30 Aug 3 Easy Steps To Planning Your Meals A Week At A Time
It’s been a hectic day at work. You woke up a little late this morning, and you didn’t have time to pack a lunch. Now, it’s lunch time, but you don’t even get a full hour before you have to be back, and the only way you’re going to make it through the day is if you eat something. The closest, fastest place just happens to be a fast food joint. One cheat meal couldn’t hurt, right? Right?
Does this scenario sound familiar? If you’re like me, this happens far too often. The problem is that those once-in-a-while cheat meals start to add up, until you’ve had four by the end of the week, and before you know it, you step on the scale and find that it’s gone up. Yikes. But really, what can be done? How can you eat healthy when you simply don’t have the time?
The answer is this: by planning. Make your meals once a week, throw them in the freezer, and take your lunches with you. It’ll save you time, money, and best of all, effort. Here’s how you can plan your first week of meals, with very little hassle.
This first step is simply this: find some recipes you really like (or think you’ll like). If you already have a favorite, relatively easy-to-cook meal, then you’re already ahead of the game. If not, spend some time looking up recipes online. For ideas, try visiting a community of like-minded meal preppers, like this one. There, you’ll get plenty of options to choose from.
The most basic lunch you can make is rice, cooked broccoli, and some grilled chicken. Put it in a divided container, season lightly, and you’re good to go.
Of course, you’ll need some good-quality containers as well. There’s dozens of options to choose from, both online and in-store. Try to get some with spill-proof lids–you’ll thank me later.
Once you’ve got your recipes and containers, it’s time for the next step.
The easiest way to plan exactly what you’ll be eating for the next week is to get out a piece of paper and a pen, and write down exactly what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. If you eat more than three meals a day, write those down, too.
But you can’t just leave it there. If your goal is weight loss, you’ve got to make sure you’re not eating too much. If your goal is to build muscle, you don’t want to eat too little.
Take those meals and input the ingredients into a website like MyFitnessPal.com, and make sure that they align with your calorie goals for each day. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll be given a calorie goal based on your age, gender, and current fitness level. Use it.
If you planned a huge variety of meals, this step can take a while, but trust me, it’s worth it. Plus, if you got your recipe online, MyFitnessPal even has a handy recipe import tool to make things much faster.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the final step. Congratulations; here comes the fun part.
You now know exactly what you need to make. You have your ingredients and your storage containers. The next part is vital: you need to set aside a large chunk of time to make every meal you plan on storing. Whatever you do, don’t make the next day’s food the night before. Eventually, it won’t get done, and you’ll find yourself back at the fast food place.
Most people prepare their meals for the week on Sunday and have them all ready to go before heading back to work on Monday. Any time you devote on the weekend is time you’ve saved for the rest of the week.
Set out all your ingredients and get to cooking. Dish your finished meals into the containers, throw them in the freezer, and just like that, you’re done. For the whole week! It’s a wonderful feeling.
Preparing your meals ahead of time is one of the greatest personal health investments you can make. You’ll save yourself time every day, you’ll save money (buying in bulk and then freezing your meals is extremely cost-effective), and you’ll virtually eliminate temptations from fast food or those all-too-convenient vending machines.
The best part? Once you know exactly what you’ll eat every day and make it align with your calorie goals, you’ll lose that weight faster than ever before.