What’s on your meal plan this week?
Healthy eating can seem like a daily battle when you have no idea what to eat, aren’t stocked with health supporting foods and don’t have the energy to prep something after a long day at work.
Instead of setting yourself up for failure, why not set yourself up for success? It all starts with your weekly meal plan and prep. And once you get in the groove, you can easily streamline the process and settle into better health as a result of your fruitful labor.
So what should you do to ensure you eat healthy all week long? Follow this 5 step process to get you on the, meal planning and prepping path, in no time.
Step #1: Schedule a Recipe Inspiration Session (on your couch)
It’s quite easy to get stuck in a rut on what to eat each week. So why not get inspired by setting aside some time to browse your favorite cookbooks, trusted online blogs, Pinterest boards and/or Instagram feeds, or even sitting down to watch a cooking show. Another great place for inspiration is your local farmer’s market.
Since it’s way too easy to get sucked into the internet, and you don’t want to feel rushed or overwhelmed, I recommend doing this at a different time than when you do the actual meal planning in step two. It’s also a nice activity to do at the end of the week to decompress and focus on some self care.
Grab your favorite cup of tea, your choice of technology (IPad, Computer, Phone) or some good old fashioned books and let the healthy inspiration flow.
Step #2: Create a Meal Plan
Grab a piece of paper, or download my free meal plan template, and plot out all of the meals you intend to cook and eat that week. (The meal plan is a fillable PDF, just download it and start typing). It’s important to also note any days you will not be eating at home. By doing this you will save money at the grocery store and won’t be left with any food waste at the end of the week.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or not sure what types of food to eat for optimal health, I offer meal planning sessions where we can discuss your health concerns/questions and plan out your meals of the week. You receive a 7 day meal plan, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks for each day, including all recipes. In addition, you receive a shopping list to match your meal plan. All of the meals are approved by you to match your taste preferences, plus all meals are gluten free, dairy free, and plant based (does not mean vegan). Head on over to this page for more info.
Recipe enthusiasts beware:
Remember to keep your meals for the week manageable. As a rule of thumb, choose only two to three new recipes to create each week. This will allow you to stay on track with your meal plan, especially when you have a busy week and are just too tired to spend time in the kitchen.
Save time and money:
Make an extra serving at dinner that you can set aside and enjoy the next day for lunch. You could even put a different spin on things and repurpose your leftovers for the next day. For example, if you made an asian stir fry for dinner, you could take the veggies and turn it into a ramen bowl with some extra ingredients. This not only saves time prepping your lunches for each day, but when you are plotting your meals on your meal plan, it streamlines things even more.
Step #3: Make a list and bring it to the food store
List out every single ingredient you will need for all recipes in your meal plan. Then go through your kitchen cupboards and spice cabinets crossing off any ingredients that you already have. This will help you save time and money at the food store. It will also reduce the amount of food waste for the week. Download my free shopping list or create your own. Now you are ready to go food shopping!
Step # 4: Meal Prep When You Arrive Home – Don’t Delay
Who wants to be de-stemming Kale or chopping carrots after a busy day at work? Set aside time to prep your food when you return from the food store or market. This means washing, drying, chopping and storing all produce properly. It could also mean soaking any nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes in preparation for use. You don’t want to skip this step as it is the key to success during your busy week ahead.
Before you leave for the food store, fill your sink up with water, white vinegar and lemon essential oil. This way when you arrive home, meal prep is automatic. In addition, always block off an hour or two for meal prep after your market trip.
Step #5: Post Your Meal Plan on the Fridge and Stick to It!
Finally, be sure to post your meal plan where you can reference it all week long. Not only will this keep you focused all week long on eating healthy, but you will reduce your food waste as you have purchased only the food you will need, for the recipes you will cook.
Ideas for posting your plan:
Purchase a chalkboard that you can write on and display. Or grab some chalkboard paint and paint the front of your cupboard door or cabinet for another creative display. You could even get a glass picture frame, place a template behind the glass and use dry erase markers to write out each week’s meal plan.