Let’s face it, life is busy. Between family, work and appointments, cooking at home can feel like a chore at times, even stressful and sometimes impossible. But instead of relying on take-out or store-bought prepared meals as the solution, you may want to consider meal planning.
Meal Planning may require a little time but it’s key to helping you save money, eat healthier and feel your best.
Here are some tips on how to get started on meal planning.
Consult Your Schedule
Consider what events you have going on in the coming week and make note of them in your calendar since that may affect your meals. This will give you a sense of how much time you have on which days to prep and cook. For busy nights, where you are tight on time, choose quick and easy recipes that are family faves and don’t require hours in the kitchen. Eg. Quick Stir frys, noodle dishes, hearty wraps + salads.
Focus on Core Recipes
As you find recipes you and your family love, make them core recipes that get re-used every few weeks. Work towards building a roster of 20 recipes to not get bored with your meals. If you coordinate your recipes within each season, you can save money on produce. Pick 5 core recipes for your dinners each week. Eg. 1-2 stir frys, 1 soup and salad, 1 rice bowl, 1-2 slow cooker meals or casseroles. Review what ingredients you have in stock and add in missing items to your weekly grocery list. You can also create your own standard grocery template that includes your weekly staples.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Chop enough vegetables at once for 3 meals (eg. garlic, onions, celery, carrots) and store in an air-tight container in fridge for up to 3-4 days. This time-saving step is a game-changer. While one dinner is cooking, work on prepping tomorrow night’s meal. Use fresh ingredients for beginning of the week and frozen ingredients for end of week. Buying pre-cut and frozen veggies can help you save on time for those busy nights. Batch cook on the weekend and store a portion of your meals in the fridge and/or freezer. Items like brown rice, quinoa, vegetable soups, stocks, beans, legumes, lentils and vegetable casseroles. Remember to label and date your items.
Eat Leftovers for Breakfast + Lunch
Any easy, time-saving way to eat healthy is to make extra foods and serve them again for breakfast and lunch. Make salads or store leftovers in mason jars (liquid ingredients at the bottom for salads, then vegetable/protein toppings and lettuce) and store in fridge. The meal can be reheated easily or dumped onto a plate to serve.
Consider Your Why?
Think about why meal planning is important to you. Some of your reasons might include weight loss, healthier looking skin, better digestion or saving money. You might have your long term health goals in mind and be thinking about illness prevention for you and your loved ones. Planning a pregnancy or looking to role model healthy eating habits to your children. Whatever your reasons, keep them in mind for they are essential to your success and motivation.
Create a “Customized” Meal Plan for you or your family
Work with me, a holistic nutritionist, to design a “customized” meal plan that are full of simple and delicious recipes that you and your family will love. Special diets included (ie. Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Anti-Inflammatory, High Energy Diet, Gut Healing Diet, Auto-Immune, Thyroid, PCOS, etc). See how your meals can move you towards increased energy, natural weight loss, better health and healing.