One of the most important things you can do to help yourself in this journey is to PLAN AHEAD. Having a vision of your new, healthy self is a great place to start. How will you feel as you reach your goals? What new things will you be able to do with more energy and strength? Once you have these positive thoughts established, it’s time to take pragmatic steps towards your goal. This is where meal planning and food prep comes in, and we have tons of great information to share with you regarding these effective strategies!
Research published just last year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that spending less that one hour a day preparing food at home is associated with eating more fast food. However, those who spent more time on meal prep typically had better dietary habits, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables.
Having your meals and snacks planned out for the week can help you avoid hasty, unhealthy meal decisions. Read on to learn more!
How to Get Started
- Take some time over the weekend to think about your favorite healthy meals. Look through some health-conscious cookbooks, browse Pinterest, and/or consult your family members. Then make a long list of your most healthy, most delicious recipes. This will be your archive for your meal planning.
- Each week, select a few meals from your archive to prepare for the week ahead, and construct your weekly grocery list. Be sure to include healthy snacks, and breakfast options. Neglecting to plan for snacks and breakfast can lead to trouble…like hitting up the office vending machine or stopping by a drive-through on your way home.
- At the grocery store, stick to your list! As always, stay away from processed foods, and foods that are high in sugar and carbs.
- Make large or double batches of your favorite meals and divide them into individual or family-size servings. If necessary, store some meals in the freezer for a later date.
Make it a Habit
It’s important to remember that meal planning might not come naturally at first. It will take some work initially. In fact, it can take more than two months for our actions to become habits, so don’t get discouraged in the beginning. Soon, you will know your favorite, go-to recipes like the back of your hand, and you’ll be able to whip them up in no time.
Bonus: You will save time and money!
Instead of spending time every day to plan, shop, and cook your meals, devote a large portion of one weekend day to do these tasks for the entire week. Condensing the tasks in this way can help to cut back on shopping time, prep-time, and even dishes! Plus, if you work your meal planning around grocery store sales and bulk items, you can make delicious, healthy meals for your family for just a couple of dollars per person.
For everything you’ve ever wanted to know about planning ahead for healthy meals, join us for the T School Healthy Cooking and Food Prep event on Monday, September 21st. Chef Caleb Summers from Evolve Paleo Chef will teach us some delicious, easy, and – most importantly- realistic recipes and tips for cooking healthy meals for your week. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the Evolve kitchen and hang out with your fellow T Schoolers. Click here to learn more!