3 Tips for Meal Planning

I would say the Number One challenge when it comes to eating healthy foods is planning. Most people I have interviewed and worked with have a general idea of what they ought to eat. The trick is making it happen!

Today, I am happy to share 3 tips that will help make this magic trick a reality!

Number One: Find a day during the week or weekend when you have a couple hours to look at the week ahead and figure out what you need to do to eat well. Determine:

*When you need a crock pot meal or leftovers, and when you may have 30-45 minutes to prepare a meal
*What you will be making
*What you need from the grocery store
*When you will enjoy your shopping spree –remember, this is supposed to be fun

Number Two: Plan and schedule the times you will be in the kitchen cooking, chopping, prepping, dividing, and whatever you need to do so you remain calm. Things to consider:

*When you make a meal, double it so you have plenty for another meal or lunches. It is just as easy to make two meatloaves as it is one, and you can freeze it.
*Wash and chop produce to last about 3 days (any more than that may get soggy or wilted) so you can grab for snacks, lunches, or stir-fry with chicken or beef. Store in airtight containers and you are good to go.
*If you would like to have a crock pot meal waiting for you one evening, when will you put the ingredients together? Schedule it in your calendar. 
*Think about cooking protein you use often in bulk to freeze. For example, I like to make soups with browned ground beef. Instead of cooking up only one pound for my recipe, I will cook extra and freeze in one-pound packages. By doing this, I am already one step ahead of the game next time. Oh, and one less dirty pot, which is a bonus.

Number Three: Have back up plans for those times when numbers one and two don’t happen. Ideas:

*Keep emergency items in your pantry, fridge and freezer that will feed you in less than 30 minutes. An array of frozen vegetables, canned chicken/tuna, marinara sauce, whole wheat or brown rice pasta (for gluten-free folks), eggs—you get the idea.
*Have a list of 5 go-to meals that are acceptable for your family and are quick. It may not be your ideal healthy meal—so add a salad. Whatever you make will be a better choice than fast food that is fried.
*Take advantage of the many grocery stores that have hot/cold food bars with meals you can take home. Yes, you pay for the convenience, but isn’t peace and calm priceless? Rotisserie chicken is usually very economical and when you add a salad, it’s awesome!
*One of my favorite speedy go-to meals is fresh fish. Sauté or broil just until it flakes apart. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh squeezed lemon– add a vegetable and salad. If you are nervous about what fish to choose and how to prepare it, I have found that the person behind the counter is extremely helpful. 

If these tips are still a bit much for you, then choose ONE idea from them that will simplify your life and help you feel better about your choices. Practice that one thing until you consistently do it well. THEN add another idea into your routine. Rinse and repeat.

Do what works for you and your life. When we do a little bit better on even one thing consistently, we advance on our journey of living well.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ―Anthony Robbins

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