Many people think that a fulfilling life is created by those big moments and milestones. The truth is, it’s the little things that make up how happy we are. Something as simple as learning how to efficiently plan your meals for your week can bring you more joy because it’s aligning you with deep core values such as your health.
If you want healthy living to be your way of life, you must be willing to take the time and make the effort to incorporate healthy eating habits into your existing routine.
In order to do this, it’s crucial to be well organized and plan ahead. I’ll be transparent. It is a process and it took me years of trial and error to figure out a system that works but once I did find the right approach, it had a huge impact on my life. I wanted to share my meal planning ritual with you with the intention that it can help you take care of your body like the temple that it is and allow you to do all that you love thanks to great health.
If it’s not planned, it’s not real
Just like working out, you have to schedule yourself for success: you’ve got to reserve time in your calendar to plan your meals. I have a reminder on my phone that pops up on Sunday evenings and when it does, I have a simple two step process to efficiently plan my meals for the week:
Look at the week ahead and assess how many meals need to be planned. I review my calendar and see how many lunches and suppers I will need to prep and if I will be out certain times (i.e. don’t need a home cooked meal). I like to take a piece of paper and write down the days of the week and under each I write “lunch” and “supper”. This really helps me visualize what I need to plan for.
Go through favourite recipe resources. Here are some of mine: Pinterest (see bottom of this post for links to my fave food boards), Red Fairy Project food posts, articles I might have saved or emailed to myself, my favourite recipe blogs and of course good old school recipe books. I choose the recipes that inspire me and plug them into each “lunch” and “supper” I need to plan for. Also, if you have food left over in the fridge, consider it in the recipes you choose so nothing goes to waste.
Don’t deny the snack attack
Once I’ve planned my meals, I simply jot down the ingredients I need and either head to the store that night or go on Monday. Another key ingredient to make healthy eating a successful habit is to plan for snacks. Not the chips and cookies type of snacks but rather healthy ones that will sustain you in between meals (protein is key). I cannot survive without my snacks! Here are some of my faves:
*hummus and veggies (carrots, red or yellow peppers, celery)
*apple or banana with almond butter
*spinach and banana smoothie (get recipe here)
*plain greek yogurt with a fruit
*small bowl of gluten free cereal with almond milk and grapes or apple
*Find more healthy snack ideas here.
This is the system that currently works for me and you have to see what works best for you. Remember that the key to your healthy living success is to be realistic about what your needs are based on your lifestyle and to work around that.
The goal shouldn’t be to be perfect but rather do your best and learn from your experiences. If something isn’t working, don’t force it. See how you can readjust and try another approach. Be kind to yourself when you “fall off the wagon” and head to Poutine Ville (my favourite non healthy treat). Just jump back on and consider it a fresh start. Negative self talk will only feed the inner demons that made you want to grab that junk food in the first place.
Let me know if these tips have helped, if there are other healthy living topics you would like me to cover and if you have any questions about meal planning!
Also, share your healthy meals and tag them @redfairyproject to show us how you are making 2016 Your Best Year Yet! Can’t wait to see what you whip up.
My food Pinterest boards:
Feature image via Harley Quinn & Co.