Why should you plan your meals?
We all want to be healthy, we’re all on-the-go (well, aside from quarantine), and we all eat food while sometimes not making the best choices.
When we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Meal planning isn’t just for those trying to lose weight … here are just a few reasons why you should try meal planning this week! Or, scroll down to see some great recipes and check out some great free meal planning apps!
1. Save Time.
Figuring out what to eat throughout the week can be stressful, and much of the time isn’t spent doing the actual cooking! Extra (and unnecessary) time is spent throughout the week making extra shopping trips for ingredients, deciding on recipes, and the last-minute scramble when you realize you don’t have a plan for dinner (or lunch!) tonight.
Spending a few minutes at the beginning of your week will help you feel more prepared, allow you to create a list for shopping items, and avoid the 5:30 p.m. call for pizza because you didn’t have a plan.
2. Eat healthier.
See above. ;–) Odds are, if you sit down and come up with a plan for even one meal each day during your week, you won’t write down “Chinese take-out” … at least not every day. Planning ahead can help you make smart and healthier choices than if you follow your stomach’s guidance when it’s hangry.
3. Don’t waste food.
Finding recipes that feed you and the people in your home isn’t hard—and neither is increasing nor decreasing the amount you make. When you plan your meals ahead, you’re able to prepare enough food for one meal—or, plan to eat leftovers so you don’t waste food!
4. Don’t waste money.
You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save by planning and following through with your meal planning. Choose meals with ingredients you already have at home (or that just need a couple extras) and create your shopping list based around what you’re cooking.
Need lunches for work? Make sure you cook a little extra for leftovers. Voila! Lunches, done.
Meal planning templates & apps
Unsure where to start? Here are a few free templates and apps to get you going on your way to meal planning!
Need some simple and easy snack and meal ideas to inspire you? Try these!
Feeling snack-y? Having trouble getting in your greens throughout the day? Try a smoothie. This basic recipe can be upgraded to include anything you like!
- 1 cup ice cubes (or less if you want it less thick)
- Giant handful of your favorite greens (you won’t even taste them!)—spinach, kale, etc.
- ½ cup fruit (frozen if you want a thicker texture)
- 1 cup milk or water (cow, almond, cashew, soy, oat, rice … the sky is the limit!)
- 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
Add all ingredients to your blender, and blend!
Make these ahead of time and have a week of healthy breakfasts that are ready to go! Mix up the recipe to create different flavors!
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder
- 2/3 cup milk (again, pick your fancy—cow, almond, cashew, soy, oat, rice …)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP dark chocolate chips
- 1 TBSP peanut butter
Add all ingredients to a jar or container with a lid. Mix until all ingredients are blended, place lid, and keep in fridge.
When ready to eat, add a little more milk and stir. Top with fruit or nuts if desired.
Protein Brownie Batter
Sometimes, you just need a chocolate-y snack—even better when it’s packed with protein! (This is great for post-workout.)
- ½ scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder
- 2 tsp peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 2-3 TBSP water
Melt your coconut oil in a bowl for a few seconds. Mix in the protein powder and peanut butter, then add water 1 TBSP at a time until you reach that brownie batter consistency (or however you like it!).
Pro Tip: Freeze this for a frosty treat!
Dinner is a four-letter word in many houses, but it doesn’t have to be! A few simple ingredients, a plan, and making dinner can become something you look forward to.
Simple and healthy dinner ideas coming at you! Pick one today, or even better … plan out your week!
We can all stand to improve our nutrition in some way, and there are so many ways to start making changes.
What are your favorite simple and easy recipes? Share in the comments below!