The Importance of Meal Planning & Prep

 

Let me break it down for you…It goes like this: by the time you get home and get everything from the day unpacked and in its place, you start thinking ‘ummm, what’s for dinner tonight? What do we have in the house?’ Maybe the idea crept into your brain several times throughout the day, but you pushed it aside thinking you’d deal with it later. Now your stress level is rising because you realize there are no good viable options to make a complete meal and the clock is ticking. So what do you do? You order in or make a quick processed meal because those seem to be your best options. Or you decide to eat out. Rinse. Repeat. Am I right?

Do you know how much time, money and stress a little meal planning saves? I’m talking about spending 20 or so minutes on a designated day every week going through your cookbooks and recipes and writing down all the ingredients you need for that week. Sometimes, when I can’t even find the time for that, I will have everyone in the house pick a meal they’d like to eat that week. That’s half a week of meals right there. Meal planning will save you so much brain space during the week that you will feel lighter and less stressed just by that small step alone. You will save a lot of money on groceries because you won’t just shop with no end in sight and buy food that has no purpose and could end up in the garbage. You will save money by not eating out because it won’t have to be a desperate last resort and we all know it’s a lot less expensive to eat at home than to eat at a restaurant. Takeout is included in that category. The stress of not having a plan not only causes anxiety and tension in the evening, but being relaxed before you eat your meal is so important for optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Meal prep is a whole other thing. I know it’s hard to set aside 2 hours sometimes, but even if you break it up, you are setting yourself up for so much more success to maintain healthy habits every week. Even if you keep it as simple as cutting up some peppers and celery for easy grab and go snacks to dip in hummus. Or having some clean fruit ready to go for the kiddos. A few other quick and easy meal prep items you can prepare, even while making dinner one night: hard boiled eggs, trail mix, healthy muffins, extra grilled chicken, roasted veggies, extra baked sweet potatoes, salad (sans dressing, so it doesn’t wilt). This week, try just one thing and see how it makes your life easier. Next week, maybe you’ll be inspired to try two things!

I’d love to hear what makes your week easier and less stressful as far as meal planning and prep goes. What are your go-to meal prep items? Do you rock out to music while you meal plan? Does the family get involved? Do tell!

To Good Health,

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