There’s no doubt that meal planning is a core practice to eating better. That’s why I’ve decided to share my “not so secret” tips for making meal planning a breeze!
Ok, so you’ve probably heard people talking about meal planning and what a help it is to living better. But maybe you still have one question…
Why bother planning your meals?
Meal planning is talked about a lot in the healthy community because it really does make healthy decisions so much easier. Everything is already decided for the week, which makes it harder to say “yes” to getting fast food or having ice cream for dinner. You’ve spent time looking for healthy recipes and written down the ingredients you need to buy. All the frantic “What on earth are we going to eat for dinner?” is put at rest because you’ve already got a menu.
But not only is meal planning good for your waistline and physical health…it’s also good for keeping your budget skinny! That’s right! Ordering out a few times a week can get pricey, especially if you live up here in NYC with me…gosh! But having certain meals you’re sticking to for dinners throughout the week will help you stay on track with how much you’re spending on food.
Lastly, meal planning will save you TIME! Lately I have felt like I just don’t have enough time to do all the things that I’m wanting to do…been there? But I’m telling you, by planning out each meal you’ll never have that hesitation saying, “Oh, what can we eat today” or spending time debating what you have on hand to throw together at the last minute.
OK, so now that we know meal planning is a pretty good practice to make habit, where do we start? Get these simple key points down and you’ll find that you’re chillin in the breeze with meal planning before you know it!
- Grab a piece of paper and a pen. See, first step is super duper easy. Even easier because I’ve provided you with this step by creating a FREE weekly meal plan menu for you to print off! I really do have your best interests in mind with this because I know how great it is.
- Now window shop away…as in, browse some meal ideas. Maybe you’ll look at a favorite cookbook, or Pinterest, or even just google what kinds of meals you like. Think of meals you enjoyed as a child and “healthify” if needed. I have a great selection of healthy meals on my Pinterest that may help you get started, because to be honest, Pinterest is my most used “cookbook” these days.
- Next, decide on your meals for the week. Be practical for the time that you have to cook and prep. Don’t choose meals that take an hour or two if you don’t have that time (or if you’re like me and don’t like to spend that amount of time cooking). Stick to meals that take around 30-40 mins or less as well as mostly “clean eating” recipes that will keep you energized and satisfied.
- Write down your planned meals for the week at the same time that you write your grocery list. That way there’s no forgetting an item for a meal that you’ve decided on.
- Post that menu somewhere you’ll see it easily! I keep my weekly menu on the refrigerator which helps me stay organized and prepared.
And that’s it! Some other things that have helped me save time and stay organized is sticking to the basics for breakfast and lunch, but leaving room for creativity at dinner. I eat the same couple of things for breakfast (oatmeal, toast, eggs…the sort). Lunch is usually some roasted veggies with quinoa or sweet potato topped with hummus, or just leftovers. And then for dinners I like to get a little creative with new recipes. It may be a little bumpy at first, but I promise, with a little perseverance, you’ll discover how easy meal planning is!
Let me know your thoughts! Does meal planning scare you? What has held you back from being more organized with meals? Or, can you relate that meal planning is a lifesaver?
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