5 Tips for Meal Planning


One of my goals this year is to become more productive and purposeful with my time.  That means planning and prepping and really just being prepared for what life has to throw at me at any moment!

Last year I found myself frazzled often and when my husband asked, "What's for dinner?" my response more times than not was... "ummm I'll figure something out"  or, "maybe we should just grab something out."

I realized that I HAD to get things more organized in my life not only so that I could make my own goals happen but also so that I could really be the wife and mom I wanted to be and provide good healthy meals for my family!

I've been experimenting with different recipes, with mean planning and with new meals that I can make for my growing family this year and its been really successful so far! I'm learning so much! 

My example meal plan (1800 calories)

Recently I've gotten into the habit of weekly meal planning and prepping.  Today I want to give you 5 tips to help you with your meal plan habits and show you what my meal plans look like.

1. Keep it simple sister!

You don't have to go crazy with finding elaborate recipes each week.  Re-use the same recipes your family already loves and try one new recipe each week to keep it interesting and to add to your rotation.  Keep your breakfast super simple and eat the same things every day for one week. The next week if you want to you can change it up a little here and there.

2. Leftovers

I always suggest adding your leftover meals into your plan.  Certain meals I know I will make more of so that we can enjoy them for multiple nights in a row. Or if I know I'm going to be strapped for time the next afternoon I will make sure we have enough for dinner and lunch the next day as well and work this into my plan.

3. It doesn't have to be PERFECTLY planned.

I always have a "plan" now but its doesn't always work out exactly right.  Plans are just tentative and it gives me something to go off of to make a grocery list and map out our week. I've noticed lately that I usually end up making A LOT of food and often times we have enough to eat for more meals than I planned for.  

4.  Make it easy.

Pick one day each weekend when you're going to plan and really think about your week. Figure out which meals you're  normally in a rush or strapped for time for and meal prep those out in advance or like I mentioned make enough for two days the previous day so that you can just re-heat and go.  If you know every Thursday night you have to go to your kid's baseball games don't plan to cook that night. Cook on Wednesdays or even on the weekend before so that you have extras to eat the nights you are busy.

5.  Schedule in your cheats

Every Friday or Saturday night I schedule in my 1 cheat meal for the week.  This gives me a guideline to know when and where I'm going to be eating something off of my plan and keeps me on track with eating healthy the rest of the time.  It also gives me something to look forward to!

One of my recent meal plans.  At 29 weeks pregnant I am eating more calories than most people (around 1800) so if you're not in a high calorie bracket you will need to modify this to fit your needs.  Feel free to use this for ideas and recipes!

One last thing I recommend is when you make your meal plan make sure it includes 5-6 small meals per day and that it corresponds to your current goals and caloric needs.  For example, when following the 21 Day Fix meal plan here's how you would find your caloric baseline:

1. Take your current weight and multiply it by 11.  This is your caloric baseline.
2. Then add 400 (Fix workout calorie burn) to your caloric baseline.
3. The subtract 750 (caloric deficit) from your maintenance calories.

(If you're pregnant or nursing I recommend adding a minimum of 500 calories to that number).

The number you get should be the target range for how many calories you would eat each day.

If you need more ideas on meal planning CHECK THIS OUT as well for more tips on meal prep for the 1,200-1,500 calorie range.

Recipe Links:

Egg Cups
Roasted Rosemary Chicken
Tuna Salad
Cauliflower Breadsticks
Chicken Fajitas
Turkey Chili
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers

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