Meal Planning: How I set myself up for success while saving time and Money.
When I first started eating better I had absolutely no idea how to approach it. I was under the impression that I was already eating pretty healthy, and at times I was. I knew the basics, but I needed to learn more about nutrition in general. I lacked knowledge in what foods I should be pairing together, what times I should eat, and sticking to proper portion sizes. I basically had to re-train my body , and mind HOW to eat. So I figured out a clean eating meal plan and got to work. If you would like to see my post about what a days worth of meals looks like for me you can click here. I soon realized that WHAT I was eating was really only half the battle. The most important part of my meal plan, was planning for my meal plan. Ever heard the phrase, "fail to plan, plan to fail"? SPOT ON.
To get organized I take 2-3 hours every week to plan my meals and do my shopping. I schedule this time as if it was an important meeting with a client. If you think about it the meeting is actually with my most important client...me! I usually always prep on Sundays.
The first thing I do is sit down and plan out my meals for the week by writing them onto a schedule.
The second thing I do is make a shopping list based off the plan I just wrote. I like to categorize things to make it easier and less time consuming when I am at the store. The first couple times I just wrote things in no particular order and I was all over the map.
Doing these first two steps will not only save you time, but will save you money as long as you stick to your list. Sticking to your list will also keep you away from any unhealthy extras. You can also avoid this by eating a snack before you go shopping. I warn you, DO NOT GO HUNGRY!
Another tip to keep you from straying in the store and sticking to your plan is to stay on the perimeter of the store. Most of what you need will be on the outskirts. This is where they keep all the fruit, veggies, meat, and dairy. Only hit up the center isles to get items from your list. Also keep in mind to read the ingredients of what you are buying. Find products with limited amount of ingredients, I like to stick with 5 or less. If I am ever questioning a product I use the fooducate app for some guidance, I recommend it.
Back in the day I would do my shopping, come home, unload as fast as I could and move on to the next activity. These days are very different. Once my shopping is done, I move onto prepping. Prepping is huge in setting yourself up for a successful week. The easier we make it on ourselves, the better. This is why I take 2 hours, 1 day a week and dedicate that time to food prep. Pick a time that works for you and go pencil it into your planner now. As soon as I unload the groceries I set up shop for prep. Get out the strainer, your cutting board, a good knife, and some tupper ware. This is most of what you will need to wash, cut, separate, and portion all your meat and veggies. Portioning is crucial for me because it saves me money, especially with meats. I put everything into individual servings so that I am not forced to thaw out too much meat at once.
Once everything is washed, cut, and portioned I am done. Having these things already done for me makes cooking and preparing lunch less time consuming and easy. I am less likely to find myself unprepared forcing me to make bad food choices. All I have to do is look at my schedule, put it together and enjoy my healthy meals.
If you would like additional help with meal planning or getting started eating clean please email me at Messina1892@gmail.com and I'd be happy to help you!