Lindsey is my name, meal planning is my game
What does your Sunday morning look like? After a cuddlefest in bed, we usually slowly make it to the kitchen, start some coffee, make some pancakes and then, after breakfast while the kids are playing, I start my weekly meal planning. Since becoming a parent, meal planning has been so important – I wish I would have started this routine a long time ago! My family sometimes gives me a hard time about always thinking about what the next meal is. At breakfast, I’m planning lunch and on Sundays, I’m planning every dinner meal for the week. One of my favorite quotes, supposedly by Benjamin Franklin is:
“If you fail to plan, plan to fail”
I know I’m a Virgo and planning (anything really) excites me, but I think meal planning is important for any astrological sign and for anyone looking to control their weight. Read on to see why I’m so giddy about this process and how you can incorporate it into your life.
Meal planning is a science (I think!) but it doesn’t have to be hard. Just like any recipe, get your meal planning tools out and ready for step 1. The tools for success in meal planning are:
- grocery list
- 7-day blank menu
- weather app
- coffee (always)
- spotify? get some relaxing music going if you want 🙂
- Ask for input. I always ask my 4-year-old to pick a meal for dinner. He usually picks a baked grilled cheese, so sometimes it takes some coaxing to think of something else – or we will put a new twist on a regular grilled cheese. I ask my husband for input too.
- Check the calendar. What do you have going on that week? Swim lessons on Wednesday at 4:45 doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cook – so we have to make sure the meal is easy to make when we get home.
- Check the weather – I’m nice – I don’t make my husband grill in the rain 🙂 If the weather looks nice – eating outside is always fun too!
- Now that you have done your research – start planning! Sunday we are going to the pool all day, so let’s throw together some kabobs and stick them on the grill when we get home. Hint: cutting up the meat and veggies beforehand makes this dinner even easier to throw together last-minute.
- Review your menu. Every meal should consist three major things: protein, carbohydrates/starch and produce. Make sure you have a veggie at every meal (remember that HALF of your plate should be from produce) as well as 1/4 a plate of a starch and 3 ounces of protein. More to come on creating a well-balanced plate to come!
- Write out your grocery list. Don’t forget to add necessities for lunch and breakfast meals as well. Go through your menu and count up how many chicken breasts you need, how many total onions, greens, etc that you need for the week. Notice how my grocery list is more produce than anything else.
- Head to the grocery store! I love going solo and plugging in my earbuds and having some alone time with some tunes.
Perfect Your Pantry Inventory
If all of the ingredients for healthy, well-balanced meals are in your home, you avoid the “what are we having for dinner tonight?” fiasco. Having a plan means that you can look forward to a meal and feel more prepared when it comes to 5:00 pm. If it’s in your pantry or fridge already, you are more likely to eat/prepare it!
A scrapbook style cookbook is my favorite kind of book. Thanks to an idea from a good friend a few years ago, I started a cookbook of my own with excerpts from magazines, other cookbooks and family recipes, all in one place. Our favorite meals are put together in one book – so it’s my go-to resource for meal planning. I love ripping out pages from magazines of new recipes to try. Printing from Pinterest is so easy when you have a book to throw the recipe into. I’ve gone from a 1-inch binder to now outgrowing a 2.5″ one. It’s great to write notes in your recipe too – did you find 25 minutes in the oven was too long? Change the recipe for the next time you make it.
Plan to WIN
Lastly, my advice to you is to always be thinking a meal ahead. In the mornings, figure out what your lunch schedule will be. I pack a lunch for the boys and myself almost every day. Whether we are at the pool, the park or a museum, our lunch is readily available whenever we are hungry. I’m proud to say that my kids don’t know what McDonald’s is. They don’t know about happy meals or getting food from a drive thru and I’m proud to say it’s because of planning ahead. I avoid those unhealthy fast food visits because I have already packed them a nutritious well-balanced lunch for them to eat.
Packing snacks is a huge win too. If you find yourself hungry mid-morning, start packing a snack like carrots and hummus or whole wheat crackers and peanut butter to avoid hitting up a vending machine or binge eating something else. Don’t forget your water bottle either!
Meal planning is fun and helps you keep unwanted calories away. Help your weight loss efforts by planning your meals out today!
As always, ask questions 🙂