I started meal planning after I had my second kid. It was so much work to take two kids under the age of two, to the grocery store I could only find the energy once a week. So, I started Meal Planning.
Besides saving multiple trips to the store, meal planning saves time, money, and increases the chances you will make healthy choices around meal time. Meal Planning and Meal Prepping usually go hand in hand, but that doesn’t always need to be the case.
Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail
Making time to Meal Plan and Prep
If you think you don’t have time to meal prep check out my E-book 10 Minute Meal Prep(10 low-carb recipes that can be prepped in 10 minutes). The recipes are low-carb and keto friendly, but really anyone could enjoy them, hell add some rice to the mix if you feel like it. I’m sure you can find 10 minutes to meal prep sometime during the week.
Meal Planning, like everything, it takes some practice to get the hang of. Every week you will get better and better and it will take less and less time.
When you use the Meal Plan Template, share it on Instagram and tag me. I would love to see it!
5 Steps to Healthier Eating: Meal Planning
1. Plan a Day to Plan
I know this sounds stupid, but it is an important step. For most people, this will be Saturday or Sunday, but it needs to fit in your schedule.
If you meal prep Sunday, Saturday may be the best day to plan.
2. Sit Down with Your Calendar and Meal Planner
Your meals need to fit into your schedule. Be honest about which days you will have time to cook and which days you need leftovers. Pick meals that fit into your schedule.
On your busiest day, slow-cooker meals can be really helpful. The night before my busiest days, I will put all the ingredients into my slow cooker and store the whole crock in the fridge. In the morning all I have to do is turn it on.
Make this fun! Sit down with a good coffee and enjoy the process.
3. Decide How Many Meals You Will Need
Are you the type of person that needs to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks? Do you just want to start with planning your dinners? Most weeks I only plan 4 different dinners. I plan on leftovers other nights, and something usually comes up (i.e. going out to dinner with friends or unexpected dinner inspiration)
Keep it simple, it is ok to have the same thing for breakfast and lunch most days and then just mix it up for dinner.
Cook extra servings for dinner so the leftovers can be eaten later as breakfast or lunch.
Themed days can cut down on the decision making. Themes such as Taco Tuesday, Slow-cooker Wednesday and Curry Friday. There are so many variations on these themes you will never get bored, but it makes picking out a recipe a little easier.
Only choose a couple different breakfasts, lunches, or snacks.
Involve the whole family. Kid’s (and sweethearts) are more likely to be happy with a meal they help choose.
Make sure you note where to find the recipes when it is time to cook.
Keep your meal plan where you can see it, maybe hang it up on your fridge
5. Make your shopping list
Now that you know what meals you are making, create a comprehensive shopping list.
Utilize grocery delivery or pick up services.
Keep a running list of kitchen staples as you run out of them
Use an app such as WunderList that allows multiple people to contribute.
Don’t be afraid to have regulars
Next Level S$%#
I try to have cabbage and fish at least once a week, and bone broth/gelatin AT LEAST 2 times a week. To help me to remember, there a little place on my meal planning worksheet that reminds me of this. Once you feel like you have meal planningunder control, I recommend setting your own weekly quotas/goals.
Gina Shively is a Personal Health Cook and American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified Health Coach located in Anchorage Alaska. Her background includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Physiology from the University of Wyoming. For the past six years, she has lived in Alaska, where she can’t get enough of the active Alaskan lifestyle that for her includes hunting, fishing, hiking, and the occasional weekend race. She loves to cook for people and enjoys the challenge of making healthy food taste delicious. Her family includes two young boys, two packgoats, and a rambunctious Weimaraner, as well as a very patient husband.