Autumn is a time for change and new routines, so what better time to treat your body to new health. And when Mom eats well, the whole family eats well! Now don’t worry, this isn’t a diet or anything tricky like that; eating well can simply be eating intentionally and ensuring that what you do eat is nutritious. It is much more difficult to do this on the run; it’s much easier to eat intentionally if you do a little simple planning ahead of meal times. This is where the Intentional Bites Planner comes into play!
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Not long ago I received my very own Intentional Bites Planner in the post! I opened up the shipping box to find it carefully enclosed inside a pretty box.
I opened the box to find my wire-bound Intentional Bites Planner with its bright and inviting cover waiting for me. I love a new planner…and I know a lot of home ed moms and working moms also love the look and feel of planners, too! But the difference with this one is that it is for meal planning only! No meetings, no assignments, just essential meal planning! Yeah! And more significantly, it’s catering just to you!
I love the jewel tones, and the nifty logo of a strawberry/heart; a reminder to love yourself as you follow the road to healthy eating habits. The size means it’s not too big, but yet it’s substantial enough in thickness for you to know it means business. The coiled binding allows it to either lie flat on your counter, or be folded back, keeping only the relevant page in view, and unlike a gummed binding, this means it won’t fall closed and lose your place.
The planner is divided into a few sections which allows for some focused thinking and goal-setting, as well as different ways to plan your meals, depending on what your style and situation is. This allows for flexibility, which is always something I love. The main sections are:
My Intentional Bites
- In this section, you will sit down and be honest about your motivations, your kitchen habits (cluttered, clean, etc.), how you feel about when you eat certain foods, how you want to feel, what are your favourite foods, etc. There are pages to list what foods you will substitute – what will you replace that chocolate or dessert with? Do you often eat out? There’s a place to list what you will order to make good choices – thinking about things and planning ahead is a big part of intentional eating. Don’t forget to think about vitamins, supplements, and medications and work them into your daily routine, as well as ensuring you are well-hydrated. And of course, to keep your body and mind healthy, you will also want to plan some movement into your day/week, too. That’s a lot to start with, but a good plan is the key to success!
My Food Journal
- The first half of this section is full-page daily ‘My Intentional Bites’ pages where you write down everything you eat and drink during the day, including snacks. There’s a place to record your hydration, energy level, and how you feel and look today, as well as a place to make a short plan for tomorrow’s improvement.
- The second half contains weekly food journals with each week over a 2-page spread. It records your food and hydration without concentrating on the emotional side of life. Some people may find one section is better to start with over the other, so use what works for you now, and change when you are ready.
My Meal Plans
- This section is divided into three. The first are Weekly Meal Planners with room for a grocery lists (and a place to add your coupons), and a place to track whether you are in budget or not, too! On the opposite page here you can see one of the several inspirational quotes that are sprinkled throughout the planner. The rest of the pages in this part of the section have a blank opposite page where you can make additional notes, which is very handy.
- The middle part of this section contains Weekly Meal Planners over a 2-page spread in calendar-grid-style with the days of the week across the top and the meals down the side. There is even a column on the right for some extra notes.
- The last section of the book is for the Monthly Meal Planner for those who like to see and plan a whole month at a time. It’s set out as a
How I’m Using The Intentional Bites Planner
There are many ways you could use this, but if you’re new to meal planning and eating intentionally, what I would suggest is that for the first week or two, don’t worry about planning ahead yet; just simply write down everything that you do eat (and drink); both for yourself and the family, too, if you can.
Being honest with yourself about what you are actually consuming isn’t fun, but it is necessary, and you do become much more intentional by writing it down and having to be accountable to yourself!
Then look back and see how you are doing as a baseline – what are the changes you can make now? You don’t have to change everything all at once; you can work on changing one thing a week. Be reasonable and realistic, but move towards a healthier lifestyle…after all, diets fail, but a lifestyle is the way you live, and you want to work towards a healthy and happy life.
I’m currently working on using up what is left in the freezer and cupboards that isn’t on the ‘good’ list (I also can’t stand waste so I won’t simply throw things out; we have donated some cupboard items to the local Food Bank as it is nice to receive a treat when you aren’t able to afford them yourself). With the extra freezer space, I am going to fill it up with healthy, homemade freezer meals from my go-to; MyFreezEasy! Lasagne for date nights, lentil stew for the slow cooker for the days when time is tight between Phil arriving home and either the kids or I having to leave for activities, comforting beef stew for the colder months, Italian chicken and veggie bakes, citrus fish in foil packets, or done in our steamer with gorgeous veggies and baby potatoes, yum!
Nutritious homemade soups are wonderful for vitamins and minerals, and so warming over the winter, too! They’re easy to make in bulk, too! That mid-afternoon chocolate attack can be replaced with a piece of fruit (the kids set a good example for me), or some crunchy trial mix.
But these are just my ideas – the Intentional Bites Planner doesn’t tell you what to eat or not eat – every person’s dietary needs are unique and often fluid, and this planner is inspirational, not dictational (you know what I mean, I hope).
I love that there are so many ways to use this planner and incorporate it into daily life. The welcoming colours make me wanting to grab some colourful and refreshing fruit, too! Planning meals ahead and thinking about what we will eat throughout the week will save me time and energy in the long run, and the children can feel more in control as they can also help to plan the meals and ensure we have the necessary ingredients on hand or on the grocery list.
For us home educators, this little planner could indeed be the basis of a whole course for the kids! From planning, budgeting, preparation, and then some exercise and mental well-being as well. How wonderful would that be!
To order your own personal Intentional Bites planner, click here!