Thursday, October 20, 2016

Junk Food Rehab's Guide to Meal Planning

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  So true, even when it comes to eating healthy.  In my classes, I hear time and again that people know they need to plan ahead more when it comes to food.  Just last night, one woman shared that she often ends up eating fast food because it is so much faster than planning meals and cooking.

It's a common refrain.  "I don't have time to cook!"  And, I understand.  Our schedules are overbooked as it is.  Who has time for planning, shopping and cooking every meal of the day, 7 days a week?

Well, I have a few tips that will allow you to have your plan and time too!  Think it's not possible?   Check out these steps to success, and get your FREE copy of a Junk Food Rehab weekly meal plan full of plant based whole foods!
  1. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to cook a new fabulous meal every day!  Every time you make a meal, make double.  These planned leftovers can feed you and your family for at least one or 2 more tomorrow's lunch and the next day's too!
  2. Go restaurant style.  Do a bit of prep for the week all at once.  For example, if you eat salads throughout the week, there are a few foods you can clean and cut ahead of time, even though you might not want to assemble the might get soggy.  You can wash and cut tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, onions and most other non-leafy veggies you'll eat.  Store each in it's own container or baggie.  Pre-portion dressing into small containers.  Then assemble the salad when you're ready to eat, or the night before.  Restaurants keep containers of some cut veggies, certain cooked items, sauces, etc. ready to go.  The same ingredients can be used to make tacos one day, Mexicali Salad the next, and Southwestern Soup on the 3rd day.  Many of the same ingredients, assembled in slightly different ways  means variety with less prep work.
  3. Batch it.  Spend a couple of hours once per week prepping 2 or more meals for the week.  Doing all of the chopping, cooking and cleaning at once saves you time and energy.  Then portion out servings for your lunches or dinners for the coming week.  Having these foods already to go ensures that you will eat healthy.  Make the healthy choice the easiest choice!
  4. Organize your fridge or pantry.  One strategy I've used to make it easier for my family to take their lunch to work and school is to arrange the fridge in a way that helps them make quick choices.  I stack up containers of food for my husband's lunches (and sometimes breakfast) and put his name and meal/day on each with a mini post-it.   I place fruit options in one fridge drawer, veggies in another.  Then there is a snack bin in the pantry.  Each person could even have his/her own bin... Everyone knows:  take 1 fruit, take 1 veg and a whatever main "dish" has their name on it!  The first time you do this, it might take 10-15 minutes to organize.  But after that, it's just a matter of putting groceries away according to the plan.
I've already done some of the work for you by creating this whole foods plant based one week meal plan.  Pick a recipe or two that looks good to you, and try it!   Use the planned leftovers for the next day's lunch & enjoy.  Or, cook everything on one day and eat for the whole week.  Instead of spending 15-60 minutes every day thinking about what you'll eat, sitting in the drive through line, etc.  You pool all of that time into one part of one day & get it all done for the week.  It'll be smooth sailing all week with this strategy!  Go ahead and give it a try.  And,'ll get faster the more you do it!

Come on over and let me know when you've tried one of these strategies.
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