Does meal planning and prep feel like another thing on your weekly to do list that you just don’t have time for? I can totally relate! We all have busy schedules packed with work, childcare, activities and family obligations just to name a few, and the idea of adding one more thing to our schedule can seem overwhelming. However, meal planning and prep doesn’t have to be time consuming and when you take the time to do it, you will find it not only will save you time and money, but it can play a vital role in the success of your health and wellness goals. So how do you get started?
Start with planning out one week at a time. Pick out some recipes that you and your family like and write them down. I like to take a blank page of a monthly calendar and write in dinners for the week. You can also look at the weekly sales at the grocery store and plan meals from there as well. Once you have some favorites you can add them in on a rotating basis throughout the month. Hang this page on your refrigerator so it’s always visible and you can add to it as you go.
Another fun idea is to plan “theme nights” such as meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Family choice Friday… you get the idea. If you have a family, be sure to get their input as well so everyone enjoys eating healthy.
Once you have meal ideas, prep your staples so you are organized for the week. Hard boil eggs for a quick breakfast protein or a healthy snack. Roast a chicken or turkey breast to have for one dinner meal and then shred and use in a salad for a quick lunch or mix with some low-fat mayonnaise and celery and diced onions to make a chicken salad wrap for another lunch idea. Roast a large pan of broccoli, cauliflower, whatever veggies you like to have ready for dinners throughout the week. You can also batch prep healthy carbs like brown rice and quinoa. Be sure to portion out everything in containers that are ready to go if you are using that for lunches. Likewise, when you’re cooking a favorite meal, double or even triple the recipe, so you have plenty of leftovers or to freeze so you don’t have to cook another time later in the month…save it for one of those days when life is just too crazy busy!
One of the most important things I like to point out with meal prep is to be sure to pick a day and time that works for you. Once again if it feels like a chore you are less likely to do it. So pick a time you know you can do it. Then make it fun! Turn on your favorite music or podcast so you are enjoying yourself at the same time. Get your family involved as well and you can spend some quality time together and it’s a great way to teach your kids about healthy eating. Even the littlest ones can wash fruits and veggies and help pack into containers or baggies.
Also if you can, try to get as much prep done when you first get home from the grocery store. If you take some time to wash fruits and chop raw veggies and portion out healthy snacks, then you will be able to grab something healthy all week long, keeping you on track with your healthy eating habits and goals.
I know meal planning and prep is not the most exciting thing to do but once you have a rotation of healthy and delicious meals and these basic steps in place, it will become second nature and you will be happy to see the rewards in your health goals.
If you want to learn more about meal planning or other ways to reach your wellness goals, book a Free Nutrition Intro session today and let’s get you started on your health journey!