Before we get into the details of meal planning, I know this topic has already made some of you shiver. I can almost hear you: ” How am I going to fit MEAL PLANNING into my life? I can’t even get enough sleep!”
You can definitely fit meal planning into your life. In fact, meal planning is the thing that’s going to save you time, so you can get more of that said sleep. Additionally, it can be fun!
In this article I’ll go over my suggestions for a successful meal plan so you too can use them and get yourself organized!
Find 3 or 4 recipes you want to make
The first step to a successful meal plan is figuring out what you’re going to make!
This is the fun part because you get to pick! Find something exciting that you will look forward to making and eating. For example my husband made tuna tataki last weekend. He had a great time making it, and we had en even greater time devouring the whole thing. A couple of my favorite websites to look for ideas on what to make are allrecipes.com and skinnytaste.com. You can also sign up to get recipes delivered straight to your Inbox. When I have an ingredient I want to use up, I’ll google search recipes including that ingredient: “squash recipes”, “ground turkey recipes”, etc. Starting with an ingredient you already have can really expand your horizon.
Find 3 or 4 recipes that speak to you, and write down the ingredients. This will form the basis of your shopping list. You’ll also find that you have 80% of the ingredients and are just missing a few key ones – bam! Money saved!
Put together your shopping list
Don’t go shopping without a list. Just don’t do it. You’ll buy a bunch of stuff that you’ll end up throwing away, because you had no plan to use it in the first place. Start with the list of ingredients you’ve put together from finding those 3-4 recipes. Then, to this list of core items, add the other stuff you normally get – your basics like eggs, milk, veggies and fruit.
Putting together a shopping list doesn’t mean you won’t get other things that are not on it – who can resist a good sale? It just means that you will still get all the items that really matter, instead of getting distracted and forgetting why you came to the grocery store in the first place!
Designate a cooking day…or two
For some people, their cooking day might be on the weekend. Sunday evenings work well for me specifically. I feel like the weekend is over by then so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much. It doesn’t have to be Sunday though – it can be whatever day you’d like. But designate a day! On that day, get cooking and organizing. You might also find that it works better for you to split it up into 2 cooking days: one on the weekend, and one more half-way through the week. Experiment to find out what works for you.
Start easy & make it fun!
If you’re not used to cooking, prepping your own meals might seem daunting at first and that is completely normal. Steer away from complicated recipes that require fancy ingredients and take forever. Instead, start with simple meals and gradually you will start to collect favorite recipes to which you can refer over and over again. Also if you’re just starting out, just follow the recipe. Don’t go crazy trying to make up your own stuff because it will likely not work out.
Also – make it fun! Put on some music, or put watch your favorite TV show. Invite your partner or kids to join you. Don’t think of it as a chore – think of it as fun time! 🙂
Finally, don’t expect that things will always be perfect. There are times, even for me, when I’m unable to be as organized as I would like to be. And that’s ok. That’s life. What’s important is that you get back to planning as soon as you can. It’s like exercise – skipping a few days doesn’t mean it’s all over. In fact, it might do the opposite! For example, this summer, I wasn’t as organized as I would have liked to be, and getting back to meal planning really opened my eyes to how much easier my weeks are when planning is involved.
If you’re serious about taking control of your own health you need to plan for cooking meals at home. There is no way around it. Start with looking up a few recipes. Make a shopping list. Designate a cooking day. Keep it simple. And accept that things can go sideways. Keep the meal prep tips and tricks in this article handy, and finally, don’t forget to enjoy that great feeling of satisfaction at the end of a week well planned!
After being skinny unfit for the majority of my life, I discovered fitness by accident after having my daughter. A couple of years later, I started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active. My mission is to teach people about fitness and work with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes. My personal values include being professional, honest and transparent in all of my doings but also being funny and silly because that’s what makes life (and your training sessions) fun! To learn about how I can help you reach your fitness goals, don’t hesitate to get in touch.