Meal Planning: Step 1

It’s Friday! I hope everyone here has a fun weekend! Things around here will be pretty low-key with running, schoolwork, certification work, and of course Sunday Funday. It’s supposed to be gloomy and rainy so I’m not sure hiking will be the adventure of the week, but I sure hope it is. I need to soak in some a good dose of nature.

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Among my health coaching clients, one of the most popular goals I hear is that they want to get better about meal planning and having healthy meals throughout the week. They also tell me it’s one of the most intimidating goals, but one that could make the most impact on leading a healthy lifestyle.

What a difference having a meal plan can make! When I don’t have a meal plan, my already chaotic week feels nearly impossible to manage. Being a long distance runner and ridiculously hungry when I finally get home at 7:30 pm, the last thing I want is to look in the fridge and have no idea what to eat. There may have been some “I’m hangry” melt downs in my past before I discovered the importance of meal planning.

Because meal planning can seem overwhelming. It’s best to break it down into steps instead of just diving in all at once. So I’ll do a series of blog posts with some steps you can take to incorporate healthy meal planning into your own life.

Step 1 is to look at your week ahead. Be realistic with what kind of meals you can tackle. How much time do you really have to spend on preparing food? Another 1st step is to look in your cabinets and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Maybe you’ll even get a few meal ideas based off of ingredients you already have at home. The last part to this is to think about what meals sound good to you! If a meal doesn’t sound good to you when you’re planning it, it probably won’t sound good the night you’re supposed to eat it either.

This brings me to a step 1 tip. Start building a recipe book of go-to recipes. These are your recipes that are healthy, taste great, and you don’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of making them. If you don’t have these recipes now, don’t worry – you eventually will! The more you try new recipes and cook, the easier it is to realize what these go-to meals are. Read health and food blogs, check out recipe websites, and go through some of those cookbooks you have on hand. This will help you start compiling some easy go-to recipes for those weeks that are just too crazy to even think about cooking and elaborate new meal.

And that’s the first step. Not too overwhelming, right? I’ll be talking about the next steps next week. For now, just work on step one!

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