It’s 5:30pm and you are staring into your pantry….”hmmmm, what should we have for dinner?”
What usually follows?…
Just grab whatever you can find…
or maybe you pick up the phone and order a pizza for delivery?
We all have done this one time or another.
But if you do this on a daily basis and your waistline is expanding, it’s time to make a NEW plan!
A healthy meal plan that is!
It all starts with figuring out what you want to eat. This is done in advance… before you go grocery shopping.
Take 20 minutes (right now…well after you read this :-), sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Knowing what you are going to eat for the week and having all the ingredients will take the stress off you. Which in turn gets you to those fitness goals quicker.
Plan to make simpler meals on nights that you know you are rushing home or short on time. A crock-pot is a great option. You can prep the ingredients throw them into a zip-lock baggie and toss in freezer. Pull your meal out in the morning, place in crock-pot, come back in 6-8 hours and voila dinner!
Having a quick, backup healthy meal plan on hand for those nights that time is not on your side. My go to is already cooked chicken, broccoli and yams I have already cooked and proportioned out and placed in my freeze for just such an occasion.
I am by no means a “chef”…barely a “cook”….and if it can be made in one pan even better!! You can check out my Simply Slender Cookbook for quick and easy healthy meal plan recipes by clicking here.
Your “Chef” Tools
A big help in the kitchen is to make sure you have the correct cooking tools and have them handy.
You don’t need to blow your budget. Keep it simple.
A good skillet, sharp knives and some Tupperware are a few ideal kitchen items.
Prep Your Food in Advance
As soon as you get home from the grocery store, slice, dice and store your foods. This is great for veggies and your lean proteins. Makes them easy to grab and to snack on!
Also, plan your weekly meals to include similar foods. For instance, if you bake a bunch of chicken you could have baked chicken on Monday, Chicken Wrap on Tuesday, Chicken Soup on Wednesday, Chicken Tortilla on Thursday and Chicken Parm on Friday.
If you don’t like to grocery shop, order your items online and have them delivered. Or you could join a co-op that will drop off your food to you.
Hate to prep? Grocery stores now sell diced, chopped and minced foods for your convenience. The are usually a bit more expensive but well worth it if you are trying to save time. I like to go to the salad bar and get some pre-chopped veggies like onions (I hate cutting them). You could also invest in a food processor.
Can’t stand being chained to the sink and cleaning a ton of dishes?…(like me :-)) …stick to one dish meals or cook several meals at one time so you only have to clean up once. Crock Pot… need I say more.
Pantry Essentials for Healthy Meal Plan
You can make a quick and healthy meals with the following staples:
- Black/red beans
- Canned tomatoes
- Whole grain rice
- Low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- Marinara sauce
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh Mushrooms
- Celery and Carrots
- Frozen chicken/ turkey and fish
- Frozen veggies
- Frozen fruit
This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s like anything else. Once you do it a couple of times you’ll find more short cuts and have more time enjoying your meal with family and friends while keeping you on track with your fitness goals.