Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Easy Meal Planning 101

With the new year starting, many people make a pledge to get healthy! It's great! You have a super go-getter attitude, and nothing will stop you. What makes this goal easier to attain and maintain (key word) is planning. Without a plan, you are more likely to get tired of what you are doing. In order to stick to a new diet or workout plan, you need consistency. Your goal should be more like a lifestyle. I know you've heard this over and over and over... But, when you get in the habit of meal planning, everything falls into place. It's routine. And routine leads to lifestyle. Before you know it, you feel so much better, you have lots of energy, and you're loving life!

Here are my easy meal planning tips for a fantastic 2016!

1.   Pick a day of the week to plan & stick to it! 
Make one day of the week your meal planning day. Get into the habit of planning out your meals on that day. Sit down and bust out a list of meals for the week. Write down a grocery list at the same time. Everything will be done, and you will be less likely to make up random meals. You will also avoid making the wrong choices, once you go grocery shopping.

2.   Create a pinterest board or another place to store recipes.
When you have all of your favorite healthy recipes in one place, you will easily find recipes for the week. I have different boards for different recipes. For example: Healthy Food, Paleo Food, Desserts, Cheat Day Recipes, etc... You can go to the boards, and choose your recipes from there, if you don't feel like looking up new things to try.

3.   Get input from your significant other or roommates.
If you are planning meals for more than just yourself, use those around you for help. It may sound like a crazy tip, but sometimes you can get inspired by others. Have the other person choose a couple meals and you choose a couple meals. It makes the process more fun.

4.   Plan for leftovers.
A couple nights a week, plan to make meals that will leave you with leftovers. This could provide a meal on a busy weeknight, or leave you with simple lunches. Leftovers guarantee something in the fridge for those emergency times, where cooking is probably not an option. You'll be saving time and money!

5.    Prep food as soon as you can.
When necessary, prep food as soon as you get time. This will save you time during the week. When you buy veggies that will be used as a side or snack, chop them up when you have a couple minutes or even right when you get home from the store. It's so easy to just say forget it, after you get home from a super busy day. But with already prepped veggies or meat, you can immediately get to cooking the meal. Pre-chopped veggies also make for a quick and healthy snack.

6.   Keep a meal planning journal.
Write down all of your weekly meal planning in one place. Keep a record of everything you are eating, and keep track of what you like or don't like. Journaling your meals is helpful for a number of reasons. You will be able to see all of the different meals you have eaten and be able to reference this list for future meal planning. Also, this list will give you inspiration for other meals. Maybe, there was a side you really liked last week. Make a note! Add a heart or smiley face, and reference that journal for later meals!

Do you have any meal planning tips that you swear by!? Let me hear them!

Until next time...

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