I’m about to let you in on my secret to eating a healthy diet…and no, it’s not hiring a private chef, although wouldn’t be mad about that. 😉
I would be sooo lost without meal planning/prepping in my life. It’s *the* reason I’ve eaten a healthy diet consistently for years.
People get so intimidated by the idea of meal planning and prepping, but once you’re in the groove of things, it really is very simple.
So this is how I do it:
Once a week, I sit down and plan out my dinners. I have my staples that I rotate through, but I try to mix in some new recipes here and there too. My go-to resources for finding new recipes are pinterest, food-gawker and blogs (some of my faves are Pinch of Yum, Oh Sweet Basil, Gimme Some Oven, and Little Coconutty).
Once I’ve written down the dinners for each day, I quickly go through each recipe and write down any ingredients that I’ll need to grab at the store.
For breakfast, I just rotate through my faves: oatmeal, protein smoothies, veggie/sausage hashes, eggs with avocado toast, etc. While I’m meal planning, I do a quick look through my fridge and pantry to take note of anything I’m running low on and add it to my list.
Lunches are leftovers and meal-prepped items combined in different ways. We’ll get to that below.
This process may sound daunting, but in reality it doesn’t take very long. And as you get into a routine of it, you get much more efficient at planning. Meal planning helps me avoid the 6 pm panic of ”we have nothing to eat, Wendy’s it is…” It’s the key to success.
*Tip: As you make dinners, make it in bulk and freeze the leftovers for later, or use for lunch throughout the week. For example, when I make a pasta sauce or soup, I make a triple batch and freeze it to use in the future.
Once a week, I’ll do a big prep-day where I make food to use throughout the week. This week, I marinated and grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and delicata squash, steamed some carrots, made a batch of grain-free granola and pumpkin cookie dough energy bites. All of this was done in a couple of hours, while I was puttering around the house doing laundry and catching up on the latest episodes of ”This is Us.”
Here’s the cold hard truth..If you have time to scroll social media, go out to eat multiple times a week or watch Netflix, you have time to meal prep.
Sure, it may seem like a lot of work, but I promise you, it will save you time in the end. Having all these options ready in the fridge all week long means lunch prep becomes a five-minutes tops kinda deal. It’s fabulous.
*Tip: Right now, it’s only Pat and me at our house, so when I make a ton of chicken, I’ll only put half of it in the fridge to use throughout the week. The rest, I bag up into individual serving sizes and pop in the freezer to pull out as needed later on.
Here’s an example of how I used this week’s meal prep for one of my lunches:
So easy. That could also be dinner on a busy night. Or heat up the sweet potatoes and chicken in the microwave, top it with some Stubbs BBQ sauce and serve it with a side of broccoli (cooked in a bit of water in the microwave and topped with Trader Joe’s garlic salt and balsamic glaze). Bam. 10-minute dinner.
I’m telling you, this meal-planning and meal-prepping business will SAVE YOU.
Do you know what else will save you?
(We’re finally getting to the good stuff…)
A cute, functional meal-planning notepad, made by none other than the V-talented Katie from ThackShack Art. She is brilliant you guys, and also happens to be my sister. Go check out her stash of amazing artwork, and while you’re at it, pop on over to instagram for a chance to win these cute notepads along with a handful of other helpful kitchen goodies!
*UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED*
Do you meal plan and prep? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Feel free to comment below with any questions you have!
Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I have been sitting down one night a week to meal plan which has saved us from just eating cereal for dinner 😉 but what we need to do is meal prep! I like the idea of making something like chicken and veggies, but then using it for different kinds of lunches like salads, etc. I haven’t wanted to prep too much because I was afraid of getting sick of the same thing every day, but using the same ingredient and making it into different things is an awesome idea! Thanks! Meal planning also has saved me time and money at the grocery store, so for anyone wondering if it’s really worth the effort, it definitely is!
Elizabeth, that’s awesome you and your husband have been meal planning! It seriously is such a life saver. And yes, give the meal prepping a try…it will save you SO much time in the long run! Let us know how it goes for you 🙂