Meal planning is being talked about in so many areas to include getting healthy, alleviating stress, making your week flow better, helping your budget and getting your life organized. Life’s crazy for everyone and cooking has become less of a ritual than it has been in the past. That’s part of the problem with the way we’re eating and our health- we aren’t in the kitchen as much. We’re over-scheduled. We eat on the fly. We have other people making our food. And most times we don’t know what’s in it. Big problem. So how do you look at the words “Meal Planning” and not roll your eyes or dread it?
What Is It Exactly?
Simple. It’s anything you create that will…
- Create amazing, nutritious, clean meals and at the same time…
- Ease anxiety, dread, or fear of creating them.
- Saves you time in the kitchen.
- It’s your customized plan that works for you and your family.
- You can choose to plan all meals, or just the ones that are the most challenging for you to cook.
The reality is, planning is essential for healthy eating and living. Otherwise you have a huge risk of making fast, spontaneous, and unhealthy choices on the fly. Having meals ready and waiting will ease anxiety and give you the confidence that you’re providing the best meals for you and your family.
Just know- and remind yourself, that any habit or lifestyle change takes a few weeks to make it part of your groove. Where you don’t have to think about it or feel it’s a chore. So today make the commitment to this commitment- and be patient. Second, have the goal of putting yours and your family’s health at the forefront. The only way to do this is to choose the right foods & prepare them yourself. Health is your WHY where creating these meals is your HOW. Tips? Check out my top 5 – and reach out to me directly for more (I have so much more!).
- You have to block a time for choosing (30 min), shopping that week (an hour) and a time for prepping (2-3 hours). And follow it as if you had a boss. I prefer prepping all at once and getting some Pandora playing on a Sunday night after Brooklyn has gone down. TV kinda stinks lately and I know I’m not missing anything. Do what works for you when it comes to time. If a Sunday afternoon is best where the kiddos are with your partner or maybe the grandparents, awesome. A Saturday night once everyone is down and you have peace and some chamomile tea? Great.
- Involve your friends! Have a batch prep night where your friends all come over with ingredients for their favorite meal. Everyone preps in someone’s kitchen and you exchange meals. So if you invite 6 of your friends, you all walk away with 7 meals to include recipes. Get the tunes playing and wine flowing! We all complain that we’re too busy and never see our friends, well… this solves one problem!
- When choosing your meals, have your family join you and help select the meals. Depending on age, you can have everyone come to the table one night with their favorite meal. Or if you want to make sure they are choosing something healthy, you choose and print out 10 meals where you allow them all (including your partner!) to choose a meal or two they would like that week. Take them to the store with you, give them their meal with ingredients, and have them shop. Again, depending on age. Don’t assume they won’t do it, or that attitude & energy will transfer to them and then…they won’t. Assume that they will, exude that energy and confidence that they can contribute to the family, and you’d be surprised what they can actually do. I don’t have my 3.5 year old go around with her Trader Joe’s cart (I have a love/hate relationships with the independence and chaos of those carts) but I do ask her what she wants to eat based on what I’ve planned to cook that week. With our Green Chef meals we get, I show her the recipe cards and photos and ask her what she wants to make that night. She loves making decisions and feeling like a big girl.
- Find the meal(s) that bring you the most stress. The ones where you are running out the door grabbing anything you can find. The ones you don’t have time for. Those are the meals you need to plan for.
- When you are starting, make a list of 2-3 days of meals that you have made before and love. Don’t try anything new or complicated when you are just starting out.
Bonus! Finally- do what works for you. A little bit of meal prep is better than none at all. If you find it too challenging to prep the amount of meals you’re attempting, then scale it down. Start small so as to not overwhelm yourself and quit. Planning, prep, and budgeting properly are THE only ways to get healthy meals into your home. The resources are out there for you to choose the healthiest options and if you’re stumped on what to make or try, that’s what I’m here for! I wish you all the best and am rooting for you all the way.
Energize Your Life-