Does this common scenario happen in your home, making it feel like you need better meal planning strategies?
Picture this scenario:
Him: “Honey, what do you want for dinner?”
Me: “I don’t know. I’ve been so busy all day I haven’t even had time to think about dinner! What do you want?”
Him: “I don’t know. What do we have in the house?”
(Looks in the fridge… 5 day old tupperware with an old hamburger in it, carton of milk, applesauce, a variety of condiments…).
Me: “Nope, can’t make anything out of this stuff!.”
Him: “Want to order a pizza?”
Me: “Well, it’s not the healthiest option, but we have no time to shop or get anything healthy with our busy evening ahead, so pizza it is… again.” 🙁
CAN YOU RELATE TO THIS SCENARIO?
I certainly again. We lead busy lives and it’s hard to stay on track with our nutrition when we stay so busy. This was a problem in our household, and many of you on my email list tell me meal planning is a struggle in your house as well.
Today I wanted to share some real-life strategies so you no longer have this scenario each evening.
5 MEAL PLANNING STRATEGIES
1) Pick one day of the week to plan meals
Pro tip: Set a reminder on your phone as you start to build the habit!
The ladies in my Forever-Fit Warriors coaching group do this with me every Sunday. We call it #SundayPreplan and we work on meal planning ahead of time, and post meals on our coaching forum to share ideas! Some of us even shop and pre-cook some of the meals and snacks, so they are all ready when it’s dinner time during the week. Sounds simple to just say, “plan ahead,” but the truth is, many of us don’t do this. My husband and I even make a list (we put it on the fridge) of what we’re planning to eat during the week. This helps so much!
2) Build your base #PVWs
When you plan your meals and snacks, begin to build your base of healthy nutrition so you can feel better, lose weight easier and with less hunger or urges to overeat.
How often are you having your #PVWs each day?
- P: Protein: Are you having lean protein at least 3 times per day?
- V: Veggies: Are you eating vegetables (especially low-starch veggies) with at least 3 meals or snacks?
- W: Water: Are you drinking a minimum of 80 oz of water?
If not, this is the place to start. This will help build your base of healthy nutrition.
3) Satisfaction Level is JUST as important as #PVWs
When meal planning, think about how SATISFIED you’ll feel eating the foods you plan! This is so important. If you constantly feel deprived, you won’t have eat what you preplanned and it will be tempting to get the fast food and pizza!
Start to think about what small treat you might add to increase your feelings of satisfaction. For some it’s a pre-portioned piece of dark chocolate or a small glass of wine. The opportunities are endless, but picking at least one food or drink you can mindfully build into your day will help keep satisfaction high is very important.
4) Don’t forget portion sizes and calories!
When planning your meals, I don’t want you overly obsessed with making calories as low as possible. That often creates a rebound effect where we keep calories super low during the week and then “fall off the wagon” and binge on weekends and vacation. Our goal should always be moderation and balance. Ideally we want to eat the same on a Monday as we do on a Saturday (or at least as close as possible). For general guidelines on how many calories may be right for you, there are many online calculators that can get you started.
5) Need meal ideas?
You know I always want to be an open book with you, and the truth is that I am NOT creative when it comes to the kitchen, so I often get ideas elsewhere on the internet and through recipe apps to help me if I’d like new recipes.
Some of my favorites: Spark Recipes free app, My Fitness Pal Blog (search for recipes), The Gracious Pantry, and of course, Pinterest… be sure to follow Barb’s Fit For Life for nutrition and workout strategies there too!