If you are new here, welcome to my site! You will learn tips and tricks to help make your life less stressful and have more time for the things you actually WANT to do each day! Today we are talking about meal planning, what it is, why you should be doing it, and HOW to actually do it!
WHAT IS MEAL PLANNING?
Let’s not make this harder than it needs to be. Meal planning is simply planning the meals that you and your family are going to eat each day. That’s it! There are so many ways that you can do this, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
Before I go to bed each night, I look at my meal planner for the next day, and pencil in what I'm going to eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and supper. I like to use Autumn Calabrese's 21-day fix portion control, so I count my containers (servings) for the day. I have found this where it's significantly better for me and my schedule.
WHAT IS BACKWARDS MEAL PLANNING?
I like to recommend doing backwards meal planning. Most people don't do it, but I believe it saves you time & money. Who doesn't want more money or time on their hands? Most people pick out their recipes and then shop for their ingredients. I find that if I do inventory on the food I currently have in the house, I can make meals to use those ingredients up first. This eliminates food waste which saves money and it prevents the need of frequent trips to the grocery store which saves you time and money.
WHY MEAL PLAN?
IS MEAL PLANNING FOR EVERYBODY?
Yes! Meal planning looks differently for everybody, but everybody can use it!
They are different seasons in life where meal planning looks differently. When I was single and teaching, my meal planning was very simple. I would make one to two meals for the week, and eat them as lunch and suppers. I could easily make my salads for the week, or leftovers for lunches at work.
Now with two kids and a husband whose schedule changes frequently, it is much harder for me to meal plan. That is okay. Life is busy, each day looks differently. No matter what season you are in, I believe meal planning can work for you. Make sure you check out my free download, that helps me stay at organized and me like meal planning.
Tip- think about things you can eat over & over and meal prep them. Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prepping to learn how to make meal prepping fit into your busy schedule!
If you eat food, meal planning is for you!
MEAL PLANNING VS. MEAL PREP
Have you ever seen those beautiful pictures of color coordinated containers of food all prepped and ready to go for the week? This is what most of us think of when we hear meal planning, or prepping.
But what most people don't realize is meal planning and meal prepping are very different. Meal planning is the first step of getting organized and then meal prep is the physical preparation of the food. Both are incredibly helpful in saving mommas tons of time!
HOW TO MEAL PLAN
1. Look at your pantry & fridge for things that are about to expire or go bad. Feel free to jot these down on a piece of paper.
2. Look at calendar to see how busy the days are that are coming up. If I am going to be out of the house for most of the day, I want an easy supper, or maybe even a crockpot/Instantpot meal.
3. Brainstorm/ research some recipes ( I like to keep a paper with our family favorites).
4. Sketch in pencil on a meal planner (checkout the free one that I use) what you will have for dinner, lunch, and breakfasts.
HOW TO MEAL PLAN FOR WEIGHT LOSS
PICK A SYSTEM FOR LOSING WEIGHT. (counting calories, weight watchers, counting carbs, 2B Mindset 21 day fix portion control, etc.). As a fitness coach, I recommend 21 day fix portion control.
DO FOOD INVENTORY of what is in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Again, you are looking for items that need to be used up!
LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR to see which days are extra busy and will require a very simple meal.
BRAINSTORM IDEAS for meals that you can make with the items you already have.
SKETCH WHAT YOU WILL BE EATING FOR THE DAY. Plan out EVERY item that you are going to eat. If you know you are going to eat a lot of carbs for supper, go light on your carbs at lunch, etc.
STICK TO THE PLAN. If you have already counted out and tracked exactly what you are going to eat, don't fall into temptation and eat that cookie because you got bored.
Don't just take my word for it, try it out yourself and let me know how it works for you and your family!