PLAN AHEAD FOR A DELICIOUS, HEALTHY AND CREATIVE WEEK
One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is not planning ahead. And it can be even more challenging when you have food allergies.
But simply by doing a little planning ahead of time, you can launch yourself into a healthy (and allergy-free) week without a lot of work.
While not everyone likes this method of prep, it really is the easiest and most effective way to ensure you always have something healthy on-hand. I believe having a structure to start planning from is the foundation of a healthy week.
And the more you practice this method, the easier it will get for you.
Here’s how I recommend you get started:
- Every Sunday, go through your recipes and recipe books (or search for recipes online) and decide what you want to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner that week. I suggest you select at most five dinner recipes because you’ll want to build in room for eating out, leftovers, etc. Another way to do this is to think of ingredients you want to cook with that week, and build recipes/meals around them.
- Once you know what you want to make, go through the ingredient lists for each recipe and write down on a grocery list everything you need to buy (but first check to see which ingredients you already have).
- Next, “map” out your meals for the week using one of the three meal plan worksheets (see below). Personally, I like to choose what I want for dinner the day of, but for breakfast and lunch, it helps me to have a plan in place.
Keep in mind, this is not a perfect system. There will be times when it’s just not in your schedule to cook the meal you had planned for that day. But having a plan will help you cook more often.
Not having a plan will force you to default on eating out or eating something unhealthy, like fast food, which can stifle your creativity.
Tips To Help You Out
Here are some tips I have for helping you with your meal planning:
- If possible, paperclip all your recipes for the week together and put them up on the fridge with your meal plan. That way you never have to go looking for a recipe. And if you’re using recipes out of a recipe book, write the book name and page number where the recipe can be found on your meal plan worksheet so you’ll know right where to find it.
- Prep your breakfast and lunch for the next day the night before. This is especially helpful if you have to go to work in the morning.
- Try your best to stick with the plan. Yes, it can be difficult to stick with a plan, but try anyways. Instead of ordering take out, take the time to cook something from your meal plan. You’ll be glad you did. Plus you won’t end up throwing away a bunch of ingredients you didn’t use.
- Choose recipes you love. Don’t force yourself to choose recipes just because they’re healthy. Find healthy recipes you love. Because if you don’t love the recipes, you’ll never cook them and all your planning will be for nothing.
Being organized is the most important part of meal planning. To make your efforts even easier, here are four blank worksheets that you can print and use each week. There are three meal plan documents that range from simple to more detailed. Use the version that works best for you:
- Organized Grocery List (blank)
- Detailed Meal Plan (blank)
- Detailed Meal Plan, Work Week (blank)
- Overview Meal Plan (blank)