As the weather warms and the days get longer, different fruits & vegetables are coming into season. You may be noticing that you’re naturally being drawn to lighter and fresher meals. More crisp crunchy salads and less soups and stews perhaps.
I love being able to take advantage of different foods and meals at different times of the year.
It’s so common to get trapped into the easy, familiar recipes we always make but with a new season comes the opportunity to add some variety and mix things up a bit.
Not only does this keep our taste buds happy it also assures that we’re taking advantage of the wide array of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that come from different foods.
8 Steps To Building A Seasonal Plan
If you’re brand new to the concept of meal planning, then I’m going to suggest that you start with my simple “First Five” System. This will help you lay the foundation for creating a balanced and diverse weekly meal plan.
If you’re already a seasoned veteran at weekly meal planning, then the next step is to create a Monthly Meal Plan specific for the season. Once you’ve accumulated enough recipes and meal ideas to get you through the month then you can repeat that month over the season.
Ideally this means you would have a month’s worth of meal ideas for Fall, Winter, Spring, & Summer. This allows you to take full advantage of the produce that’s in season and to mix up the variety of what you’re eating. This doesn’t mean you won’t have some overlap or that your favorite meals won’t make a frequent appearance. But it will encourage you to keep adding new ideas.
As you’re building your repertoire of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer meals, start with a month’s worth of meal ideas for the colder months (Fall & Winter) and then another one for the warmer months (Spring & Summer). Gradually you will be able to extend this into one month per season.
Today I’m going to share my family’s Meal Plan for Spring & Summer. Although there are still some cold days here it definitely feels like it’s time to start transitioning to some springtime favorites.
Before we dive in to the actual plan I want to first explain a bit about how I put together a balanced, nutrient dense, disease fighting meal plan.
- First, I grab my list of fruits & veggies that are coming into season so I can make sure to include these in my plan. (Spring, Summer)
- I block off the days of the week where I know I will need leftovers because of my work schedule or the kids after-school schedule.
- To make sure I get a variety of proteins each week, I assign a protein to each day, being mindful of when I’ll be having leftovers.
- Tue, Thur, & Sat – vegetarian (egg, bean, lentil, or soy)
- Wed – fish (to help me get a 2nd serving of fish in each week I add tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, or mackerel to at least 1 lunch)
- Fri – meat
- Sun & Mon – poultry
- I plan to have at least 2 veggies with every dinner; usually something green & something colorful.
- I try to highlight different veggies each day of the week to make sure I’m getting a good variety.
- I always pair leftovers with fresh veggies and/or salad.
- We are not currently avoiding any specific foods in my family but if you are then you want to be mindful to only include recipes and meal ideas that fit with your food restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, paleo, keto, etc). This may require a bit more time upfront but will be so much easier to follow going forward.
- Also block off some days during the month where you will commit to trying a new recipe. This assumes that you’re collecting recipes here and there that sound yummy. I have a file folder where I keep all my recipe inspirations that I haven’t tried yet. This will help you expand your meal ideas so eventually you can get to a plan for every season.
Okay, now that you have a better sense of HOW to put a plan together, let’s take a look at WHAT mine actually consists of.
My Spring & Summer Meal Plan
- Eggs (scrambled, poached, or over easy) with whole grain toast
- Yogurt with berries or other summer fruit (almond butter, cinnamon, granola) — you could try using cooling cardamom instead of cinnamon to help bring down heat during the warmer months
- Oatmeal (or another whole grain) with berries or peaches, cinnamon or cardamom, & almond butter
- Sweet Potato Puree with coconut milk, grass-fed butter, & cinnamon or cardamom
- Banana coins with almond butter & cinnamon or cardamom
- Smoothie (with cooling spices & herbs like turmeric, mint, cilantro, or parsley)
- Coffee Elevated
- One of the Breakfast Ideas if we fasted through breakfast
- Egg Sandwich (runny yolk layered on top of whole grain bread with butter, avocado, & spinach) served with salad
- Nourish Bowl (with alternating proteins — tuna, salmon, egg, nuts, beans, or leftover protein)
- Gnocchi with pesto & salad (sometimes I add tuna)
- Spaghetti with tomato & meat sauce & salad
- Sandwich layered with all the fixings plus raw veggie slices or a salad
- Mon: Leftovers (roast chicken – from Sun of week 5)
- Tue: Spring Veggie Frittata with arugula salad
- Wed: Steamed Mussels over noodles or with crusty whole grain bread and a mixed green salad
- Thur: Leftovers (frittata)
- Fri: Turkey Taco Salad
- Sat: Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with mache salad
- Sun: Artichoke & Olive Braised Chicken with sauteed broccolini and mixed green salad
- Mon: Leftovers (braised chicken)
- Tue: Summer Pasta and mixed green salad
- Wed: One Pan Salmon with Roast Asparagus & Tomatoes and mache salad
- Thur: Leftovers (summer pasta)
- Fri: Steak House Pizza with Arugula and a roasted beet & carrot salad
- Sat: Portobello Burgers with grilled corn and Kale Salad
- Sun: Indian Curried Chicken & Chickpeas with rice and a mixed green salad
- Mon: Leftovers (curry chicken)
- Tue: Triple Greens Frittata and arugula salad
- Wed: Grilled Herbed Prawns (use large wild prawns) with grilled summer squash & broccolini
- Thur: Leftovers (frittata)
- Fri: Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Apricot Watercress Salad
- Sat: Bok Choy, Mushroom, & Tofu Stir-Fry served over rice or noodles
- Sun: Veggie Lover’s Chicken Soup with mixed green salad and crusty bread
- Mon: Leftovers (chicken soup)
- Tue: Vegetable Curry with rice and arugula salad
- Wed: Roasted Halibut with Lime, Avocado, & Papaya Salsa served on corn tortillas with Colorful Slaw
- Thur: Leftovers (curry)
- Fri: Grass-Fed Hamburgers with caprese salad (tomatoes, mozarella, basil) and grilled artichokes
- Sat: Ratatouille with white beans, roasted asparagus, and a mixed green salad
- Sun: Fesenjan with sauteed green beans and a mache salad
- Mon: Leftovers (fesenjan)
- Tue: Moroccan Lentil Soup with arugula salad and crusty bread
- Wed: Salmon Nicoise Salad
- Thur: Leftovers (lentil soup)
- Fri: Chicken Tacos with Charred Tomatoes, grilled corn, and mixed green salad
- Sat: Egg Zucchini Bake with roasted rainbow carrots and mache salad
- Sun: Roast Chicken with Herb Potatoes and Kale Salad
With a little intentional planning you too can have a delicious and healing meal plan at the ready as you move into the warmer months.
Give it a go, cut and paste some of my ideas with your favorites, and let me know how it goes.