As if living with an autoimmune disease is not tough enough, let’s go ahead and add autoimmune protocol (AIP) meal planning to the mix. The struggle is real. I get it. I live it.
Regular meal planning and cooking for my family was always difficult enough for me. When I began the autoimmune protocol almost a year ago, I was downright overwhelmed. Especially since I was at my rock bottom, health wise.
I was filled with questions
Did I make two separate meals: one for me and one for my family?
Should I make them eat whatever I was eating?
I did not want to cook every single meal – did I have to?
Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Meal Planning
Over several months, I gradually learned what worked for my family and I. I also learned (the hard way) that meal planning was key.
Most of our family meals are AIP friendly, but I usually add one or two sides for my husband and kids that are not AIP (gluten free bread, rolls, noodles, rice, red potatoes, etc).
Here is an example of one of my meal plans. Nothing fancy. Just some quick handwriting on a blank piece of white paper.
This was my meal plan for the first few days of this week. My husband and I prepped a few of the items on Saturday.
Side note: Is there anything hotter than seeing your man in the kitchen helping you cook/prep??? I think not.
Back to meal plans…I usually meal plan for my family 3-4 days at a time. My two kids are home with me for all of our meals, since we homeschool.
I grocery shop twice a week, based on my meal plan. I also buy some of our go to snacks and foods that our family eats regularly in case something comes up.
I do not follow my meal plan exactly. Ever. I inevitably make changes for some reason or another: either leftovers did not last as long as I thought they would, one of the veggies I was planning on cooking did not look good at the store so I swapped it out for a different one, I did not end up having time to cook, and so on and so on.
I am flexible with my autoimmune protocol (AIP) meal plans. Life can be unpredictable. Especially with kids, and living with an autoimmune disease. I keep in mind simple, healthy, go to meals that I can make in a heartbeat and swap out if needed.
I also give myself a break. I have foods on hand like paleo granola (our local Costco carries a great one!) to replace a cooked breakfast for the kids if I am not feeling well.
I make my “meal plan,” but it is not set in stone. For example, this week, our homemade chicken vegetable soup did not last as long as we anticipated, so I made spaghetti for my family. I sautéed some spinach, mushrooms, and onions, along with grass fed ground beef for myself. Easy peasy.
Two important things my “meal plan” does not show
My kids and I eat 2-3 clean snacks per day in addition to 3 meals.
Examples of my go to AIP snacks – veggies, fruits, homemade cassava tortillas, or a snack from the list I posted last week.
My kids fave snack options – veggies, fruits, no bake energy bites (I prep and keep on hand), Paleo granola, Harvest GF oatmeal, CoYo yogurt with fresh berries, applesauce, homemade GF muffins or bread, Lara Bars (peanut butter chocolate), RX Bars (peanut butter chocolate) and homemade GF treats.
I do not have a set amount of ounces I drink, but I do drink lots of water, for a variety of reasons. I drink about 12-16 ounces when I wake up. Then about 12-16 ounces every couple of hours in between meals until the evening. I do not drink a lot of water with meals, and I stop drinking water after about 7 pm since I go to bed pretty early and do not want to get up at night.
What works for my family and I may not work for you and your family. I am simply sharing what we do in hopes that it inspires and helps you in some way. Believe me, I will be the first to tell you that I am perfectly and regularly aware that I do not know everything. As I learn, grow, and feel inspired to, I adjust our clean eating and meal planning.
Need some help with meal planning? Real plans has customizable meal plans to fit any dietary needs, including autoimmune protocol. I tried them for a couple of weeks in the summer when I needed a meal planning kickstart, and loved their options, and their recipe database.
If you are new to the autoimmune protocol, or are simply trying to clean up your eating, click here to read my 10 tips for creating a clean eating lifestyle.
To read more about my nutrition journey with the autoimmune protocol, click here.
Let me know if you have any tips or secrets that work for you and your family that you would love to share!