I have always praised meal preparing as a successful method to plan your day better. It saves time, energy, and gives the chance to decide what to eat exactly in a day. But wait a second don’t get me wrong I tried applying it several times and failed like a boss not until I took these steps to make it fit my lifestyle and daily activities better. The transition is always hard at first but trust me the moment you make it you will see for yourself how meal planning saves so much and makes you more efficient on daily basis. Top all of this it saves you a lot of money which is a great bonus. Enough with the praises already? Sure let’s start breaking down the steps and get you started.
1-Determine your food goals
Meal planning got popular with fitness gurus as the method to build a healthy diet. I believe that any food habits you are trying to achieve are easier the moment you transform to meal planning. Whether a vegan, vegetarian, meat eater, raw food lover everyone can suit in the meal planning. So the first step is to determine which food category you are in or want to achieve. High carb? More protein? It’s time to decide that.
2-Find the main elements of a meal
According to the last point decide roughly the main elements in the percentage of each meal you eat. For example, check the healthy food pyramid (vegan diet also has it) and see how much a meal should have carbs, protein, vegetables, fruits,…etc. That will make it easier for later on when you decide on the portions when you prepare the food.
3-Deciding on meals
It’s important to decide whether it’s going to be only lunch or you want to plan for the entire day. That really depends on your lifestyle and timetable. Questions to ask yourself are like where do I eat each meal? If for example, you eat at home sometimes it’s better not to pack it beforehand. But for me personally, I prepare all the meals even if I am staying at home. This saves me the time when I wake up to grab the food and eat it even at home.
4-Deciding which style of meal planning are you
Yes, you heard that correctly. Meal planning has different styles. Don’t get me wrong the styles are in organizing the meals and not the meals themselves.
So the first style is when you prepare one or two meals from each food group for 4 servings and keep them in big containers and each day you fill a microwavable small food container and take it with you. You can mix and match the plate from the serving you prefer. This allows you to buy one microwavable container instead of a set, which saves money.
The second style is you make meals for every day and use the microwavable and freeze friendly divided containers to put them marked in the fridge or freezer and take one with you on daily basis. I sometimes cooked bulk for every meal but organized it in those containers.
The style difference is just a matter of which containers you own and if you are willing to invest. Also, it’s a matter of skills and how much time you want to impose on this change. In all cases, I do till this day both depending on how I am doing on weekly basis.
5-Fitting the cooking day in your schedule
This was easy for me and most of the people I know. So I plan every Saturday the weekly meals I want to try. Accordingly, I write the grocery list and buy the things on weekly basis. Sunday morning is when I cook all recipes, pack, and store them. It takes a maximum of 4 hours and usually I play music to ease myself through it.
6-Ways to get meals
I always suggest you start with your favorite recipes that are easy for you to make. This will make meal preparing at fist easier than complicating it. But be aware you might get bored from repeating meals so twist things up a bit. Your best friend now is Pinterest. It contains so many recipes for every food group and also you can look for easy or fast recipes if you’re starting out. I created for myself a board where I pin my favorite recipes and always get back to it whenever needed.
This isn’t a punishment so make sure to engage your family in the cooking process. Buy containers decorated make fancy recipes you see all around. While cooking watch TV or dance on your favorite songs. And most importantly be proud of yourself you are doing something for yourself for productivity. It could turn into an act of self-love. So Enjoy it!