Who hasn’t left work late, dreaming of a good meal but feeling energy depleted and very little desire to shop and then cook? A quick takeout meal could be the answer, even if that means turning a blind eye on the expanding waistline and calorie-laden trap that you are deliberately stepping in. Nothing stops you from imagining yourself walking through the door where waiting for you is a delicious home-cooked dinner, every day of the week! Meal prep is a great planning tool to help keep you on a healthy eating track. While there is no one master formula, planning your meals is effortless, depending on your food preferences, love for cooking and mindset, but it will help you create your own style and take deliberate control of your waistline.
To truly be healthy and feel amazing in our bodies, we need to give it the nutrients it needs, in a sustainable way that doesn’t make us feel deprived. Unfortunately, we are vulnerable to living out the unhealthy habits and conditioning from our parents- this includes what we eat, how we shop, snacking habits, food pre techniques and emotional eating tendencies.
Each person ticks differently and I’m there to help you discover the path that’s right for you.
Disclaimer: I’m going to give heaps of advice and good tricks in this article. They will not all work for you! You have to find that happy spot where meal planning takes the edge off, rather than put more pressure on your daily life. Doing everything I advise here is too way too much. You will find what works for you, and you will use it to your benefit. Until then it’s all about trying new ways in a slow and sustainable way!
WHY MEAL PLAN?
Meal planning saves you time when shopping – you don’t have to look around too much, think about what you’ll be making while checking out all the options out there. The 30 min a week it will take you to plan out the week, will be totally worth while, as you’ll be shopping once for the whole week.
No more standing holding the refrigerator door, hoping a recipe will somehow jump at you. Everything will be planned, and if you do it smart, you can also make enough to rely on leftovers!
Saving money AND food waist – When you go shopping with a prepared list, you’re more likely going to spend less money, as you will not be inclined to buy things that are not on the list. You can also avoid food waist as you don’t buy something you already have at home or will not be using.
Healthier Eating – You’re more inclined to eat healthier, as you base your menu plan around good healthy recipes, rather than the frozen pizza that’s on sale this week.
Reduces stress – Everything is written down and planned out. There’s no reason to stress. Not about food anyways! This is especially true if you have an online supermarket that delivers to your home and offers high quality, local organic ingredients, which means you can do your shopping in your pyjamas.
SO HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT?
- Make sure you have an organised place where you save recipes. If it’s in a hand-written recipe book, a special app, or saving your loved recipes on Pinterest, having them all in one place makes life much easier.
- Make sure to come up with enough recipes to have a nice rotation. Having seasonal recipes will help not get tired of making and eating the same meals over and over again.
- Dig through old recipes and “healthify” them to add more to your repertoire.
- revolve around ingredients you already have. Check out the pantry and fridge for ingredients that should be used, and work from there.
- If your house is bare naked and has zero ingredients (which sometimes does happen), revolve around favourite veggies . That way you base meals around the healthiest part, and add side dishes of grains or protein.
- Plan around fruit and vegetables that are in season. There’s no point in planning on guacamole when avocados are overpriced, taste like Styrofoam, and had traveled half the world to get to your plate.
- Know your schedule – Book specific dates and times for shopping and cooking! Mark it in your family calendar, with a permanent marker, and make sure to activate your family members to get extra hands helping.
- Figure out what time of day you are have more time and energy to do the planning and shopping.
- Always make extra! If you’re already going to spend time in the kitchen, you might as well make enough to last you a couple of days. Alternatively you can make a larger amount of just one part of the meal (either whole grains, protein, or vegetables), and reinvent the leftover as a whole new recipe. Make sure leftovers are also in the plan. There’s no need to have something new every single day.
- Speaking of leftovers, make sure to have one day where you simply pull out all the leftovers for a “fridge clean” meals.
- Only focus on 1-2 new recipes a week. The rest should be recipes you know and love. That takes the pressure off and keeps things realistic.
- Use your freezer wisely! Broth, sauces, beans/legumes, prepped veggies, or whole prepped meals to simply warm up or cook are all great ways of using your freezer.
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