Meal Planning For Success

One of the first steps in starting a healthy lifestyle is having a plan. My #1 easiest way to meal plan has been to take the grocery store deal flyers for the week, and creating meals based on what's on sale there or in season at the farmer's markets. This keeps my cost down and gets me the freshest veggies!

Here are some more tips to make your meal planning as quick and painless as possible:

  • Give yourself time to plan. Don't try to rush through your meal plan, because you'll end up with a bunch of stuff that it inconvenient or you don't even like. Sit down with your calendar, all of your coupons, and local grocery store deals to plan out what will really work for you this week.
  • Start small. A week can be a little much to plan out, so start with a few days. Plan them based on your schedule. Going to be gone from 6:00 in the morning to 7:00 pm? Probably not a great time for grilling. Try a crock pot meal instead! Make your meal plan as do-able for each day as you can. 
  • Plan for error. There are going to be problems that come up. You might not get home until 8:00 pm one day when you were sure you'd be back by five. Have a few emergency meals, like sandwich lettuce wraps, in mind so that a rough day doesn't catch you completely off guard and drawing you towards a fast food trip. 
  • Have a bunch of stuff in your pantry or fridge that never gets used? Look up new recipes to get rid of them!
  • Plan for leftovers. Use the steak for last night's dinner for today's steak salad lunch! Add it to your meal plan to cut down on meal prep time. 
  • Snacks and drinks are part of the plan. Oatmega bars and ATX beef jerky are my go-to snacks when I'm out and about, they're part of my plan. I know that I use about 1/3 of an 8 ounce bag of jerky for snacks, so if I'm busy for more than three days out of the week, I'd better plan on having more than one bag! I typically prep tea in advance, but I also like to have bottled green tea or BAI5 in the fridge, for "uh-oh, I'm a crappy planner sometimes" moments. 
  •  If you want to go out to eat, plan to go out to eat. If you're on a specific diet program or have certain restrictions. Check the menu in advance. This is especially important for meetings. You don't want to be the weirdo who is sweating over the menu because there's so much on there you're "not allowed" to eat. Try to get an idea of where lunch meetings will be, and plan ahead!

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