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Meal Planning for the Family (with Kate Freeman)

What do you put in kids’ lunchboxes? How do you meal plan for a family? This week we chat with Kate Freeman, certified nutritionist and bonified realist, when it comes to keeping healthy easy and achievable. EPISODE SHOW NOTES

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome I am Bonnie, and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised, the PodCast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organized, and reclaim time for the things you love.

KATE: And then by Friday, it’s like I don’t care anymore

BONNIE: Yeah

KATE: Because it’s too hard.

LILY: Juice diet

KATE: I’m Diarrhoea

BONNIE: I mean, that’s pretty obvious that one.

LILY: Obviously, a lot of food with metabolism hits up on the floor, but that hasn’t stopped us from putting, and you watch it go down there, and you think it’s the floor

BONNIE: Hello and welcome this week we are joined by Kate Freeman, who is going to help us chat through that mind field of family meal planning; if meal planning is an issue at your house and you are not sure what is happening for dinner tonight, let alone next week, this is where you are going to get all of the answers

LILY: And before we bring Kate on, we better introduce her, so Kate is a registered nutritionist, wife, mum of 2, food lover and she also loves holding random vegetables in photoshoots, and if you don’t believe me go check out her website. She wants you to be free from food stress, confident in your food choices, healthy, but more than anything; she wants you to move on with your life and do things that make you happy; Kate, welcome to the Podcast.

KATE: Thanks, guys. I am so pleased to be here.

BONNIE: So I really want to start off and play the devil’s advocate and just through a bunch of key diets at you, paleo, keto, gaps

LILY: Live a rapid-fire around and be like good, bad, good bad

BONNIE: yes, yes, like what word comes to your mind when I say, Atkins

KATE: Restrictive

BONNIE: Oh good, what about Paleo

KATE: Not evidence-based

LILY: Oh, this is fun, keto, asking for a friend

KATE: Very restrictive again, constipation

LILY: Oh no

BONNIE: Juice diet

KATE: I’m Diarrhoea

BONNIE: Yeah, I mean, that is pretty obvious that one.

LILY: Well, Kate actually has, like you have got a really interesting episode because you have a Podcast as well, The Daily Dollop, and if people haven’t yet checked it out, I really encourage it because your bitesize episodes are really, they are just totally information-packed. You have one episode that I have listened to on the celery diet, that guy who opt-emitting celery juice? Oh my gosh, that was hilarious, so I highly recommend that episode because it just sounds like hot trash, to be honest, like that diet.

BONNIE: Have you done one on the potato guy; remember there was a guy who literally just ate potatoes

LILY: He sounds like my kind of guy; if there is one food I could eat 10 ways, it would be potato.

BONNIE: Yeah, and like he reckons he lost heaps of weight on it too, and I was just like
KATE: You could lose weight on a potato diet

BONNIE: Just not get that much nutrition

LILY: Oh wow yeah, would you get like scurvy

KATE: No, did you know actually that so most big western countries do sort of population nutrition research in terms of where they are getting their nutrients from and so Americans eat so much potato that it is the number one source of Vitamin C in their diet, so even though potato is not a very good source of vitamin C is still contains vitamin C, and because they eat so much of it, it is the number one source of vitamin C in the American diet

BONNIE: Does that just show you how bad the American diet it is,

LILY: That is so interesting

BONNIE: Is that what that research kind of shows?

KATE: They eat a lot of potatoes, and they don’t eat a lot of vegetables like that are rich in vitamin C

LILY: What is it for Australia

BONNIE: There you go

KATE: I don’t actually know the specific stats for Australians but I do know that in Australia, only 6% of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables.

LILY: Oh

KATE: So we are not very good vegetable eaters.

LILY: Wow, that is wild; I feel like I eat a decent amount of vegetables,

BONNIE: So what is the recommended amount?

LILY: But food standards do change, so what is it? I remember it used to be 2 and 5 didn’t it, 2 pieces of fruit and 5 veggies or something like that?

BONNIE: 5 cups of veggies

KATE: Yeah, so that is still the recommendation is 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of veggies, and so you serve if you are researching it and doing scientific studies on it, it is 60 grams of veggie but nobody weighs out vegetables, not even I do. So it is about a cup of raw vegetables, so a cup of baby spinach, or like half a large tomato or have a large carrot or a 4 of a large capsicum, that kind of sort of volume is a serve, or half a cup cooked, because you know when you cook things it so of reduces in volume a little bit

LILY: Or if it is spinach, you need to start with about a kilo, and it comes down to about a tablespoon.

KATE: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, it makes you feel like you are eating a lot, and then it is actually once it is on your plate, it doesn’t look like that much

LILY: And if you are not a huge fan of spinach, you can kind of just eat in one mouthful, and it is gone.

BONNIE: I am so not a fan of cooked spinach

KATE: You can hide it in there

LILY: Yeah, it is good, isn’t it. I am actually looking, we have got your website up right now, and one of the photos on the home page is of this beautiful, I think what you call a pokey bowl, or whatever, and I don’t know where this trend has come from, it seems to be quite popular.

BONNIE: It is like the bowls

LILY: Yeah, it is so colorful and beautiful and full of vegetables and like rice and it just looks delicious, like you must have such a great diet at home with your family, is that true for you as a nutritionist?

KATE: Oh yeah absolutely, I mean, you can’t spend so much time reading and studying and learning about nutrition, and it not affect your food choices, but I think one of the things that I love to educate people about in nutrition is that sometimes we know what we eat but still don’t do it, or like hot chips dipped in aioli is delicious, so we want to eat that, and so it is kind of like going, yeah I 100% absolutely eat well, like we eat veggies and fruit every day, but I am also not a wowser with food like I eat cake and I eat chips and yeah I just eat yummy things too but I kind of figured out for me what is the right balance for me to maximize my health and maintain my weight, you know what I mean, as I feel confident in what I am eating day to day and I think yeah that’s what I want to help other people feel is how do I eat every day to achieve my goals and not feel stressed about it.

BONNIE: Yeah

LILY: And I feel like a keyword you have used there Kate is balance like it is about balance and making sure that you are getting enough nutrition but that you are not being so restricted that you can’t, that you then have a blowout because you cant feel like, you know one week you feel like you can’t eat that food and then you do eat one of it so then you are going to eat 10 million of it because you know you have already ruined your diet, like is sounds like balance is really important.

BONNIE: Oh, that is such a problem in our household, it is like okay on Monday we are starting this

LILY: It’s always a Monday

BONNIE: Yeah, I don’t know why; why do we start

KATE: Motivated Monday

BONNIE: Yeah, it must be, and it is just goes to poo because you know it is the start of a working week and kids at school and stuff, but I, is like you already ate bad on Friday night, so we will start fresh on Monday so I can have 2 more nights of eating bad before I start good.

LILY: Why do we do that?

KATE: This is why I don’t like, bad diet or even specific dietary patterns like keto or paleo because like a label because basically it is creating healthy eating with this black and white description, no grains, no dairy, eat this, don’t eat that where if you think about food and your diet, it is not black and white, it is really grey because we eat for so many different reasons and it is not wrong or right it is just the nature of our culture and our food supply and our upbringing and foods we like to eat or we are use to eating and are still in the kitchen and so I want people to kind of sort of ditch the labels around their diet and just no alright, these are the foods that are going to maximise my nutrition in terms of nutrients, these are the foods that are little bit low on the nutrition scale so we want to learn to balance them and then build the skills like meal planning or food organisation or shopping or cooking so that then they can you put it in to practice day to day so it is not just like I wake up Monday and I channel all of my efforts into being perfect and then by Friday you are like I don’t care anymore, it is too hard and so then we swing from one extreme to the other so I want to try and I am really passionate about helping people find the middle ground which is yeah, so people see me eat cake and they are like oh I am going to put a photo of you eating cake on social media and I am like great do it

BONNIE: Yeah, some friend you are

LILY: because it is about

KATE: I am a human being, fine I am allowed to it is my food choice so at the end of the day, yep I am allowed to eat whatever I want, I am an adult so, I don’t want my clients to feel

LILY: I remember you talking on one of your episodes about how you know, you can go out, and you could just eat pizza and like that is fine, you have chosen to eat pizza you know, and potentially you want to go and get pizza and you one less piece of the pizza and instead add a little bit of a side salad and I was like wow, you know it really did just flip that whole like all or nothing thinking on its head

BONNIE: Yeah

LILY: It doesn’t just have to be. I am going to go out and have, bender on bad food like I can actually have balance.

KATE: Yeah 100%.

BONNIE: What is your philosophy on the old 90’s diet saying everything in moderation

KATE: Well I think the word moderation is a vague word in general, like what does that mean, I actually did Google it once and I think its definition is not taking something to the extreme but yeah I mean everything in moderation yeah great that means that we are drinking alcohol and not eating complete foods and you know we are having hot chips and aioli because we like that or whatever it is that we want to eat and I think that there is a good thought around that because it is sort of promoting balance but I think it kind of doesn’t really articulate to someone, like I remember someone sitting in my office years ago who has just being diagnosed with high blood pressure and his doctor has told him to reduce his salt intake and he really likes bacon which is particularly high in salt and he literally just looked at me and he was like so I can never eat bacon again and I was like well no not necessarily you can eat bacon you just need to moderate it, and he was like what does that mean, like how often, once a week, once a month and I remember thinking to myself and it was early on in my career and I was like yeah that is super vague advice Kate, like and so I sort of said yeah well in the context of everything else that you are eating, because I knew what the rest of his diet was and what other foods were contributing to his salt intake I could then say within that context as him as an individual I think once a week is probably sufficient for you, and he was like great, but if I just then went onto social media and was like you eat bacon once a week, well that doesn’t mean anything because what about the person who has got a much lower sodium intake or they are not having sodium for other foods, do you know what I mean, I think everything in moderation is a good thing but it always really needs to be done in the context of individual, their food and what their goals are and how they like to eat and stuff like that.

BONNIE: So I have got a question for you as a mum who has a Preppie and Year 1, and like my husband said the other day, you know I feel like school lunches is the price you pay to get them out of the house for the day, and I just laughed because like school holidays are great because you are like I don’t have to do lunch for tomorrow and blah blah blah but then you do have the children home all day which after two weeks

LILY: A payoff

BONNIE: Yeah, so there is definitely a trade-off and then sacrifice

KATE: 100%

BONNIE: But how can we as parents make school lunches easy for us but also healthy for our kids so that they actually eat it.

KATE: I think that that depends on the family, you know cause the definition this is me like being real philosophical, so I am sorry if I get a bit bitter and deep thought but it is kind of like what is the definition of easy, do you know what I mean, so for example for some people spending 10 minutes in the morning as part of their routine chopping up a piece of fruit, chopping up a carrot, popping in a tub of yogurt, popping in a packet of popcorn and then making you know a chicken and lettuce sandwich which is perfectly healthy lunch box you know it takes them 10 minutes to do that, that feels easy for them, but another person with I can’t cut that food, do you know what I mean that feels hard for them

BONNIE: Yep, okay

KATE: So I am a big believer in developing like the skills to make food prep easier because I think at the end of the day, healthy food and particular fruits and vegetables do need more prep than chucking, you know, a packet of chips and an LCM bar in a lunch box, like that is easy, get it out of the cupboard and put it in the box compared to cutting that apple up or chopping up the carrot sticks, so yes is building the skill up so that doing a small amount of food prep does feel easy, but I do think that some kind of plan like where you have thought in advance about what you are going to put in the lunchbox or what you are going to put on the table at dinnertime or whatever, like forethought with food is 100% a habit and a skill that everybody should have in my opinion.

BONNIE: Yeah, I totally agree, and I have to admit like if I don’t get lunches done the night before and I leave them until the next morning, which is happening more often than not lately being heavily pregnant, I find that the next morning is crazy and

KATE: Chaotic

BONNIE: Chaotic, and we get out the door, and it is like oh my goodness that was a marathon, and I am not my best self in the morning at that point, and my kids are not their best selves in response, and I think yeah having that forethought and being able to do stuff in advance is way better. I’ve seen heaps of people who do like food prep for the whole week, and like zip lock bag or snack bag a lot of their lunches and stuff, and they just go you know one from each bucket into the lunchbox every day, what are your thoughts on especially like for fruit and veggies and things that do tend to kind of discolor if they have a bit too much air time, what are your thoughts on that preparation.

KATE: I think it is a good idea if you can consistently do the act, I know people who love doing bulk meals, and they do all their meals for the week or their lunch boxes, but then they only do the bulk prep when they feel like it, and then they are like sometimes it is just too hard, and then they are not consistent at doing that, then the cup can help them. But I think I don’t like that personably because I think it is challenging enough to get kids to eat the fruit and vegetables in their lunch box in the first place because they will always prefer the yummier food like the crackers and the yogurt right, they will always want to eat that food first as a preference and so if you have got you know some carrot sticks some fruit, some crackers, yogurt, and a sandwich, the kids are going to eat the carrot sticks as well because it is all in front of them, they just will because it is the least tasty and it is also the least satiating it is not giving them masses of energy, but it is obviously giving them lots of nutrition, but they don’t care about that so I think if you are cutting that stuff up in advance you know by Friday, it is not going to be that pretty and so it is going to be even less enticing to them, so personally I like to cut those things up fresh, either the night before is probably the longest I would do it personally.

BONNIE: So what is your plan then because you have got kids in school, how do you manage the struggle of keeping lunchboxes fresh and healthy

LILY: And interesting

KATE: Yeah so I keep lunch boxes pretty standard in that they always have a fruit, they always have a vegetable and they always have like some kind of dairy or a grain, so they kind of have to pick from these food groups and then at the beginning of the week when I am writing my shopping list I am like hollering out to them because they are big now and on their devices, I am like Ooi what do you want for your fruit this week and they will be like I want watermelon, or I want pineapple or whatever, what do you want for your vege and then they can pick a favourite snack so because I also don’t want their lunch, one of the challengers I have had is their lunchboxes is like over healthy when they first started school like into year one, like no processed food in their lunchbox but then they were like oh why don’t I have chips or like tiny teddies and they feel left out and so I kind of like balance out their lunchbox a little bit more these days because I also socially don’t want them to be

BONNIE: That kid

KATE: stressed about it

LILY: Well, that’s like touching on that point you said earlier about like there is many reasons why we eat food, and you know if you are sitting there socially with your friends and they have all got the junk food or whatever you want to call it processed food, and you don’t consistently it becomes a little bit ever comparison so if you like to sit and eat socially and all share chips it is like it is socially inclusive so I can understand why you would have changed your lunchbox routine a little bit.

KATE: So my kids will have a packet, you know the small chips in their lunchbox, or they might have pretzels or Asher, who is 12 now she will make some cupcakes or some biscuits over the weekend, and that will go into their lunchbox, and that kind of thing, and so their lunchbox is just a mixture of I try and have their snackyy food, they have got some sort of lunch in there which is usually a sandwich, in winter they do like taking leftovers in a thermos, and so they zap it in the morning and then put it in a thermos, so they have a hot lunch at lunchtime.

BONNIE: Oh wow

LILY: That’s awesome

BONNIE: That’s cool, I cant see my 5 year old doing that, but that is great if your kids are advanced

KATE: Yeah, older kids, yeah they will have like leftover green curry or fried rice or spaghetti bolognese or a stir fry, or like something that we have had for dinner that they like, pumpkin soup is another favorite they like, and then they will have a fruit and a vegetable, but I don’t know if you caught the episode so I bring cater on the show about talking about lunchboxes and he goes, he admits to not eating the vegetable ever.

LILY: Isn’t it sad too, when you know that it has ended up in the bin and you are like, oh, but you kind of have to keep putting it in there.

KATE: Yeah, because if it is no in there, they are definitely not going to eat it, so if it is in there, the higher chance that they are going to; in my opinion, you are just normalizing vegetable consumption because only 6% of adults are eating enough veggies can you imagine what the stat would be on the people who don’t eat any I reckon it would be really high.

BONNIE: Oh yeah, I think so.

KATE: It is not normal for them like we meet heaps of kids through the clinic with our pediatric dietician Michelle and they don’t see a vegetable all week and for them when their parents put vegetables in front of them on this odd occasion where mum decided she is really going to try and they turn their nose up at it, but because it is so unfamiliar to them some putting the vegetable in their lunchbox which has happened from kindergarten is just part of normalizing vegetables in their life, like it is in front of them all the time, whether they eat it or not that is their choice but it is just making it familiar to them.

BONNIE: It is like persevering really, you know, and I found this when the kids were babies if I gave them the meat first when they were finger fooding and learning to kind of mouth and chew when they were a year old or whatever. If I gave them the meat stuff first, they didn’t want the vegetables later or the salad.

LILY: I have noticed that with my kid too

BONNIE: I would always switch it around and be like eat the salad stuff first when you are really hungry and then switch to the meat or the treat or whatever it was towards the end, and that worked really well.

LILY: Yeah, obviously a lot of food with toddlers ends up on the floor, but that hasn’t stopped us from putting, and you watch it go down there, and you think, good thing I spent so much time preparing that, but we will do it again tomorrow, and you just keep putting it on there because sure you don’t feel like eating avocado today, but tomorrow you are going to eat the avocado but if I continuously discourage and I stop giving you avocado well then you are literally never going to eat so you just gotta keep trying.

KATE: So if you hate food waste, feeding kids is very usual, but I often say to parents who where I am just like keep putting it on their plate, it doesn’t have to be masses just a little bit, oh but what if it gets wasted and I am like it is serving a purpose, even though it is not nourishing them at this point it is still just got to be there, so it becomes normal so yeah

BONNIE: So true

LILY: Awesome, we well

KATE: I don’t know if I answered the question about planning lunch boxes but

BONNIE: No No No

LILY: Some really good information in there; I think we could talk about this all day, but I think we will take a break and do a clutter confession with you, Kate, and when we come back, we will talk more about meal planning.

CLUTTER CONFESSION:

Music:

BONNIE: Okay, so we are talking about meal planning, and so far we have covered lunchboxes, and you know, making it easy for each individual family rather than a blanket; this is what you should do stock standard which I really appreciate because that is my philosophy in organizing, no cooking cutter approaches here everything is very individualized, but I think we need to talk about meal planning because this is always one of the kinds of epitomize for our clients because they want get more organized at home and they want to do meal planning as part of it, so if I am a busy mum with a couple of kids and I want to get into meal planning for the first time ever, where do I start

KATE: Such a good question, so it depends on your personality in my opinion, how you should approach meal planning, so I think some people’s personalities are more naturally inclined to sort of strategically organising either their thoughts or what they are going to do in advanced where as other people are a little bit more ad hock and they choose food based on how they feel at the time do you know what I mean, so I think being really aware of your personality when it comes to meal planning is really important because like an ad hoc feedly sort of do it on the fly kind of person the idea I imagine of sitting down with you know a notepad or like a ttk like meal planner and spelling out every single meal and snack from Monday to Sunday right it is just going to be this huge shift in the way that you are choosing food and I think you can stare at that whole weeks meal plan and be like I can’t think of anything and pull a mental blank or it just takes you hours to do which then kind of under minds the whole behaviour because you don’t want to do it again and then if you are not actually doing the act of meal planning it can’t actually serve you so what I like to say to clients is some kind of forethought so thinking ahead either a day in advance or 3 days in advance or a week in advance, whatever suits you will help you, one have healthy food available because you know what to shop for and you can have it ready in your pantry or your fridge or at work or wherever you need it and it will also help you with decision fatigue so you know then end of a really long day and you don’t know what’s for dinner and you are like, what am I going to have for dinner, what am I going to have for dinner. What am I going to feed these people? You know what I mean, and then you can’t think of anything because you are so tired and you have been making decisions all day and believe it or not I love food I love cooking I would like to think I am a really good nutritionist and I still if I haven’t done a meal plan I get to the end of a really big day running the businesses and I don’t know what to feed people, I can’t think of anything like I just have poor decision fatigue, so I think some kind of planning in advance is vital but don’t put it in a box of I have to go out and buy this planner or have a spreadsheet, or it doesn’t have to be full gang hoe, but it is kind of thinking through what is going to work best for me. So I have kind of like sort of 3 personalities of meal planning if you want me to go into them.

LILY: Yes, please

KATE: Okay, so the first personality is the absolute meal plan, so everything is planned, so breakfast planned, lunch is planned, dinner is planned, snacks right, so you have spelled it out for the week, and this works really well for people who love routine, love structure and that their week in terms of the other activities like their work and other parts of their life follow a reasonably predictable structure. So essentially, these people just need to one, make some time in their week to do the actual meal planning, so chuck it into their calendar, or have it on their to-do list, so it gets done, so on a weekend of Friday night or whatever suits them have their meal plan out and then you know the schedule in for their meal plan oh I am having a family dinner that night, or I have got a work meeting on that lunch day, and map their meal plan against their schedule for the week so that they what they are planning is actually going to help them and the example I give for that is if you are driving around in your car all day for work and visiting clients, planning a lunch where you need to have a knife and fork and sit at a table and use a microwave is not going to help you. Oh, I am going to be in the car driving seeing clients all day on Thursday, so maybe I need to plan myself, you know a chicken and salad wrap, and I put it in a cooler bag with an ice block on that day, so I can carry it with me and eat in the car, that kind of thing, so it is thinking about what have I got coming up in the week and then planning their meals around that and then the next step is then just sort of filling in the rest of the meal plan, this is what I am going to eat for breakfast, their favorite recipes or you know writing a shopping list and then going out and buying the food and then it is literally the meal plans might be upon their fridge or in their phone, and they are literally like wake up, this is what I am having for breakfast. This is what I am taking for lunch, and they are just following the meal plan throughout the week so that it like the absolute meal planner

BONNIE: Yeah, sure

KATE: So people, highly organized people who have really spelled it out, but the key with this one is that you because you have spelled out every meal and snack from Monday through to Sunday, you have got to have aligned it with your schedule so that it is actually helpful rather than you get to a certain meal and you are like

LILY: Oh, this isn’t going to work

KATE: I don’t have time to cook this two hours slow cooked thing because I have to take Freddie to soccer or something like that, so yeah, the key with the absolute meal plan is just making sure it is aligning with your real life.

BONNIE: Routine

LILY: Okay, so what is

BONNIE: personality no 2 then.

KATE: So this is the flexible meal planner, this is where I put myself personally so this is less like Monday night I am eating this, this is like I am going to just plan my dinners and rather than saying you know aligning a certain dinner to a certain evening I am just going to plan 5 dinners and I am just going to make sure I have got all the ingredients for that, most of these dinners are going to give me leftovers for lunch the next day, and then I am going to just buy all the ingredients for these 5 things, but then I am just going to decide on the day which of these 5 things I am going to eat. So you are a little bit more on the fly, which is good for people who don’t want to feel like they’re locked in, you know who might look at the meal, the absolute meal plan, and be like, oh I don’t want fish and salad, I want burritos.

BONNIE: Which is some like if I go and plan a meal a week in advance I get to like Wednesday or Thursday, and I am like I am just going switch this one out like I just don’t feel like that one right now.

LILY: That is part of it, isn’t it because food is not just basic, it is not just nutrition it is something that you are looking forward to eating.

BONNIE: It has got to be that social event as well.

KATE: So I think the flexible meal plan is really key, and most people are like, oh my gosh, I have never thought about it this way because they think that healthy eating only can happen with the absolute meal plan because it is this black and white thinking the diet thing has taught us that you have to stick to the meal plan. I remember a client saying to me when I was teaching her some meal planning stuff, and she was like do you like barium meal out for the week, and I was like yes some weeks I do depending on what my week is like, I find the more busy I am, the more planned I need to be with my food because otherwise I will just not eat food the whole day or it just won’t work for me, and they are like, and so I bet you follow your meal plan perfectly, and I was like I never do, never because my life with kids as you guys would know, your day never goes as you plan it to.

BONNIE: No

KATE: Something always pops up agh I need $2 for the bloody fundraiser at school, and you are like, why are we having cash fund raisers anyway, so that is a bugbear of mine, needing gold coins for silly sock day and so then we have to stop in at Woolworths, anyway I am ranting, but I just find my day never goes to plan, so I need to say flexible, and so I like the idea that I have got sort of my fundamentals of my meals planed and I know roughly what I am eating in the week, but then I can change it up as I need to, but I have got the key for me with the flexible meal plan is I have got you know lovely whole food you know chicken and fish and mince that is ready to go in the freezer so I can make something up or follow a recipe and I have got lots of veggies available because I have shopped, so I have the raw ingredients there I can either follow the recipes I have planned or I can make something up if I am feeling that way inclined. It just gives me a bit more breathing room but I am still prepared in that I have got a stocked kitchen.

BONNIE: That’s half the issue I feel like is when you don’t have any sort of meal planning happening, you do tend to run to the shops at 5 o’clock every afternoon gathering the ingredients, but when you have got this basic kitchen pantry stocked and especially when you stock it with veggies and fruit that can kind of go with lots of different things I find that there is a bit more flexibility, and it is so funny Kate, what you were mentioning before when you actually said you don’t have to have a meal plan that you follow breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, you can be the person that has a basic plan and then gets to a particular night and says oh I am actually going to not do that one or what do I feel like tonight or something like that. I actually felt like this huge burden lift off my shoulders because I have always felt like with meal planning, it is all or nothing, and I know a lot of my clients with organizing and decluttering feel like it is all or nothing as well, and that is part of the reason why we are doing the Little Home Organised Podcast is to help normalize progress, not perfection

LILY: The middle ground

BONNIE: The middle ground, and I just felt like oh it is actually okay that I am not sitting down every Saturday and Sunday night and planning out the whole week’s worth of meals and making sure that I have got the exact ingredients and stuff, I think there are a lot of people who would have heard that and just felt like oh that is a sense of freedom I didn’t know I could have so thanked you.

KATE: Oh, no worries. I think the key for me is when I have got a client who feels the same way and it is super common to feel that is that it is such big job, like sitting down on the weekend and planning out every meal and snack right, it is a huge job, it takes at least an hour, then you have to go and do the actual shopping and you are following this list and then ah it is a big job and then people are like oh well I only eat healthy when I am organised and so then I am like well how often do you write that meal plan and they are like once a month and so then I am like well then tool isn’t serving you, like if you are not actually doing the act of planning your meals then what is the point of even you know so then I am like why aren’t you doing the meal plan and they are like oh sometimes I can’t be bothered and then that is often a trigger for me to say your expectations of meal planning are too high and you are not even starting because you are like oh, so just lower the bar a bit and I am just like plan you dinners ,just start there, just keep it really easy so they take action and just start the process, and then slowly over time you start to discover I guess the meal planning personality or the tool or the process that works for you and it says lots of different ways it can work for you.

BONNIE: Okay, so before we wrap up this very insightful episode, what is that third personality because I have a feeling there are a few people going to quickly tell me about it because I feel like I am that one.

KATE: So the last one is on the fly meal plan, so right it is kind of like ah I have no food what do I do, so this is where I am equipping clients with if they have got good knowledge and skill you can do on the fly meal plan in that you kind of like are, and if this is how you prefer to do it and you have got the money to do it because it is expensive is either buying food prepared away from home and if you have good nutrition knowledge you can actually eat reasonably healthy buying food out these days, but you just need to know right what you are looking for and what is going to suit you and your goals, but the fact is you can walk into a supermarket buy 4 things and pull a meal together so like BBQ chicken wraps, a bag of mixed salad, aioli and you have got chicken and salad wraps. Or you go in and you buy a tin of tuna and one of those premade like Greek salad mixes and you have got you know a tuna salad or you buy some salmon fillets a bag of pre chopped stir fry veggies and some brown rice noodles so I bought 3 things but I am throwing this reasonably balance meal together, so we have like a resource that we have that we use for our clients that is healthy supermarket meals which is walk into a supermarket buy these things and you can throw together a reasonably quick tasty and healthy meal using sort of convenience items from the supermarket or if you keep your workplace or your home stocked with these sort of pantry staples it means that on the weeks or days when things haven’t gone to plan you have still got something there that you can fall back on so it is kind of like oh crap I burnt dinner on the meal plan alright let’s just go and get take away pizza you can go oh that’s fine if that is what you want to do but you could if you have got some tins of tuna and some wraps and a couple of little staples in your home throw together a sort of backup meal because you have got this stuff available and sort of throw a meal together on the fly.

LILY: Yet again, being organized pays off in the end

KATE: Yeah, but I think that on the fly stuff it really only works when people have good nutrition knowledge and they are feeling confident in their food choices, where most people who come to see me are like, I don’t know, I don’t know what is healthy do I eat the bread do I not eat the bread today, so if you are lacking confidence in knowing what to eat, on the meal fly plan is tricky because I don’t know if I am doing it right if you know what I mean.

BONNIE: So you are second-guessing yourself.

KATE: I do think on the fly is good as a backup, but there needs to be generally some kind of forethought and a bit of structure in the way that suits you to help you have different choices.

LILY: Awesome, thank you so much, Kate; you have clearly got such a wealth of knowledge behind you, and Bonnie and I could talk to you for hours; unfortunately, we don’t have time for that, but where can people access your information and your services if they want to find out more about how they can live more nutritionally, meal plan and other information about their nutrition.

KATE: Yeah, sure, if they head to healthyeatinghub.com.au that is my online healthy eating program that teaches healthy habit building so they can find out all about the program and join that on their lots of recipes and meal planning advice and all those sorts of skill for long term healthy eating and they can find there.

LILY: Awesome, and of course you have got your own Podcast

KATE: I do the daily dollop; yes, check that out too.

BONNIE: She forgot about that momentarily.

KATE: That old thing

LILY: So for those of you who haven’t yet listened to Kate’s Podcast, I highly recommend it The Daily Dollop does small bit size episodes, so if you are looking to get like some nutrition information and you have only got a short commute to school or a short walk that you go on they are really good sized episodes but they are jammed pack full of information. I personally have found them to be really useful and helpful because Kate, as we have listened to today, you have got a real no-nonsense approach to healthy eating, like you really make it seem like nutrition and healthy lifestyles are attainable for everybody we just kind of need to start shifting our mindset around food.

KATE: Oh good, thank you, thanks for having me guys.

LILY: Awesome, well, thanks so much for being here. And that’s all we have time for this week’s episode; thank you so much for choosing to have us in your ears.

BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.

LILY: See you later

BONNIE: Bye

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