health in mind when shopping, but make SURE you have your tastebuds in mind too (in other words, don’t shop for the worlds healthiest foods if that’s not going to SOUND GOOD to you several days later). Buy foods that feel satisfying and fun. You can eat basically any food and still feel good after as long as you know your gentle-limits with each food, kinda like when drinking alcohol. For example, if you eat a pint of ice cream, you’ll probably feel sick and maybe even a little defeated… but if you slowly and fully savor a 1/2 cup serving you’ll likely feel great and even happy after… Also, know that you can create a BRAND NEW list the following week. If you get a craving mid-week this week, you can always add it to your list for next week.

Is this helpful? Do you have any more questions about meal planning while being intuitive? If so, feel free to leave a comment on the blog – I read them all myself – and will do my best to answer! 

Love, Paige

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