Maybe one of your goals in 2018 is to eat healthier. One way to achieve that goal is to meal-plan. By planning out breakfast, lunches & dinners, you have more control over what food you and your family eats. I know this may seem daunting. I mean, who has a ton of time on the weekends to meal prep?
Well there are 3 super simple ways to become an expert meal-planner. But before you read the below, I highly recommend taking it slow to start meal planning. Maybe try just one meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner. Then maybe only plan 3 days of that meal.
By starting slow, you will see measurable results and you'll be able to incorporate the steps into your routine easily. Plus you won't get frustrated and decide to stop meal planning the second week in January!
Here are my tips:
1) Make a big batch of something that has multiple uses.
The easiest example of this tip is roasting a whole chicken. Roasting a chicken means you'll have dinner one night but then you have additional chicken to use in other ways. Maybe make chicken salad by chopping up some of the chicken, mixing it with onions and mayo, then put it on a bed of lettuce with other raw veggies. Or eat the chicken salad with celery sticks.
Other batch ideas:
Overnight Oatmeal - this is so easy and can be eaten cold or heated in a microwave. No cooking involved! One serving is simply 1/2 cup oats mixed with a 1/2 cup dairy or non-dairy milk. Add in anything you like as a topping: chopped nuts, defrosted fruit, fresh fruit. The point is you don't have to spend more than 15 minutes making 3 breakfasts that are grab & go or heat & eat for busy mornings.
Taco meat (or meat-free crumbles for vegetarian nights) - one night have tacos for dinner. Use left over meat to make enchiladas or taco salads or mix it with brown rice & pinto beans for a quick Mexican stir-fry that can be served with broccoli.
Dinner Ham - at the local grocery store, there are small dinner hams that can be really inexpensive when they go on sale. The great part about these are you can serve ham for dinner one night, then make ham sandwiches or have eggs & ham for another dinner. Another quick idea is to make a ham stew in the crock-pot with the leftovers. Simply throw in chopped up ham with potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions and let it simmer on low in broth. Serve with crusty bread.
2) Rely on frozen vegetables.
When I am short on time, frozen veggies come to the rescue. Today there are so many great frozen veggies on the market. Costco even sells a huge bag of butternut squash. The best part of frozen veggies is they are already chopped! Cutting down on meal prep time.
Here are some recipe ideas:
Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice casserole. From the first step, use left-over chicken, chop it up, mix with cooked rice, frozen broccoli and chicken broth that has been thickened with corn-starch. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and BOOM! Dinner is done.
Vegetarian stir-fry. Throw a variety of frozen veggies in a pan such as broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, edamame, chop up some onions, celery, and garlic. Saute it all together with an easy soy sauce diluted with broth mixture. Serve over rice and pair with a salad.
3) Schedule time to meal-prep.
It doesn't always have to be the same time or day. Typically, Sunday works for me. But there are weekends when it doesn't. So I will do some prepping on Saturday. Or maybe I will take a night during the week to"catch-up" on prepping meals. But the key is to have a plan every week of when you are going to meal-prep. I always find that if i write it down on my calendar and block out the time, I am more likely to stick to the schedule.
I hope this post inspires you to try meal-prepping. If try any of the tips above, please let me know how it worked for you. I always love hearing your ideas. Follow my blog on Bloglovin.