These are the meal planning ideas that help keep my mind where it needs to be when I'm actually on my A-game. Maybe they'll help you, too.
You may be surprised- most of these tips aren't about the food at all. It all starts with a proper mindset~
Meal planning is that one thing that has been my nemesis.
For 20 years. And counting.
It seems I have to work on my thoughts daily for any shot at a proper homemade dinner.
Yes. I can cook, bake, and plan. And do it all pretty well if I do say so myself.
And, yes. I'm a professional organizer and create content that hopefully helps you with your home organization efforts. I should have a handle on this.
But meal planning stumps me.
When it comes to dinner, ambition flies out the door along with the kids' late homework assignments.
The following seven planning ideas help me stay on track toward a proper food mindset~I hope they help you too!
Go directly to:
Meal Planning Printable (coming soon)
Meal Planning Recipes (coming soon)
Meal Planning Tips (coming soon)
Vacation Meal Planning (coming soon)
Keep it simple! As with almost every topic here at Order in the Zoo, simplicity rules.
Keep your meals simple and basic- ESPECIALLY if you have little children and are a working mom! I guarantee your children have their favorite meals and snacks. And I almost guarantee they won't, and don't, appreciate your fancy meals that take lots of prep.
Why make things hard on yourself? Find the healthiest version of their favorite foods and rotate them weekly.
Love to plan and cook more elaborate dishes? Save that for a once a week special dinner, maybe a family Sunday tradition.
You've heard it before. Failure to plan is planning to fail.
You HAVE to have some semblance of a plan!
Make a daily, weekly, or monthly menu. Whatever works for you- plan something! With no meal plan, you'll overspend, overeat, and waste time! Ask me how I know~
Prepare and plan ahead as much as possible. (Breakfast meal prep is a great way to get a head start on your day!)
If you know the kiddos are home for lunch and love chicken salad- whip up a batch in the morning. You've just saved time and money because you stopped the temptation of the last minute mickey-d run to feed starving bellies. (why is it when kiddos are hungry food needs to be in the belly RIGHT THAT MOMENT?
When you know what's on the menu for dinner, prep your veggies as you're whipping together the chicken salad. One mess means less to clean up.
I've also found another little morning trick~ When breakfast is over, I get out the pots and pans needed to prepare dinner and set the table if we won't be using it during the day. I'm one step closer to staying on track with my meals. It's a small step, but it seems to be quite effective.
We live in a technology-driven world today. Why not work with it?
Use local delivery and pickup services to your advantage. Don't forget to utilize fancy-schmancy apps, if that's your thing. Both paths will save time and money when used correctly.
What does movement and exercise have to do with meal planning? It's a complete package deal- when you are exercising, you're more motivated to plan and eat better.
You find your real hunger and are less likely to eat out of boredom. When we snack all day, we are never truly hungry. Give your body at least three hours to digest and rest properly, and you'll be more apt to make and eat a proper meal.
You will always feel SO. MUCH. BETTER. Your body is composed of cells, and cells are made of water. When you are properly hydrated, you are more equipped to follow your on-track, meal planning ideas.
Begin even as soon as you awaken, and down a glass of water before anything else. You'll be more alert and already on the right track.
When you have insane cravings and don't feel like following your meal planning ideas, drink a glass of water. Just do it. Your mind needs to stop thinking about what you're craving and change direction. Hydrating can help.
Sometimes my mind could plain 'ole care less about my choices. When I'm honest with myself, I realize I hadn't started on the right foot when I woke up. It's all downhill from there.
Not big on water? Try spa water~ infuse your water with berries or cucumbers and mint in a pretty pitcher.
It's strange, but making a sipper for the day goes a long way to keep my meal planning ideas in check.
Check out my favorite all-day health sipper called the Trim Healthy Mama Hello Health Sipper here.
~honestly warning~ it does have lots of unique, special ingredients you may not have on hand. And it does take a few extra minutes to prep. But, once you get the hang of it, it's a quick couple of minutes with super rewards!
YOU have a choice! You and only you!
You can either: give in to excuses and go down the path that you'll never get healthy meals prepared,
you CAN stop those thoughts in their tracks!
How? Instead of telling yourself I'll never or I can't, instead choose and change your thoughts to I AM a meal planner, and I CHOOSE to make good food choices for my family.
You really do have all the power and control you need~ you have to believe it :)
These meal planning ideas are a work in progress! More in-depth tips and meal plans that work for busy families are coming soon!
PLEASE help by commenting below with your tips and tricks that work for you and your family! We all have enough to think about~ let's get a hold of meal planning together~ we could all benefit with one less item on our minds!
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