Meal planning is one of the best things you can do to insure success with your health and fitness program. We've all head the saying "Failing to plan is planning to fail" and no where is that more true thanwith regards to your nutrition. Most of us are too busy to spend our days preparing healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. By planning ahead, you avoid the pitfalls of being too busy and just grabbing whatever is at hand.
Sunday is my big meal plan day. I typically hit the store Friday or Saturday for most of what I need. If necessary, I will pop back in for fresh fruits and veggies. I spend time throughout the week thinking about what I'd like to have for meals the next week and make a list of the recipes, the ingredients and anything special that needs to be done to prep on Sunday. Ideally, I can prep a week of breakfasts, lunches, dinners (or at least the prepped ingredients) and freeze whatever is feasible.
For those of you on Pinterest, Yummly, Instagram, etc, I suggest a folder/board titled Weekly Recipes. Stash what you want to make there then clear it out and refill it each week. It's just easier than searching all over for that recipe you forgot the title of.
By Sunday, I know what recipes I want. I plan around the protein (meat, in this house) and grill up a TON of chicken, pork, steak, etc for recipes. Any recipe that can be made but paused and frozen before the cooking stage is a big win. Prep all your veggies - wash, cut, etc.
A good breakfast prep food is breakfast tacos. You can make all the ingredients, assemble the tacos, individually package them in parchment paper and foil then freeze.
For lunch, I'm a big fan of prepped salads. Wash your greens, pat dry as much as possible. In a quart sized storage bag, lay a paper towel then pile in a large handful of the dried greens. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag and stash in the fridge. You can have a week's worth of salads ready to go. To make it even quicker, mix up your add in's in a tupperware container and just add to the greens when you're ready to eat.
Dinner is all about freezing and leftovers. We eat something grilled Sunday, leftovers of the same Monday, a dish I prepped Sunday and stuck in the fridge for Tuesday, leftovers Wednesday, the frozen meal Thursday and Friday. Saturday is a bit of a freebie since we normally have family in town, at our house, plans with friends or I just plain want to go out.
For snacks, I package up serving size of almonds and cheese, energy bites, fresh veggies and make sure I have protein drinks and bars ready to go.
Ideally, I only have to cook substantially Sunday. I may have to prep some fresh veggies during the week but ideally, my prepped salad takes care of that. I even make big batches of brown rice and quinoa for the week.
If you are a big crock pot person, you can marinate your meat and prep the veggies Sunday, package it all in a baggie then just grab the baggie out of the fridge and dump it all in the morning you need it.
This all takes a bit of getting used to. But by taking the time the week prior to think about what you want to eat, organizing the recipes you'll need (even the simple ones, like rice, just as a reminder), making a list of all the groceries you need and then cooking in large quantities (and enlisting a little help from hubby with the grill!), you'll have a worry free, excuse free, delicious and healthy week!