Hey, Lifers!  Do you want to know a little secret Tom and I have figured out that is absolutely KEY to setting us up for success to meet our health and fitness goals???  Actually, beyond the 24 Hour Plan and sticking to the basics of drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and doing some kind of daily intentional movement, this is THE most important thing you can do. Yup, you guessed it (really smart of you, based on the title of the post!)….It’s Meal Planning and Food Prepping!

As Tommy Cakes likes to say, “Bada Boom Bada Bing! That’s our secret sauce! Delicious!”

So, what the heck do we mean by meal planning and food prep?  Nope, we aren’t talking about a complicated, restrictive diet to follow.  I think we’ve been pretty clear that we just aren’t doing that to ourselves anymore.  Nope, it’s not spending hours and hours of your life canning fruits and vegetables and butchering chickens and hogs. 

Now don’t get me wrong, we do plenty of modern homesteading stuff around our house.  Well let’s be honest, so far no creatures have been slain here – unless they have lots of little legs or they are of the hairy, rodent persuasion – in which case this gal goes into full on girly mode and screams for help from the big strong men in her life!  

Meal planning and food prep for us means taking a realistic look at your week and your family’s schedule, figuring out a menu that makes sense, and spending some time on the weekend (or during the week – whatever works for you) preparing food to have healthy options at the ready.  I kid you not, when you start doing this you will wonder why the heck it’s taken you so long!  Ready to get going??? 

Listen to the Podcast!

To listen to the Day 6: Meal Planning and Food Prepping for Success Podcast and follow along, please click the player or the download link below.

Download MP3 (46.3 MB)

Tips for Meal Planning Your Weekly Menu

Meal Planning: start where you are! Taking stock of your freezer and pantry is a great spot to start – January 2019

Check out our tips below for meal planning to help get you started.:

  • Start by looking at your calendar to see what activities are scheduled for the week.  If your kiddos have basketball practice, music lessons and dance rehearsal three nights that week, you know you will need to plan meals that you can either pop straight into the microwave to heat up when you get home, or grab and take along as you run around.  The nights you are home you can realistically plan something that takes a bit more preparation.
  • Look in your freezer and pantry to see what you already have on hand.  This will be a topic for another blog post since it speaks to the financial freedom/frugal living discussion, among many others!  The goal is to have a nice stock of meats, fruits and vegetables, and other pre-prepared items on hand that you will be able to “shop” from instead of relying on getting everything for the week from the grocery store.  We have done this by buying in bulk when something goes on sale (within reason for your family’s needs), rather than just buying for that one meal we are preparing.  It takes time to get to this point, but it’s SO worth the effort! Having food in the pantry and freezer really helps with meal planning efforts! After all, we can use what we have first (and keep rotating food)!
  • Schedule your dinners for each day of the week.  If you don’t have a stock of food on hand to “shop” from to plan your meals, you can plan your meals based on what’s on sale a the grocery store that week.  For instance, if boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale, you can plan several recipes that center around chicken, making sure to buy enough for all the planned meals (or even better, buy extra and freeze some to start your own “store”).  Or you can plan based on whatever you have a hankering for that week – whatever new, delicious, healthy Pinterest recipe tripped your trigger – this is YOUR plan!    
  • Plan 1-2 breakfast and/or lunch items to prep.  In an effort to simplify life, I typically plan 1-2 breakfast items to prep for the week and eat them all week at work.  On the weekends sometimes I get wild and crazy and make a big breakfast, but never during the week.  I need something that’s ready to go that I can eat when I get to work (and for you mommas and daddies that have little ones to get off to school, this is a way to send them out the door with a healthy breakfast in their tummies that you don’t have to cook at the butt-crack of dawn!)  Check out our Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats Recipe our Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats Recipe, and our Bulk Preparing and Freezing Oatmeal post for some inspiration.  More recipes will be posted up soon on the blog, I promise!
  • Plan your grocery shopping list.  Based on the recipes you have planned for the week, write out your grocery shopping list.  We keep a magnetic tablet on the fridge that we can write down things as we run out of them or something pops in our head that we would like.  If we don’t write it down, we never remember when we’re at the store!  Here’s another awesome life-hack that we recently started doing... we use an app called Cozi that is a shared family calendar that includes interactive lists and recipes.  That way we have one digital calendar that we all can see, we can color-code tasks for each family member (remember, I’m a total dork who loves organizing and color-coding things), and we also keep our running grocery list that we can all access.  So check this out… if Tom runs to the store, he doesn’t have to call me to ask what we need, he can see the list.  And then I can see when he’s checked something off the list.  MIND. BLOWN!
  • Remember to plan for some healthy snacks.  We don’t want to go through all of the meal planning work and then blow it at the vending machine or gas station when the Snickers or Cheetos urge hits us!
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where you will find most of your whole, fresh foods, so where you want to focus most of your shopping time.  The aisles are full of processed junk, so have your list ready and only grab what you need on it from those center aisles.  
  • Learn to read the food labels.  Specifically pay attention to the ingredients, as you will be amazed by what is in some of those “healthy” foods.  Typically the more ingredients something has, the more processed it is.  The manufacturers list the ingredients in order of most to least, so the first few ingredients are the bulk of it.

The Cliffhanger….

Food Planning, Cozi, Cozi app, Grocery List, Renew You, Health and Fitness
The Cozi App is a beautiful thing! This is the interactive grocery list – January 2019

Whew, that’s a lot!  But I’m telling ya, a little bit of meal planning goes a long way.  It is absolutely critical if you want to be successful at losing weight and maintaining it for a lifetime.  Now I know the next question on everyone’s mind is… “So, now that we’ve bought all of this healthy food, what the heck do we do with it?”  Check out our next post, Food Prepping for Success, to find out!

(Like that cliffhanger, Lifers?)

Listen to the Podcast!

To listen to the Day 6: Meal Planning and Food Prepping for Success Podcast and follow along, please click the player or the download link below.

Download MP3 (46.3 MB)

%d bloggers like this: