Meal Planning as a Metaphor

Meal Planning As a Metaphor | GroundFloor Media PR Agency

Photo credit: Tracy Benjamin via Flickr

You won’t be surprised to learn that at GFM and CenterTable our team members share a lot of similarities. This goes so far as to include how we work (collaboration, big ideas and strategic thinking are tops), how we play (outdoors, in the gym and definitely with friends and family) and even how we eat.

Food in The Office

As a group of hardworking professionals, you’re as likely to find a frozen lunch in our office freezer as you are to find a homemade organic salad in the fridge – it all depends on who’s got what going on that week. In the last few years, however, the consumption of soda has gone down while the intake of soda water has gone up. There are more bags of apples and raw nuts around the office than bags of chocolate or chips. As we’ve matured as a team and continued to work with natural food companies, our approach to food has matured as well, and I’d wager the intake of healthier food during the workday is on the rise.

Food at Home

At GFM and CenterTable our jobs – just like those of our working colleagues in so many other industries – demand flexibility, which means our meals outside the office sometimes have to be flexible, too. Whether we’re rushing to get kids from school after work, squeezing in a workout before heading home, or driving to the mountains in the evening to avoid traffic – our team is often left with little time to get something healthy on the table. That said, on any given day you’ll hear dreamy descriptions of the dinner someone left simmering in their crock pot or the veggies fresh from the garden ready to go on their grill after work.

Meal Planning Solutions

So how do we do it? It sounds very similar to the skills we use for our clients – planning, creativity and strategy. Take one part planning know-how (whether that’s a recipe app or a few staple, go-to dishes), add a dash of creativity (think everything from leveraging coupons to what’s in the freezer), and throw in a handful of strategy (plan for kids’ practice Monday, the late meeting Tuesday, and having everyone home for dinner Wednesday) and you’ve got a recipe for success. Truly – meal planning is a metaphor for our daily work, and the more time spent creatively and strategically planning, the more successful the week’s meals will be. It’s not always easy to find that time, but it pays off every week. Whether we’re planning a trip to the grocery store, a home delivery of pantry staples, ordering a meal service in a box or even a night out at a restaurant, we’re making the most of the time we have and still – mostly – making healthy choices that fuel our days in the office.

Favorite Recipes

Wondering about some of our favorite, go-to weekday meal planning strategies? Here are some of the best:

  • Ramonna suggests that selecting recipes and purchasing ingredients weekly makes the work week infinitely easier. And, if you can make dinners that provide leftovers for lunch, even better! Glass jars are a great tool for prepping smoothies for breakfast or salads for lunch, too. Oh My Veggies has some great tips for making salads in a jar really simple.
  • A smart tip I picked up from Amy years ago was to work one soup and sandwich night into the weekly lineup. While I’ll admit that for my family that usually means grilled ham-and-cheese paired with tomato soup, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s boring – there are plenty of recipes designed to make the best grilled cheese you’ve ever tasted!
  • Personally, my favorite weeknight dinners revolve around the crock pot. One recipe that makes everyone in my family happy is Three-Bean Turkey Chili from Skinnytaste. It only takes about 15 minutes to brown the meat and chop the veggies, which I prep on Sunday and store until I’m ready to use them. Then, I need only another 10 minutes to assemble the final recipe and turn on the crock pot before I jet to work. We’ve got a hot, healthy meal ready to go within minutes after my family gets home. Brilliant!

Do you have a favorite weeknight meal or meal planning tip? We’d love to hear about it!

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