Meal planning is a great way to ensure that you eat healthily, and get this: it doesn’t have to be hard! That’s right, despite how overwhelmed many of us become when we think of planning meals for an entire week, meal planning can save you time and money.

Without being prepared, it is easy to end up eating something on the go, like pastries, fast food, or prepared meals. The problem with this is that often grab-and-go options are not the most healthy. Not only do we end up spending a lot of extra money that could have been saved by being better prepared, but we also feel the physical effects of poor nutrition choices.

The trick to successful meal planning is, of course, all in the preparation. Follow these steps to get started:

Pick a Day
When meal prepping, you want to start by choosing a day that works best for you where you will have a good couple hours to plan, prep, and prepare your food. Sunday is often a good day for this because it gets you ready for the week with a fresh menu.

Prepare
Next, you will want to get prepped by getting your food containers ready for each day and clearing out space in the refrigerator for your week of meals.

Create a Plan/Shop
Meal planning is about prepping food in bulk to eat throughout the week, so you will want to choose foods with lasting power, so no light greens or foods that are likely to lose their integrity after a few days. You are preparing meals for 5 days, so think balanced. You want a protein, a healthy starch and fat, and a bunch of veggies.

Get to Work
Time to get going! Because you are prepared, prep should be easy.

Here are some great ideas for your meal planning:

Breakfast – Overnight Oats
-Fill 5 jars each with ½ rolled oats
-1 tablespoon chia seeds or powdered flax seeds
-1 tablespoon protein powder
-Enough almond milk to cover your mixture
*Optional – 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and coconut flakes.

Lunch – Turkey Taco Bowl
-Sautéed 2 lbs of organic ground turkey
-1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning (or make your own)
-Roasted peppers and onions
-Rinsed black beans
-Salsa of your choice

Add in each ¼ cup black beans, ½ cup prepared ground turkey, salsa, roasted peppers and onions to each of your five containers

Dinner – Marinated Chicken Breasts
-Mix together 1 tablespoon Dijon, ¼ cup balsamic, ¼ cup olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and a hint of sea salt into a bowl.
-Place 5 chicken breasts in a glass container and coat with the marinade.
-Marinate chicken for 1 hour.
-Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Prepare sides, such as sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, or mashed potatoes to include with your meal.

Snacks – Smoothie
-½ banana
-½ cup blueberries
-1 cup chopped kale
-1 teaspoon each of flaxseed, hemp seed, and chia seeds.

Put each smoothie combo in a separate freezer bag or container and freeze until you are ready to enjoy.

Simply add water, coconut water, or your favorite milk – blend and enjoy!

Nicole C. Taylor, CEOC, CHC
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Pueblo West Essentials, Ltd.
c:  719-422-6907 * 800-682-9429
e:  nicole@pueblowestessentials.com
w:  https://pueblowestessentials.com
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Sources:
https://nutritiouslife.com/stress-less/meal-prepping-made-easy/
https://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/