Fail to plan, plan to fail! This could not be more true when it comes to setting yourself up for a successful week of nutrition that aligns with your goals.
We’ve all seen the classic picture of meal prepping – a dozen Tupperware’s lines up with the exact same pre-made meals in each for the next 4 to 5 days.
This is what I thought meal prepping was and saw it as the only way to “stick to my diet”. I spent hours every Sunday prepping the same meals for the entire week. For me, it was one of the things that contributed to my restrict-binge cycle, as I had to eat what was prepared and not what I actually wanted that day. Some people find this strategy helpful and empowering (more power to them!)- but that’s just not what leaves me feeling excited. Food is NOT just fuel- food is an experience. I found I was eating just to “eat”, which isn’t the way I want to live.
I love the time-saving benefits of meal prepping but wanted more flexibility- and that’s where I found the magical combo: meal planning combined with some basic preparation😉
Instead of portioning out all meals for the next 4-5 days, I spend some time choosing recipes that sound good and prepping some things ahead of time while leaving enough flexibility and room for real life. Because who knows if I am going to want pancakes for dinner one day?
Here are steps I take to plan and prep for the week:
The Planning – Choosing Major Meals
I spend 10-15 minutes writing down what I will make for dinner the following week. Always starting with a protein source and working around that to create a full meal. Tacos are pretty much a weekly staple, so I decide if we are going to do beef, shrimp or chicken. One night a week we always do an “easy” dinner… which means eggs, tuna or panini press sandwiches. In the summer months we do BBQ 1-2 times a week, and one night we always do a large salad + protein source.
An example of my weekly plan for dinners might look like this:
Monday: Lean beef tacos + bell peppers + onions air fried
Tuesday: Baked chicken thighs + quinoa + asparagus
Wednesday: Shrimp salad (avocado + black beans + corn)
Thursday: Egg or Tuna Salad sandwiches
Friday: BBQ burgers, sweet potato and side salad
Once I have the dinners sorted, I make my grocery list. My breakfast and snacks are usually a rotation of oatmeal, protein shakes, eggs and toast, yogurt bowls, cereal, and healthy desserts I bake. Lunches are usually leftovers, sandwiches, wraps, bean salad, avocado toasts, etc. I add in my usual popcorn, nuts, dark chocolate, ice cream and snack bars also.
I also love saving a few recipes throughout the week from Instagram that I want to try and incorporate those as part of my weekly plan.
Since having my son Matthew, I have been doing grocery pick up which is a huge time saver!
After grocery shopping or pick up, I do the following to set up my fridge for success:
- Wash and chop all fruits and vegetables – if they are ready to eat the chances of grabbing these healthy options for a snack increase dramatically!
- Prepare a batch of a grain – e.g. quinoa or brown rice
- Bake a healthy treat in a large batch for the week – I have lots of recipes posted on my Instagram!
- Marinate meat/fish for the next 2 days
Taking some time at the start of each week to plan and prep helps me stay on track and keeps my choices aligned with my goals. It is so worth the investment of time to be successful!
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