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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Meal Prep 101: How to Plan

One of the questions I received when I posed this question on Facebook and here is

I don't even know where to get started.  How do I start?

I get it, you guys!  Trust me, I do.  I was exactly where you are about 2 years ago; I knew I wanted the organization in my life.  I knew I liked clean eating and cooking healthy recipes.  I just didn't have any idea how to make it all work for my family without spending hours inventing recipes.

So, I put together this worksheet to help you plan out your weekly meal plan.  It's got the necessities without any bells and whistles.  I'm sure there are other fancier planning sheets available, but if you're like me, those get distracting and then nothing gets done.  So I streamlined it.

When I started planning my family's meals, I focused on dinners.  To me, they were the hardest thing because they required me to think about more people, their likes/dislikes, evening activities, etc.  I'm a firm believer in starting with the hardest thing, tackling it, and then working backwards.  

So, I'm going to recommend that you do the same!  Think about your schedule.  If you have church on Wednesday nights and t-ball on Thursdays, those nights should be quicker and easier dishes.  Quicker and easy don't mean hitting up the drive-thru or unhealthy/tasteless frozen dinners either!  I will put together a list of healthy, quick dishes for those busy nights in the near future.  (That was another popular concern.)

You may find it easier to prep some meals in advance.  For instance, Sundays I typically roast my vegetables for the week so that at meal time I'm simply reheating them rather than taking 45 minutes to roast them.  My husband will often grill extra chicken so that we have grilled chicken for a quick salad or lunch throughout the week.  Do whatever you can upfront so that you aren't strapped for time later - we are busy enough during the week.

Take into account that you will undoubtedly end up with some leftovers by mid- to late week

I started finding recipes by scouring Pinterest for "21 Day Fix Recipes" or "Healthy Freezer Meals" or "Quick Family Recipes" and based my search on what I knew I had on hand or what my family likes.  You can follow me on Pinterest to see some of the recipes that I like here.  I have entire boards dedicated to clean eating, whole 30 meals, and food in general because...I love food.

I included a section for your shopping list because I find it easier to create my shopping list as I'm meal planning.  I generally meal plan on Fridays and check my cupboards/refrigerator to see if I have the ingredients needed to make the recipes I want to make.  Then, I add to the list anything that needs to be replenished or purchased making it easy so I'm not in the middle of cooking only to realize I am missing something.  

Let me know how your first week of meal prepping goes!  I will share my meal plan next week and some quick weeknight healthy meals you can use on those busier evenings.

Download my FREE Weekly Meal Prep Planning Sheet here!


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