Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Meal Planning Routine & How it Will Change Your Life


Happy Sunday! One of my favorite days of the week! There's something so relaxing about waking up early and taking some time to myself to sip my tea, scroll through Pinterest, and plan out my meals for the week. I am a person who loves food...everything about it! Looking at beautiful pictures of food, strolling through the farmers market for fresh ingredients, and spending time in the kitchen. Whether it's cooking for myself and my husband or cooking for a crowd. I love being in the kitchen and preparing a delicious meal, especially when it's one that I can feel equally good about eating!


How Meal Planning Will Change Your Life:

Keeps you on track - You know what they say? Fail to plan...plan to fail. Well...it's absolutely true! Planning out your meals (as well as your workouts) will not only set you up for success, but it will keep you accountable. After the planning, shopping, and prepping you will be much more likely to stick to your plan and stay on track!

Saves time during the week - Getting your planning, shopping and prepping out of the way will save you valuable time during the work week. Sometimes after a long day, you only have energy to fix a bowl of cereal and pour a glass of wine...not a good combo or a good idea! Going home to a fridge full of healthy options, including some batch items or entire meals that are prepped and ready to go will save you valuable time!

Keeps your wallet happy - Before I started meal planning, we would go out to eat all the time during the week. Fun occasionally...but not good in the long run! Spending $15 on a salad or entrée that I could make better at home is not my idea of going out. Planning your meals, and trying to incorporate ingredients you purchase into multiple entrees is going to save you a lot of money.

Sparks creativity - When you put the time and effort into planning and preparing your own meals, not only will you appreciate them more, but you will also spark some creativity that you may not have known you had! You'll try new things and will look forward to eating all the good food you have planned!

How I Plan and Prepare for the Week:

First, I browse through Pinterest for recipe ideas I want to make that week. I keep my recipe board organized by type of main ingredient or dish. For example, "Poultry" or "Side Dishes." This makes it easy for me to find what I'm craving or plan based on what's on sale that week. I also like to keep a few go-to recipes on rotation.

I have several go-to batch recipes that I plan and prepare ahead of time to make meals during the week a breeze. I choose a few from each category below and incorporate into my plan:

Breakfast:
Frittata or casserole egg bake
Hard boiled eggs
Grain-free banana almond butter muffins
Freezer smoothie packs

Proteins:
Crockpot roasted whole chicken
Shredded salsa chicken
Turkey meatballs
Chicken salad with Paleo mayo
Ground beef or turkey

Veggies/Starches:
Cauliflower rice
Spiralized zucchini noodles
Spaghetti squash
Roasted sweet potatoes
Sautéed greens
Washed & dried salad greens

I also make sure to have several snack options on hand, such as:

Snacks:
Roasted nuts/trail mixes
Cut veggie sticks with hummus or guacamole
Plantain or root veggie chips
Cut fresh fruit

The Key to My Success:

I do not plan which meals I am going to eat on which days. This just doesn't seem to work for me. Instead, I plan out enough meals for the week and decide what I feel like eating that day. While planning, I try to keep in mind which meals will yield leftovers for lunches the next day. I always keep variety in my weekly plan so that I am excited to eat what I've planned!

Final Thoughts:

I guarantee that if you try my tips, you will fall in love with meal planning! Beginning next week, each Sunday I will be sharing with you my weekly meal plan. You'll see the meals I have planned for each week along with the batch recipes that I'll be preparing.



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