The only way I stay on track with my diet and nutrition is through weekly meal planning. This isn’t exactly rocket science, but I haven’t entirely shared my process on the blog. I thought it might be helpful for some of you readers who are looking to start meal planning in an affordable, convenient way.
First, I start with the recipe search. I use a variety of websites, but Pinterest is by far my favorite. You can see all of my pinned clean meals here. Pinterest is a great tool because it’s visual. It’s helpful to see the meal you might prepare before actually making it. Plus you get a mix of recipes by bloggers and professional chefs, and I think it’s fun to try out both.
Next, I make my grocery list based on these items. I use a Google doc, which is available online, but it’s private. This is through a service called Google Drive. If you have a Google account or gmail address, you have access to this free internet storage. Make the most of it — it’s perfect if you have a smart phone you want to use while shopping. Eliminates the need for paper and pen, though sometimes going that route can be more helpful. All depends on how you work. Also, shopping based on recipes eliminates superfluous items, so you save on cost in the end.
On Sundays, I spend the early morning or early evenings preparing some of these meals. This includes either making the entire dish and refrigerating it, or just chopping and getting things ready to cook the night of the meal. I am also sure to make 4-5 lunches for myself, otherwise I would never eat healthy throughout the week. It’s too easy to pick something that isn’t good for you when nothing is available.
This past Sunday morning, I got up at 7:30 a.m. and prepared kale salads, a chicken casserole and turkey chili. The salads will serve as my lunches, the casserole will be dinner for 2-3 nights and the chili will be available when I need a quick meal and don’t have time to cook. I also have one more recipe I’ll break out later in the week, and all ingredients for that are chopped and prepared.
It doesn’t take that long to prepare, but it does take time. Give yourself between 1-2 hours. I know it sounds like a lot, but much of the cooking can be done while you are doing other things — household chores, surfing the internet, reading a book. Carving out this time on a weekly basis will ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need, all week long.
How do you meal prep?