Meal Planning

food-prepThe first step in any meal plan is to make healthy eating a priority.

I know, you’re probably thinking, duh! But I mean make it enough of a priority that you are willing to dedicate some time to healthy cooking and eating.

You have to stop making certain excuses in order to make time for this. I may sound like I am drawing a hard line here, but ultimately, you have to decide where your health (feeling great! looking great!) falls on your list of priorities. Otherwise you’ll often find yourself saying: I don’t have time or I don’t feel like it.

Ok, off my soapbox and back into the kitchen!

Sunday: prep day. 

Hands down this is the best way to get a good handle or jumpstart on your week. If Sunday really isn’t good for you, select one day per week that can be your big prep day! Get your favorite music on, and see how much you can get done in 1-2 hours.

TIP#1:

Take the time on sunday morning over your coffee or breakfast to create your plan.

I start by browsing my favorite cookbooks, food mags, websites, blogs, to see what inspires me and what I feel like eating. This may not be your schtick-  I don’t expect everyone to love reading recipes as much as I do…..So, you have to decide on an approach that works for you. An alternative option to reading books, is to utilize meal plans to help you build your week. That’s what I am here for! If you have several weeks’ worth of plans, you can pick favorites that can become your ol’ standbys.

Tip#2:

Get used to thinking about the WHOLE week ahead of time. Just picture each day, and think about your plans. If there is a night you will be out to dinner, you can X that off the meal plan list. If there is a night you will be home later than usual, think about prepping a crockpot dinner that can cook all day and be ready when you get home.

TIP#3:

Utilize recipes that share common ingredients so you can minimize wasting food (it’s hard to use a whole head of cabbage in 1 recipe!) This also helps you streamline your prep, maximizes space in your fridge and it is a HUGE TIME SAVER.

For example: Monday is veggie stir-fry with chicken, and Tusday is beef & veggie Ragu- both those dishes could utilize the same vegetables such as spinach, carrots and broccoli.

TIP#4:

Streamline your prep: if you’re going to chop cabbage, chop it all and store extra in a bag in crisper drawer. If you’re shredding carrots, shred double. In the very least you can freeze the extra for another day. But, this way, come the days when you’re in a time crunch or feeling less motivated to cook, you have most of the chopping done. I know this is a life saver for me.

Tip#5:

Cook larger portions so you have leftovers for lunch/snack/dinner in a pinch. I always make a dinner that can be enough for 2 days at least, and the 2nd day if I really don’t feel like the same thing, I find a way to add a little somethin’ new to make it different: one night the stir-fry with chicken, the next night I would add some broth to make it soupy or add sweet potato “noodles” to add more texture. You can also freeze extra portions so they are there for you to pull out in a pinch.

Meal Planning was last modified: June 2nd, 2014 by grace

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