Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC
Have you made the decision to eat better this year? That’s great! Let’s help you make this a reality. Sometimes even with the best intentions, we can sabotage ourselves if we don’t set up a “master plan” to help us be successful. Meal planning and meal prepping are great ways to make sure that your nutrition goal gets fulfilled easily.
Clients often tell me that they don’t know how to eat well or are not sure how to make healthy meals, but healthy cooking can be much easier than you might think. Getting in the kitchen and cooking your own meals is the best way to take control of your health. Unfortunately, with everyone’s incredibly busy schedules, people don’t always feel that it is feasible. Most of us are rushing out the door in the morning, scarfing down lunch at the office, and then too tired to cook anything when we get home. But if we would just take the time to meal plan and meal prep, we could set ourselves up for a healthy week ahead.
Make a plan
If resolving to eat healthy in the new year feels overwhelming, that’s understandable, and you are most definitely not alone. But we all know the famous adage… if you fail to plan, then you essentially plan to fail. This is most definitely true in my experience when it comes to healthy eating. There are so many resources these days online. Wholesome, delicious recipes like the ones in the database on Marpé Wellness are just a click away. Use recipes like these to plan out your meals for the week. Make a grocery list of all the items you need, and then shop. Expert tip: If you make double batches for dinner, you can use the leftovers for lunches!
For some people, creating weekly menus and grocery lists comes naturally, and maybe all they need is a little encouragement to get back on the saddle. So if that is you, here I am saying, “You can do it! Take that time to make a plan!” For others, meal planning is a daunting task. So I encourage those in the latter group to start small. Pick one meal a day to plan and prep ahead for rather than all three, or plan all three meals but just do a few days at a time rather than the whole week. It’s important that your goal be feasible. Small progress is still progress!
Another great option is to subscribe to an online service like the one here on Marpé Wellness. Meal planning services can help lift the mental burden of coming up with healthy weekly menus saving you time, effort, and often times money. Marpé’s service will help you see just how simple nutritious meals can be. All the recipes are designed to meet Dr. Brown’s nutrition guidelines, and they are easy to follow. For just $8 a month, you receive the recipes for a weeknight dinner menu (Monday-Thursday) and the corresponding shopping list featuring tasty, nutritious meals. All you need to do is get your groceries and prep away.
Take time to prep
We’ve all been there – we plan to put together a meal filled with healthy and nutritious ingredients, but something comes up, or we don’t have the energy for cooking at the end of a busy day. Instead of standing at an open fridge with nothing in it but ingredients and opting for pizza delivery instead, set up time at the beginning of the week to meal prep. This will ensure you’re actually making and eating the healthy and delicious meals you’ve planned for regardless of a time crunch, decreased energy, or lack of motivation. Meal prepping is such a valuable tool for success. Just a few hours a week can save you lots of stress and prevent you from succumbing to unhealthy take-out choices.
Invest in storage containers
Make sure to invest in good quality food storage containers. I prefer glass ones. Not only are they much healthier than plastic, but you can just remove the lids and place them right into your oven. This is not only helpful on the cooking end, but also saves time at clean up. You’ll want containers that can hold up in the dishwasher which the glass ones do. You can also easily find great glass storage containers that have lids that lock into place to avoid messy commutes.
Give meal planning a try. I think you will realize that spending a few hours over the weekend to plan, shop, and prep will make the rest of your week go much smoother and reduce your stress level. The more you meal plan and prep, the faster you will get at it. Trust me you will be so thankful when you wake up late or get home tired from a long day that you do not need to do anything other than reheat your food or dish it out of a warm crockpot.