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  • Writer's pictureJessica Gerlock

Meal Planning Tips and Tricks for Beginners

The whole idea of meal planning at first can be overwhelming to some. It is a healthy habit that only practice will help you learn and master. After one or two meal plans, you will wonder what all the fuss was about. If you meal plan correctly you will not only save time and money, you will eat healthier and it will be more convenient in the end. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to meal planning:

Be Organized

The most helpful tip when it comes to meal planning is be organized. When it comes to eating we all have a certain routine. Start by choosing specific days every week to meal plan, grocery shop and meal prep. Sit down and write your meal plan for the week. Be realistic and practical in your meal plan. Take into account what is going on in your week including working late, kid’s activities and social plans. Also once you have created your meal plan for the week be organized prior to going grocery shopping and make a list of the groceries you will need for the week. All this will save you time and reduce stress.

Choice Best Prep Method

Depending on your schedule and the meal choices you chose to prepare, there are different meal prep methods that may work for you and your schedule. For those who have little time to prep meals, cooking complete meals in advanced to be reheated makes for a super fast meal. Another method is preparing larger portions of a recipe and then portioning them out and freezing for future meals. Those who have health goals might prefer individually portioned meals so they know exactly how much they can consume. If you prefer to cook meals right before serving, prepping ingredients such as vegetables or grains in advance cuts down significantly on kitchen time.

Eat Leftovers

Start making leftovers your best friend. After a long day at work the last thing you want to do is start preparing and having to cook a full dinner. Choose meals that bless you with some leftovers for future meals. You can use leftover proteins like chicken, beef, or shrimp in salads or pastas to switch it up a little from meal to meal.

Use Your Freezer

There is nothing more gratifying after a crazy day than pulling a ready made meal from the freezer. Stock your freezer with staples that you can use for quick meals at any time. The freezer is also great to keep frozen fruits and vegetables for easy use in smoothies and other meals. You can also cook larger portions and freeze half for another meal. Foods like meat sauces, stews, soups, and cooked grains are great frozen for future meals. Make the most of your freezer.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

Take a big deep breathe and don’t get overwhelmed with meal planning and changing your eating habits. No one asked you to change your entire life all at once. Start by meal prepping for one meal. Take it slow. The best advice is just try to be more mindful what you are putting in your body. Take smaller healthy steps toward better eating habits. No one is perfect and no one eats perfectly. Slow and steady wins the race.

Meal planning can become a lifesaver-if you can take the time to actually do it. It can save you money, save you time, and a great way to eat healthier. You don’t have to meal prep for every meal. Start off slowly and adapt to the habit. Be organized and spend some time to prepare for the rest of the week. No matter how organized or motivated you are to meal plan, do not be overwhelmed and allow for some flexibility. No one is perfect, just be more mindful.

Stay Strong!

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