One of the most effective ways to ensure you eat healthier on a daily basis is to plan and prep your meals in advance. Doing so helps to eliminate some of the most common causes of unhealthy food choices, such as:
- “I don’t have time to cook something healthy.”
- “I don’t have any healthy food in the house.”
- “I just want something quick and easy.”
When meals are planned, ingredients are in the house, and, in a best case scenario, meals and snacks are already prepped, it is so much easier to make those good choices. So how can you set yourself up for success when it comes to meal planning? Let’s look at a few key tips:
- Start small and build from there.
One way to start integrating meal planning into your life is to do so on a small scale. Maybe at first you only do it for those super busy nights of the week so that your meals on those nights are done in advance. Or maybe you just plan and prepare 2-3 meals for the week in general and use them as you see fit. There’s no right or wrong. Just get started and allow yourself to ease into it.
- Get organized.
Make your meal planning and prep fast and easy by getting organized in your kitchen. Organize your pantry, your recipes, and anything else you might use in your meal planning and prep process. Make sure you make a weekly grocery list too. Anything you can do in advance to set yourself up for success will pay off in the end.
- Consistent time each week.
Setting aside a consistent time each week again helps to ensure you follow through with your meal planning and prep. Allow yourself some grace if you can’t always do it on the exact same day of the week or at the exact same time, but definitely plan for it on a consistent basis.
- Prep snacks and meals (batch cook).
Batch cooking could easily be a whole blog post in and of itself. But taking time on a consistent basis to make all your food is a huge win for your healthy eating habits. If you get organized, get all your groceries, plan your meals, and set aside consistent time each week to prep your food, you truly are setting yourself up for healthy eating success. The more you do this the better you will get at looking over your planned meal list and coordinating the prep of your meals. A few hours on the weekend, for example, can save you hours during the week and ensure you are eating healthy even on your busiest nights.
- Pick one or two involved recipes at most…especially at the start.
While it might be tempting to find all kinds of new recipes to try, again it is best to start small. Find one or two recipes at most and build from there. For example, most weeks I have a slightly more involved recipe for one or two of my meals. The other meals I plan and prepare will be simple meals (i.e. a protein and some veggies, like salmon and broccoli or a salad). As you get more comfortable with meal planning and prep, and/or you can allot more time for meal prep you can add in more and more recipes. But again, start small and build on your success.
Some final words of wisdom: Small steps will help you win the race. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Follow these tips and ease into healthy eating every day. Namaste.