Blog Series In the Kitchen – Meal Planning
The best way to stick to eating clean is to have a plan. There are some things to consider when planning your week, or month.
- How many people are you cooking for?
- How many meals are you planning for the week? Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, all or a combo of them.
- How much time do you have to prepare and make each of those meals?
- Do you have any work meetings that will delay you?
- Do you have to run the kids to practice?
- Is there a special occasion that you will need to eat out?
- Will you have a night to “clean out the icebox”?
- Should you use the crock pot?
- What workouts will you be doing?
Once you know the answers to the above questions, you will be able to narrow it down which recipes you want to use. Try and take inventory of what you still have in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry. This way you are not wasting food or money. I google healthy meals, clean crock pot meals, fast healthy meals to find new dishes. Go to pinterest, here, skinnytaste.com or myfitnesspal.com for ideas too. Organize your recipes on-line in Pinterest or on programs like evernote. Or go the old-fashioned route with a recipe box or 3-ring binder.
Try to overlap ingredients to minimize what you buy. Note the serving size of each dish so you are not expecting 1 cup servings when it only yields a 1/2 cup. Keep a running list of recipes that are keepers. This will make planning in the future much easier. I also make notes on the actual recipe of any changes I made or would like to make, if it was a crowd pleaser or a bomb.
Buying and Prep:
If you are really strapped for time consider purchasing
- pre-cooked meats
- canned tuna in water
- pre-cut fresh vegetables
- hard boiled eggs (although not hard to do yourself while you are prepping something else for the week)
Take a day or a few hours to prep a large portion of what you will need for the week.
- bake sweet potatoes all at once or in microwave
- pre-cook quinoa and brown rice (couscous doesn’t reheat well, so cook that fresh)
- chop all veggies & pre measure into containers or baggies for grab-n-go
- pre-cook oatmeal or egg cups to be warmed later
- stock up on fruits that just need to be rinsed before eating
- pre cut melons and place in containers already measured in serving size portions
- keep raw unsalted nuts for quick power snacks
There are all sorts of templets and examples on the internet. I will provide you with another too. I have found Numbers in iMac to be very user friendly. I have also used excel with ease. I’m sure there are apps that allow you to do them on your phone and then open it when you are shopping. I’m a hold the paper check it off the list kind-of-gal. Click on this link to get the file I made for a one week meal plan as well as the grocery list to accompany it – Meal Plan January wk 2 PDF . This one works nicely with the 21 Day Fix program and the portion control containers. You can easily tweak it for a larger calorie bracket. The check marks on the grocery list are items I already have at home and do not need to purchase for this meal plan.
I hope this helps you in planning a weeks worth of meals for you and your family. I have found having more natural foods ready to grab goes a long way with the kiddos. They prefer this over many prepackaged junk foods and it sustains them longer too. Let me know if you would like to see more meal plans in the future.