With summer coming to an end, school and work are back in session, and everyone is trying to get back to their routines. Sticking to working out and being on top of your nutrition can prove to be quite challenging during this transitional period. For some, going to the gym may not be the hard part. For the majority, sticking to making good nutritional choices can be the real challenge. Meal planning and meal prepping can be two extremely useful tools to help you get back on track with your healthy lifestyle.
Meal planning is simply taking the time to plan out your meals and prep for those meals in advance. A goal without a plan is just a wish. At first, it may seem tedious but, with time and practice, it will become part of your weekly routine. Once you have the meals you'd like to eat for the week planned out, I suggest meal prepping. By having your meals already prepared, you eliminate any unnecessary time cooking and preparing during the week, allowing you to be more efficient with your time, especially if you have a very busy schedule.
Meal planning will save you time, money and your sanity. Planning and prepping your meals in advance will help you avoid eating out which can get expensive. You'll also save money by not throwing away ingredients you thought you'd turn into dinner but are just too tired to prepare when you get home from work. By planning and prepping your meals in advance you will avoid that dreaded question that starts creeping into your mind around 3:00 pm; what am I going to make for dinner. You'll eliminate that stressor and those last minute trips to the grocery store at 5:00 pm.
With all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go, you can get dinner on the table in no time.
I suggest taking time Sunday to grocery shop, meal plan, and meal prep. Although this may seem time-consuming, by assigning one day during the week to tackle planning, you will be able to navigate through your week without having to stress about meals and rushing to cook. If you feel you would rather prepare your meals throughout the week because you want your meals freshly made, that is perfectly fine. Prep what you can in advance and have all the other ingredients in the house to make the meal come together quickly. Don't forget about lunch and snacks. Cook an extra piece of salmon or chicken to throw in your salads throughout the week. Wash and prep any veggies you may want to bring as a snack to the office to avoid the donuts in the break room.
Make it fun- Many people get together with friends or family and meal plan and prep together. It's a fun way to spend time with your friends and family while get ready for the week ahead. Get the kids in on the action too. You'll be teaching your kids a much needed life skill while getting to spend quality time together. If you have picky eaters in the house, studies show that kids who help select and prepare a meal are more likely to eat it.
In time and with a little practice, meal planning and prepping will quickly become part of your weekly routine, saving you time, money and your sanity.