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Joyful Meal Planning - 3 tips to help you find ease in the process.

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

Do you hate meal planning as much as I do? I know, hate is a really strong word, but the perfection driven checklists just never lined up with my reality and they drain my energy. We all have enough to organize and keep up with so here I propose a few ways to make food related to-dos, fun and enjoyable. If you love food or want to learn how to love it and you have a hard time keeping up with rigid systems and processes long term, keep reading.

When I began the process of approaching my weight loss goal, free from diets and restriction, I realized that a lot of the programs that I had gone through had really sucked the joy out of my experience with food. I knew that I wasn't built to keep up with the traditional weekly meal planning systems so I started to experiment with new ways of approaching my week. What I discovered was that finding ease in the way that I approached my meals drastically improved my relationship with food and lessened unnecessary stress that I often experienced when thinking about what I would eat that week.

If eating healthy is stressing you out, I understand you completely. It took me over 6 years to sit down at the table with pure confidence and joy. I don't want you to have to go through the long, rigorous process I went through so I hope you will find some relief reading the 3 tips for joyful meal planning that I am going to share with you.

find a small market you enjoy
Shop like a European

Whatever your obstacles, these 3 tips are a great place to begin rewriting your relationship with meal planning.


Exploring flavorful and healthy combinations is a great way to support you in shopping when the list does not exist. What are your top 5 favorite vegetables? Write them down. Next, go into your spice cabinet. Often times there are so many forgotten flavors in our spice cabinet. If you don't have many spices on hand, take a visit to the market and pick 2 or 3 to start. Try a few of them on their own by sprinkling onto your hand. Choose spices that taste delicious to you and experiment with using them to enhance the flavor of your favorite veggies. One of our member favorites is roasting a large pan of veg with spices, herbs with some garlic or shallots and using them throughout the week to make frittatas, salads, grain bowls or pair with your favorite protein. Over time, you will find your favorite flavor combinations and you will be mentally prepared to move through meal planning challenges with more ease.

Download our Guide to Great Veg to help you enjoy eating the rainbow.

Download PDF • 972KB


Ditching traditional systems and processes doesn't mean that you don't need your own system. Create a system that goes with your grain and that you can maintain over time. One way to make shopping easy and automatic is to create your online grocery cart or a list has your favorite go-to veg, fruit, protein and grains. Before you hit send, you can review your list, add or make alterations. By doing the up front work, you will free yourself up over time and make it easy for someone else in your family to do the online shopping when you need some assistance. You can also employ a boxed meal delivery service or hire an in-home chef service. At NOCK, we supply our members with recipe books that include a shopping list for convenience. Who's on your meal planning support team?


Having spent a lot of time in Germany and Italy, I experienced the cultural difference around how europeans approach grocery shopping in comparison to the US. Families in Europe often visit the market on a daily basis or every few days while in the US, the grocery carts are usually filled to the brim once a week. It may seem like you don't have the time to frequent the store more often and that's fine, you can get delivery more often if that works for you, but consider the cost savings that can be associated with buying less, more often. We can overestimate what we need leaving spoiled fruits and vegetables we weren't able to consume on time. Europeans generally look forward to visiting the market. I highly recommend finding a place that you like to visit and often times a small coop or local market can be more pleasant to visit than the overcrowded larger grocery stores. A good strategy here could be to get your go-to weekly items delivered or order ahead of time and pick them up and supplement with a few trips to a market you love a few times per week.

There are so many other ways to creatively approach meal planning that don't include perfect prep. If you have challenges maintaining your practice long term, let us help you find the solutions that will complement who you are and your life circumstances. We all thrive through a different method so it's important that the way you take action is realistic and attainable for you over time. Don't worry about doing it their way, you can do it your way.

We are currently booking Quarter 1 of our Sustainable Weight Loss Program and forming a small group for a March start date for our Stress Management. Our practitioners are certified professionals with a passion for providing you a personalized pathway to well-being. Fill out an application and we will help you get started.

At NOCK Collaborative, we offer a proprietary method that places personalization at the forefront, connecting how you think, consume and move with 8 elements of your lifestyle. Our work is designed to offer people a sustainable and fun pathway to overall well-being, helping them leave diets and the quick-fix mindset behind. At NOCK, everything is connected.

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As the Founder & CEO of NOCK Collaborative and a Certified Nutritionist, Stephanie works to help people reach their health and wellness goals through self-inquiry, intermittent striving techniques and creative solutions designed to go with their natural instincts. She is passionate about advancing women’s economic progress and bringing people together based on their unique differences. Outside of the office, Stephanie enjoys exploring in nature, traveling to far off destinations, and cooking for friends and family.

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