Meal planning and meal prepping can be one of the biggest game changers when it comes to successfully creating healthier eating habits.
Being prepared for a busy week can make or break your ability to stay on track with your healthy eating goals. Below I talk about my top 3 tips for meal planning for a successful week of healthy eating with flexibility.
1. Meal Prep Ingredients: I personally like to have certain ingredients prepped and ready to go versus an entire meal. This allows me the flexibility to choose what I want to eat based off of what actually sounds good in that moment versus whatever I decided I was going to be eating a few days prior. I am not a fan of forcing myself to eat things just because they are there and not actually what I want to be eating. Instead, I like to prep certain ingredients and have the ability to mix and match those throughout the week. Sometimes I make a big batch of quinoa, rice, roasted vegetables, baked chicken, meatballs, ground taco meat, etc. By having these ingredients ready to go I am still able to cut back on my cook time during the week (who doesn't love that!) but still have the flexibility to choose what I want to eat based on my actual cravings (this increases your satisfaction from eating).
Below are some examples of meals I would prepare from these ingredients:
Quinoa fried rice, quinoa taco bowls, quinoa Greek salad, buddha bowl, serve with crispy tofu and veggies, or simply season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and have as my side with protein and vegetables.
Add to an egg scramble, throw into a salad, have as a side with protein and a grain, add to a buddha bowl, or throw into a stir fry.
The possibilities are kind of endless with chicken but some of my favorites include adding it to a stir fry, making chicken tacos, chicken panini, add to a quesadilla with veggies & beans, or serve with veggies and a starch (i.e. potatoes, rice, pasta, quinoa, etc.).
TIP: plain baked chicken can be rather boring. I like to make it more exciting by using spices and sauces!
My favorite sauces:
Creamy dill sauce
Spicy peanut sauce (see my post about tempeh for the recipe)
Hummus (you can thin out hummus using a little water or lemon juice so it is easier to drizzle over your food)
Some of my favorite spice combos:
Cumin + chili pepper + smoked paprika + salt
Garlic powder + onion salt + pepper
Garlic powder + oregano + basil + thyme + salt + pepper
Meatballs (I normally use ground chicken/turkey instead of beef)
Meatballs are one of my favorite ways to use ground chicken because they way less boring than plain baked chicken and there are a lot of different flavor combos you can do: gluten free Italian meatballs, Asian style meatballs, Greek meatballs, etc.
There are also a lot of possibilities for what you can serve with meatballs: pasta (I like Banza Pasta or Jovial Foods pasta), spaghetti squash, zoodles, making into a sandwich, or serve by themselves with a starch and veggie.
2. Plan to go to the grocery store the same day each week and/or use a grocery delivery service
I find that when trying to create new habits, it helps to create a specific routine around what it is. For example, instead of saying "I'm going to go to the grocery store each week", it can be helpful to choose a specific day and time that you will go each week - "I will go to the grocery store every Sunday afternoon". Of course this won't always happen and that is OK but at least you are aiming for that to be the goal!
I also love using grocery delivery services. Lately I have been using:
Amazon Fresh: free for prime members on order over $35
Whole Foods grocery delivery: free for orders over $35
There are other grocery delivery services (Instacart) but I personally haven't used any other than Fresh and Whole Foods so I can't vouch for those.
It may seem silly but sometimes the 30 minutes that it saves me not having to go to the grocery store feels like a huge stress saver. I also like that I can grocery shop from my couch which makes me less overwhelmed and less likely to give into buy random stuff that I don't actually need.
3. Use Pinterest to find exciting recipes
I am totally guilty of getting in the rut of making the same things over and over again. Eventually I start feeling like all I want is to go out to eat somewhere. Sometimes that feeling comes from just not wanting to cook (anybody else?) but I realized a lot of the time it just means that I need to switch up my meals and try something out of my routine that excites me (lately it has been pizza!). When I'm trying to think of what that might be, I think of the meals that I like to order from my favorite restaurants. I will either try and re create those myself or I will look up similar recipes on Pinterest. For a moment I thought Pinterest wasn't cool anymore but I've been all about it these days! I like using it because the pictures help to spark my creativity or to help me decide what looks good!
**Note: I plan to use my Pinterest page as not just a place to pin my own recipes/nutrition related content but I want it to be a resource for those of you who are looking for recipe ideas. Follow me on Pinterest here**
Hope you find this post helpful to get you prepared for a week full healthy eating!
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