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“Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Anyone who’s ever attempted a diet knows just how crucial planning is to day-in, day-out success. And of course, when we say diet, we don’t just mean the “weight loss” type of diet. We mean any dietary change -the AIP included!

Think of creating a weekly meal plan as an insurance policy for your AIP. You could skate by without it for a while, but as soon as something throws a wrench in your plan (or lack thereof!), you’re likely to find yourself out of options.

Meal planning allows you to make sure you’re hitting your nutrition goals, save time and money, and take the stress out of AIP. That’s our whole schtick! In this post, we’ll introduce you to a simple meal-planning method you can use to plan a week of AIP meals.

Step 1. Find a template

Your weekly plan needs a little structure. Until it becomes second nature, a template can help.

The most important thing is that you provide a place to brainstorm breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for each member of your family. You can do this in your weekly planner, in a spreadsheet, or on a sheet of paper.

If you want to get the message out where the whole family will see, try a white or chalkboard in your kitchen. Just pick a structure that works for you! If you’re doing this on paper or in a planner, make a space for your shopping list too. You’ll need it later!

Hint: everyStrength in Food delivery comes with a full week-long AIP meal plan and shopping lists, plus access to even more through our Member Portal.Subscribe today and get our curated meal plans from The Paleo Mom, A Squirrel in the Kitchen, and more.

notebook with tea pencil and essential oil

Photo byMelinda Gimpel onUnsplash

Step 2. Pick your recipes

Next, you’ll need to decide what meals to make for the week.

Many AIP cookbooks include full meal plans that incorporate meals and leftovers from a single book for a super simple approach. One of our favorites isThe Healing Kitchen! The inventive recipes and meal plans in this book are perfect if you’re feeling a little bored with AIP eats. Hint: this is a great excuse to buy a new cookbook!

You might also decide to DIY a meal plan based on some of your favorite recipes or a few you’ve been wanting to try. We recommend keeping a running list of recipes on your wish-list and mixing in a few new ones each week. Interspersing meals that come together without much effort, like soups, stews, and Instant Pot meals will keep this tendency toward experimentation from feeling overwhelming on weeknights.

Hint: inviting your family to pick healthy recipes you can eat together is a fantastic way to get your family on board with the AIP!

Finally, you might stick with a “prep-twice, eat all week” batch cooking approach to meal planning. This method is especially useful for one or two people and can be a life-saver when your energy has been zapped by autoimmune symptoms. Mickey Trescott details this method in herAIP Batch Cook program and writes extensively about it on Autoimmune-Wellness.Com.

Hint: don’t forget that leftovers often make the best egg-free breakfasts!

No matter what you choose, planning out what recipes you’ll cook each week is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting plenty of nutrient density in your diet, so make the most of it! Small shifts like making a liver mousse for snacking, chopping raw vegetables to have on hand, and planning an additional serving of vegetables with each meal can mean a huge difference in your success on the protocol.

beet dish

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Step 3. Make a shopping list

Shopping lists might just be the secret weapon in your budget-savvy AIP arsenal. They keep your attention, and your money focused on the ingredients in your meal plan.

Sure, when you’re following the elimination phase of the AIP, the temptation to buy snacks, treats, or “off-menu” items is probably lessened. Unless you’re shopping adedicated AIP marketplace, those options might not exist at your local grocery. But for your family? If you’re anything like us, “treating” your spouse or kids with a special something from the store is always a temptation. And sometimes it’s worth giving in!

But getting your family on a shared meal plan can eliminate this temptation and save you big bucks. All while helping you stay within your budget! So jot down every ingredient in your meal plan (don’t forget AIP spices or herbs!) and walk into your grocery store with confidence.

Don’t forget - yourStrength in Food subscription deliver comes with a full week-long shopping list to match your meal plan, plus access to even more through the Member Portal!

row of items in the dairy aisle grocery store

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Step 4. Prep and plan

Finally, it’s time to put your plan into action!

Does your meal plan require a little bit of preparation? Take care of that on the weekend so your hectic weekdays have more room for relaxation. But, if possible, try to avoid doing this the same day you plan and shop—often, our autoimmune-related fatigue makes that a tough proposition.

After all, stress andlack of sleep harm our healing process!

Even if your meal plan doesn’t specify prepping ahead, we bet there are simple ways to do so. Just chopping veggies for a dish ahead of time could save you 15-20 minutes of prep time; they’ll store well in a container in the fridge for days.

Weekends are also a great time to top up your stores of staples like broth, liver pate, and gelatin gummies. A little preparation goes a long way!

So there you have it! Our simple guide to prepping for a week of AIP meals. We love sharing what we know about simplifying your AIP, and we’re dedicated to providing the best resources inside ourStrength in Food subscription!

Subscribe todayand get access to curated meal plans, shopping lists, and more!

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