Today for my Plate for One series, I'm going to share a peek into how I meal plan for my week. I find that meal planning is even more important when you're alone to avoid wasted food and nights making bad, quick choices. After a string of holidays and vacations, my body is in need of a reset so I'll be following the 21 Day Fix meal plan starting Sunday. This post is based around the program. If you don't have the program, don't fear! Many of these tips can still be applied to your current routine. I've even included a non-21 Day Fix meal planner in the calendar. (If you are interested in the program and don't currently have it, please let me know and we can chat!)
To start, I gather my tools - 21 Day Fix eating guide, Fixate cookbook, printable meal planner, colorful pens, my calendar for the week, and my computer. Having all of the tools in one spot keeps me focused and on task.
Got all of your tools? Great! Let's get on to the steps!
1. Check your calendar to see what's coming up during the week.
This will guide you in determining what you're having. Nights that are less busy are great for cooking meals and doing a little extra meal prep that will help you on your busy nights. I like to plan quick, easy meals for my busy nights. If I have a labor intensive meal planned, it's less likely that I'll make it if I'm tired from the day.
2. Check your kitchen and see what needs to be used.
This helps prevent waste and save money. I have a bad habit of buying things I don't need if I don't look into what I already have on hand. I've also seen a lot of things go bad because I didn't realize it was in the kitchen. That's why I now check the kitchen well prior to meal planning and grocery shopping.
3. Fill in your workouts for the week.
Steps three and four are easily swapped. I like to put my workouts on the meal planner first, but you may prefer to do it last. That's completely up to you. If you're following the 21 Day Fix, I've included a version of the meal planner with workouts already filled in for you. You can click on the picture below to get the free printable!
4. Start planning out your meals.
I like to start with dinner. I can eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday but I need variety when it comes to dinner, which is why I start there. I also like to eat leftovers for lunch on occasion which is why dinner is my starting place. I can't plan for leftovers if I haven't planned out my dinners first. After dinners are on the calendar, I go back and focus on each day, making sure that I have a balance throughout the day. For me, 21 Day Fix is going to help me maintain this balance. If you're using a different system, I recommend making sure you have veggies, protein, fruit, and a small amount of carbs on your menu throughout the day. This will help keep your day healthy. I also try to repeat ingredients in different meals so that I'm not buying an item for just one meal.
5. Create your grocery list.
Go through each item on your plan and determine what food you'll need from the store. Keep in mind what you already have on hand. You don't want to end up with 5 boxes of noodles in your pantry!
6. Time to shop!
Eat something small before you go shopping - this will help prevent weird impulse buys. Stick to your list - only go away from the list if it's something you've realized you really need. By sticking to your list, you'll end up with the good, healthy foods you want in your house and not a bunch of junk that will tempt you. This will help keep you on track and - you guessed it - prevent waste and bad choices!
Don't forget to download your free meal planner!
Do you meal plan or would you like to start? I'd love to hear your method and tips in the comments!