You want to eat healthier, but you’re super-busy. I get it.
You eat out several times a week because that’s what you have to do to save time as you’re running from one practice or event to another.
But you probably realize it’s not working great when it comes to your health and fitness goals. Even if you’re eating salads and burgers with no bun, fast choices aren’t the best choices.
You want better health. You want to eat better. You don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food as much anymore. And you DO want to save time and money.
I’ve been there.
And as a health coach, I am here to help you.
I have a simple strategy that I’m more than happy to share with you. It will help you to plan and prepare healthy meals for the week.
Now, you don’t need to completely abandon your regular meals out. You can use what I’m about to share to help you eat out just one or two fewer times per week. It’s up to you.
As with any lifestyle change, start gradually so you can build consistency. The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again.
Let me walk you through my simple meal prep system, and how this can work for you.
PLAN MEALS FOR THE WEEK
I prefer to do this on the weekend. In my house we repeat a lot of the same meals, which makes it easier to plan ahead. I’m a Happy Planner user and I love the Weekly Meal Plan pages . They make it so easy with meals for the week on one side and grocery list on the back. (Also helps me remember my list for the times when ‘mom brain’ kicks in!)
If we’re trying something new that week, I’ll find the recipe and take a screenshot on my phone for easy access. Wednesday nights I teach a class which pushes our dinner time a little later than usual, so I try to do a casserole, crockpot meal, or something I can “pre-cook” and heat up when my class is finished.
Then I create my grocery list. I take a quick look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, and list the recipe ingredients that I need to buy.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure you have enough of an ingredient already, consider buying a “backup” one just in case. Tomato sauce is the one thing I can’t seem to keep enough of in my pantry, and on more than one occasion I’ve been out when I thought there was extra on hand. So frustrating, right??
Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have twice the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so you just need to heat it up when you’re ready.
Pro Tip: If you’re doubling a recipe, don’t forget to double the amount you buy from the grocery store.
Once you have your handy-dandy grocery list ready, hop on over to the store and pick up your essentials. If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too.
Pro Tip: If grocery shopping isn’t your thing, there are so many options now! Kroger ClickList is life changing for those who don’t want to drag kids into the store. Shipt and InstaCart are delivery services that work with Kroger, Meijer and Target. If you like picking your own food, but still want to cut back on the time spent at the store, check out “Scan and Go” options. My local Meijer has it (and apparently its coming to Kroger soon). You scan barcodes into the store app as you place items in your cart. A QR code is created on your phone. Hold that up to the monitor at check out and voila! Pay your bill and go! (Don’t forget your reusable bags for this option! Being able to bag as you shop? PRICELESS!!)
PREPARE FOR THE WEEK
Once you have chosen your meals and completed the shopping, it’s time to do a little prep.
The more prep you can do as soon as you get home from the store, the easier it will be to stick with your plan throughout the week. Even if the munchies hit and you must snack on something….it’s much easier to choose carrots or broccoli if it’s already chopped and ready to grab! Remember, the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.
DON’T FORGET BREAKFAST
Oh, breakfast. It’s probably the most difficult to eat at home when you have a busy schedule.
My favorite grab and go breakfast is a hard boiled egg. Okay, two eggs. I like to peel my eggs as soon as they are boiled (and cooled down a bit), so it’s done. I’ve eaten quite a few eggs in my time, so let me give you some of my best tips for perfectly boiled (and peeled!) eggs every time. Start with cold water in the pan. Add a generous amount of table sale, as well as baking soda. Drop the eggs in. Once the water begins to boil, adjust the stove temperature to keep a decent boil going and set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer sounds, drain off the hot water, adding ice or just running cold water over the eggs for a few minutes. Once they are fairly cool, add enough water to cover about half the egg. Add about 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Cover the pan and shake. This begins to break the egg shells – and gets the oil between the egg and shell so it will peel much easier.
Speaking of peeling eggs…a subject of much controversy. I’m all about my cage free eggs. And we prefer to eat the brown eggs (maybe it’s mental, but I swear they are better). BUT, I’ve found the white eggs peel better. Doesn’t matter how fresh or how long they sit in the fridge. It’s just the way it is.
And there you have it. With a little planning, you’ll be able to eat healthier while you save money and calories.
This may take some getting used to, so if I can be of help, please reach out and let me know.