Making Meal Planning SIMPLER and Easier

You want to eat healthier, but you’re super-busy.

You eat out several times a week because that’s what you have to do. That’s what works for you and your family (when it comes to time and convenience).

But you probably realize it’s not working great when it comes to your health and fitness goals.

You want better health. You want to eat better. You don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food as much anymore. And you DO want to save time and money.

I get it!  We have a busy family too so I completely understand.

As a health coach and working mom, I am here to help you and happy to share my best tips.

I have a simple strategy that I’m more than happy to share with you. It will help you to plan and prepare healthy meals for the week.

Now, you don’t need to completely abandon your regular meals out. You can use my strategy to help you eat out just one or two fewer times per week. It’s up to you.

As with any lifestyle change, start gradually so you can build consistency. The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again.

Let me walk you through my simple meal prep system, and how this can work for you.

 

PLAN MEALS FOR THE WEEK

I prefer to do this on the weekend. Honestly I think the FASTEST and EASIEST way to do this is to use Real Plans (http://bit.ly/2F2MQMk).  You simply set up your account with your preferred eating plan (like Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Keto or others).  You can also put in foods you want to avoid if you have preferences or allergies.  It pulls recipes FOR YOU from around the web (and GOOD sites too, not random ones) and builds your grocery list. Easy peasy!!!!  You’ve gotta try it.

If you prefer to go old school and meal plan from your recipe collection, it’s mostly a matter of blocking out time to do it.   Choose your recipes and create your shopping list.  The magic is in planning ahead so you’re ready when you are rushed.  You can batch cook ahead of time so all you need to do during the week is throw something in the oven or heat something up!  I like to have at least one crock pot meal each week because they’re so easy, and dinner is ready and waiting when you get home.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure you have enough of an ingredient already, consider buying a “backup” one just in case. I’ve had times where the tomato sauce I planned to use was a bit short of what I actually needed. Having to run out in the middle of meal prep can be very frustrating.

Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have twice the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so you just need to heat it up when you’re ready.

Pro Tip: If you’re doubling a recipe, don’t forget to double the amount you buy from the grocery store.

Once you have your handy-dandy grocery list ready, head to the store. If that store has an app for coupons, download it before you go to save some cash.  Check out the circular on your way in too in search for deals and specials. If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too.  I just strongly advise against plastic!  When it gets heated (dishwasher, microwave) or frozen (freezer) it leaches toxins. They also get stained and scratched easily. Instead I recommend glass or stainless steel.  Here are some ideas:  https://amzn.to/2NKo48d  or https://amzn.to/2NKozz7 or https://amzn.to/2L1ESZV.  You can also visit MightNest.com – I used to work there and can vouch for them!  Any product they offer has been curated for specific reasons and tested by staff first.  If you are turned off by prices just remember you can slowly over time replace your plastic with a healthier option to build your collection.

Pro Tip: If you’re not a fan of washing and chopping produce, then consider buying them already pre-washed and pre-chopped, or even frozen. You can make your meal prep even easier if you don’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars.

Pro Tip: If you feel like your pantry needs a makeover but the task seems overwhelming, just grab my Pantry Makeover Guide here to make it all much simpler:

http://www.wellnesswarriorsforhealth.com/best-tips-and-resources/

 

PREPARE MEALS FOR THE WEEK

Since you’ve already chosen your recipes and have your groceries, let’s get started on prepping some of the ingredients.

I like to book off 2-3 hours one afternoon for this. Get your recipes ready, clear off your counter, and play some music (if you feel like shakin’ it while you work LOL).

At this point, depending on time, I’ll either prep the ingredients, or pre-cook the entire recipe. Sometimes just washing and chopping produce and putting it in containers is a huge time-saver for weeknights. Or, you can go through and make a whole meal, and divide it up into portions and refrigerate or freeze. It’s really up to you, because the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.

AWESOME MEAL PREP TIP

There is one meal that is easiest to plan and prepare in advance. It’s one that’s also often the most difficult to eat at home if you’re busy.

That’s breakfast.

Planning some overnight oatmeal is a great start to any day. Simply place ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup your choice of milk, 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds into a container (or make 5 for the whole week). Then place the lid on, shake them up and put them in your fridge. In the morning you can quickly heat them up or even eat them cold (the oats will have absorbed the milk). Top with berries, chopped fruit, nuts or seeds and enjoy.  You can also bake egg cups (eggs, cheese, veggies, meat) in silicone muffin tins that easily pop out and reheat in the morning.

With a little planning, you’ll be able to eat healthier while you save money and calories.

This may take some getting used to, so if I can be of help, please reach out and let me know.

 

REFERENCES

http://bit.ly/2F2MQMk

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekly-meal-prep-infographic