The Busy-Life Guide to Meal Planning
LIFE IS BUSY! Everyone is running around after kids, working long hours, and trying to fit in family time and fitness time. Where in all of this do we cook and eat properly? *light bulb turns on over head* Meal planning! Meal planning is the key to maintaining healthy eating habits for yourself and your whole family! Finding the time to meal plan can seem overwhelming when you have an endless list of things to do, but it is so worth it! So, here are 5 ways to make meal planning a quick and easy task:
Shop by the flyer: Get the flyer to your preferred grocery store and plan meals based on what is on sale that week, and then make your list. This will save you money, hours at the grocery store, and the temptation to "grab whatever" to throw together.
Plan to make extra when you're cooking dinner: It takes the same amount of time to make a double batch (or even triple batch) of spaghetti sauce, soup, or chilli to freeze for another day, or use the next day for lunches.
Invest in some good Tupperware: Tupperware can make all the difference - I mean, where else do you store your leftovers? Find some quality Tupperware (glass or hard plastic) that you can put in the freezer, or stack in the fridge to use for lunches. Also, the small sizes are great for snacks like nuts or healthy crackers!
Don't forget about breakfast: Breakfast and lunch are really important! Take an hour on a Sunday morning to pre-cook some grains (like Quinoa), prewash your veggies and greens, even keep hardboiled eggs in the fridge. You can also find a breakfast bar, egg muffin, or other healthy on-the-go breakfast recipe and make it! If you're serving Sunday brunch, put the rest away for the week!
Plan the night before: This is a big one! To save time during the big morning rush, pack your lunch and snacks the night before. Set out your containers, build your lunch, portion out your snacks, and away you go! If you have a lot of leftovers you can even portion them out for multiple days and keep them in the fridge!
Here are some pantry and fridge staples that are great to have for your meal prep:
Eggs (Fresh & Hardboiled)
Canned Tuna (in water), pre cooked chickpeas, black beans (make sure to rinse canned beans well)
Quinoa (pre-cook and keep in the fridge)
Prepped and cut raw veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli & cauliflower last a while, cucumber is best cut up at the time-of)
Avocado (great to top off salads and eggs)
Natural Nuts & Seeds
Nut Butter (almond, peanut, cashew, tahini)
Homemade salad dressing
Finally, for a great snack to keep you going, here is a recipe for No-Bake Cinnamon Energy Balls (you heard that right!)
Happy meal prepping!