Below are five strategies that finally helped me meal plan successfully. And y’all – it took me forever to learn. So give yourself grace! It’s all about the learning process.
I always felt like meal planning was for overachievers and not something I could do. You know, the Giadas or Ina Garten’s of the world – not me. But I realized I had some silly idea that all of the recipes had to be world class works of art that were worthy of 1,000 Pinterest pins.
However, I’ve learned that the key to consistency is actually the opposite! Simple is less intimidating and it’s easier to start each week when the elements of your plan aren’t complicated. For example, hard boiled eggs or a banana and peanut butter are almost always my go to snack lately. And don’t underestimate what chopped onion, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar can do to flavor your favorite vegetables or chicken in a sauté pan!
2. Make a list on paper of your meal prep steps.
Make a list of your steps with the easiest two items first. Once you do two productive steps and cross them off, like chopping fruit for smoothies or carrots for snacks, you think “Wow I did two things!” And then if you do another one, you think “Hmm that’s cool.” And then another, “Hey… I think there’s something to this!”
As you will see from my steps below, they are super simple. It only really is 7 steps. Chopped strawberries for shakes, hard boiled eggs and easy, fresh salads are staples in my plan.
3. Make an arsenal of recipes that work for your family.
We have 10-15 recipes that rotate right now so that I don’t have to spend too much time thinking each week. I try to help my challengers do this too! Those who participate in my accountability groups get a handful of recipes that anyone can eat — even the kiddos! (You gotta like meat though!) Chicken dishes that can be cut up, chili that reheats well, or some other simple, seasonal dishes.
When you’ve tried recipes and know you can make them, it takes out some of the fear and procrastination from the process!
4. Use leftovers for the following days lunch.
You are probably thinking um, hello Captain Obvious! I know, I know. But following this principle makes things so much easier when you are meal planning! Things like stir fry, chili or a roast are great to reheat and take for lunch or put in a wrap or sandwich. Part of the overwhelm of meal prepping is having to think of so many recipes! When you eat your leftovers for lunch, you have already done half the work. Pat yourself on the back, friend!
5. Double it, sister.
Double your recipe and freeze some for a day when you don’t have it in you to cook! We all become weary at times and just need a cold beverage and a couch-sitting session after a long day. How nice is it to just pull something out and pop it in the oven? Perfect for a “This Is Us” night!
Happy meal planning!
Have a specific question related to health and wellness or being a mom? Or are you interested in joining my next accountability group? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, a DM at @shannondirmann on Instagram, or simply comment on a post and I’ll do my best to get through them! I can’t wait to hear from you.