Last week I had a client ask me a massively insightful question: "How do I both Powerful Plate meal plan for the week and listen to what my body wants in the moment?"
Let's dig into that. It is smart to plan your menus for the week. Cooking is much easier when you have thought ahead for the ingredients you will need, plus you provide a variety throughout the week of flavors and colors. (For those of you who have watched the Nourish Your Life workshop, you know how important it is to eat a rainbow.) However, what if you have planned a main-course salad for Thursday, but when Thursday comes the weather is cold. You and your family want something hearty and hot, not light and cold.
First, remember that your menu plan is a guide. Perhaps when you see that the weather is turning cold, thawing out the chili you froze the week before (because you were smart and made a double batch) can be the main course, and add the salad as a side for your vegetable. No frozen chili in your freezer? Perhaps Thursday and Friday plans can switch. Perhaps you can pick up chicken to grill, so there is hot meat on top of the salad. Flexibility and creativity.
Second, in the moment continue to ask yourself the Intuitive Eating questions. Do I want something hot, cold, crunchy, soft, creamy, or spicy? If salad is planned for dinner but you want something soft, have the salad and then a banana for dessert. If you are craving citrus fruit, have whatever is planned for the meal and add an orange as part of your carbohydrate source. If a basic chicken, vegetables, rice meal is planned but you want something spicy, bring the hot spices to the table and add your own flavors during the meal.
Unless you hire a short-order cook (or are okay to become one for every member of your family), you won't always have exactly what you want for every meal. The purpose of the Intuitive Eating questions is to help you not eat mindlessly whatever is there, as well as creatively satisfy your desires as best you can.
How do you reconcile healthy menu planning with listening to what your body tells you in the moment?