If you have ever struggled with weight loss, meal planning is a way to “think before you act” and can not only make life a whole lot easier but also help you overcome your struggles. You can plan your meals according to your lifestyle alleviating the stress of having to prepare during a busy work week. The purpose of this post is to explain to you what meal prepping is and give you eight tips to start your own meal planning today, plus, check out Burn Boot Camp co-owner Morgan taking you through her meal prep!
Why Meal Plan?
We are busy people and it is imperative that we plan ahead in all aspects of life, especially nutrition. Temptation surrounds us and if you do not plan your meals ahead of time you have already made the choice to fail. If you fail to plan you have already made the choice to make an unhealthy choice.Even places like Chipotle, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Zoey’s Kitchen make ingredients with hydrogenated oils so stopping at “healthy” places isn’t the best option either. There is no other option if you want to reach optimal physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
1. Schedule the Time
Just like you schedule time for your job, appointments, and other life duties make some time for meal prepping. Healthy nutrition is the foundation to living a long and happy life. You make time to sleep, work, and socialize so why should eating be any different? I do not mean “eating” in the sense of modern day nutrition because that would allow chemicals and toxicity to your diet. I mean making the time to make REAL food and understand that it has to fit into your lifestyle.
Action Step – Pick a day and a time that you will dedicate 2 hours to grocery shopping and meal planning.
2. Make Your Own Whole Food Cook Book
It does no good to make a bunch of food you won’t eat so find the time to keep it fresh. Look up a new recipe each week and add that into your arsenal of fitness specific meal prep foods. Now make a list foods that you would like to have accessible throughout the week and keep it handy in a notebook. Keep adding a new recipe until you have your own cook book! Over time you will have figured out exactly what your diet will be. Some recipes will stick with you and some you will dislike. Figuring out your diet is a process of trial and error so keep trying new things.
3. Reprogram Your Brain
We have been lied to! Marketing and branding by big food companies has been very sneaky. We haven’t been eating “real food” at the majority of restaurants across the country for the last 25 or more years. Chemicals, GMO’s, and other toxicity has even made it into about 70% of the items at the grocery store. Modern day food has become a chemical storm and you need a “retrain of the brain” to get you wanting to eat more healthy. Stop listening to big business and let this video reprogram your brain based on FACTS!
4. Go with Theme Nights
Get creative with your meals! Eating healthy is only boring if you make it feel that way. Make a calendar for each week with different themes for each night. You will have to do this in advance so you can spend your allotted time at the grocery store efficiently. Have a Mexican night on Tuesdays and you will always be looking forward to how you will surprise your family next!
Action Step – Create a schedule with a different theme on each night. Get your family excited by talking it up!
5. Cook Enough Food for the Week
You are trading a portion of your weekend to meal prep so make sure you make enough food! You don’t want to get to Wednesday with a jam packed schedule and caught with no healthy food around. You will be more likely to fail if you do not stay prepared! Prepare enough food to last you the whole week. This goes back to planning, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”!
Action Step – Make double the servings and store them in tupperware
6. Keep Food in the Car
There is nothing worse than having hunger pains in the car. You pass by every restaurant and it stares at you saying, “come eat me!”. But you would save yourself a lot of extra calories if you were able to look away towards bag of trail mix or the Shaklee 180 Meal Bar you have in your car! This also comes in handy when the kids are in the car and hungry.
Action Step – Add 3 foods you can keep with you in your car onto your grocery list.
7. Freeze Extras for Later Weeks
Whatever you make, double it! It will take a little bit longer to prepare and cook but totally worth it. You can keep one fresh helping for the upcoming week and put the other in the freezer. The more home-cooked meals you have in the freezer the less stress you will have knowing that you always have something. It’s easier to want to eat healthy because of all of the hard work you put into creating the different foods. Extra chicken breasts are a good to have on hand as is your favorite meal, for me, it’s sweet potato quiche.
Action Step – Pick 2 of the foods you will meal prep this week and make twice what you normally would for freezing purposes.
8. Write Down Your Meals For The Day The Night Before
Your subconscious mind is most active when you are sleeping. It is has been proven that following through with a decision to get a certain task done in any day is more likely to happen when the individual commits the night before. Whether it be your “to-do” list, your meal plans, or your drop off schedule for school know exactly what you are going to do before you go to bed. Your thoughts determine your reality. Let your brain sleep on it!
Action Step – Make your meal plan for the day before you go to bed. Write down breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks, and that you will drink your body weight in ounces of water.
No Matter What…
You will never reach your desired fitness level without putting nutrition #1. You get fit in the gym you see the results of your hard work in the kitchen. I hope this list can put in perspective how meal planning generally works. You cannot out train a bad diet so please do not try! I am willing to help you with anything you need.
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