Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Planning

For me, meal planning is essential to stay on track with healthy eating.  If I didn’t meal plan every week, I would end up eating pizza rolls and cookie butter every night for dinner.  

Wednesday is my grocery shopping and meal prep day.  I’ve noticed Sundays tend to be a popular prep day, but Wednesday is my day off so that works best for me.  The important thing is to find a day that works and stick with it.  Not only does meal prep help prevent eating fast food or making unhealthy impulse decisions, it also makes my wallet much happier. 

First, I write down my schedule for the week.  This helps me decide what days I can make a more time consuming recipe, if I should have something cook in the crockpot while I'm working, or if I need something that will come together quickly.  I write it out like this:

Then I write down some recipes that sound good to me and that will likely fit with my schedule.  Pinterest is my favorite resource for recipes, but I also have some cookbooks and easy recipes in my brain.  I write down anything that sounds good:

The last step is making the final menu for the week.  I tend to choose recipes that use perishable ingredients earlier in the week so I don’t waste food or have to make extra trips to the store.  I also try to make sure I don’t have too many similar things in a row:

I really enjoy going through this process every week.  I get too bored with my meals if I have a set meal plan for every week and I like to try new recipes.  Not to mention, this really satisfies the obsessive list-maker in me.'s what the finished product looks like each week: 

I have my dinner meal planning down to a science.  And I found a breakfast that I love and have yet to get sick of- Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk.  My biggest struggle is lunches.  I get bored quickly with eating the same thing every day and my work schedule doesn’t always allow me to heat up food (or eat at all sometimes).  Plus, I always forget to prep my lunch the night before and then I’m too lazy to pack it in the morning.  Most of the time I end up packing a yogurt or a Larabar, which doesn’t always fill me up.  What I need are some quick lunch ideas that I can rotate throughout the week.

What are your favorite easy and healthy lunches?

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