Today I want to talk about successful meal planning. It's magic! Yes, taking 30 minutes to an hour each week just to plan ahead is MAGIC and has so many benefits.
By planning ahead for the week I reduce the number of trips to the grocery store, avoid last-minute fast food dinners, and totally skip over those moments of 'hangry' attacks.
I generally eat according to the 21 Day Fix meal plan - which lays out 5 small meals a day. Below are my 5 steps to meal planning success!
- Make Shopping List - Once my meals are planned out for the week, I'll make a comprehensive list of everything needed for my shopping trip - usually the next day. If I'm unsure about whether or not I have a certain ingredient, I'll highlight it and make sure to check the pantry before I go to the store.
- Write it Down - Write down your plan and cross-check with your family calendar. I have my own excel spreadsheet that I created to make my weekly meal plan which I print out and put on the side of the fridge so that I know exactly what I am going to eat each day! As I fill in my planned meals, I cross check what I'm preparing with my family calendar. Nights that I'm going to be shuttling my son to his sports activities are usually perfect for grilling or crockpot meals, and I'll rarely try something new on those nights! It's so important to think about this ahead of time. It really helps from being caught unaware and resorting to take out or just standing in front of a gaping refrigerator!
- Preparation - Part of successful meal planning to me includes preparation. This is the key to successful weeknight cooking. Once a week - usually on Sundays..I'll take a bit of time to prepare some of the food I plan to serve during the week. I'll cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa, roast veggies, and wash vegetables and fruit. If my sons' are having pasta, this is usually the time I will prepare that as well.
- Enjoy! While technically not part of 'planning'...I think it's important to make sure to actually enjoy the meals that you've worked so hard to plan out! I often get so busy that I'll forget to really take time, sit and enjoy my meals. At least a few times a week I make it a priority to sit with my husband and children to talk about our days and catch up - even if it's just for 5 minutes!
So...what is my game plan for this week? Well, this week I'm following the 21 Day Fix Extreme meal plan and am going to be limiting sugar and alcohol, as I've noticed them creeping back in lately!
I also will be starting a new program in a few days, and am excited to try out that new eating plan as well! I will be sure to post the results here next week.
I encourage you to start that meal planning today! We talk a lot about meal planning in my health and fitness groups. If you are interested in personal assistance with this, new recipes or just general help and support with your fitness feel free to email me - firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!