Meal Planning 101

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So what is so great about meal planning anyway?


the why

Planning my meals has made my life 100x easier. When I first moved out and went to college, I would walk in to a grocery store and have no idea what i was looking for (because I hadn’t even made a list, usually). Then I’d get home and realize I had almost all of the ingredients for a few recipes, but nothing to make a whole recipe. This was extremely frustrating and also an easy way to waste money! What I’ve come to realize though, is that the most important part of meal planning is that it keeps you on track if you are trying to stick to a specific diet, or just avoid fast/processed foods in general! 
 
So other than saving time and money,  why is it so important to plan your meals? Inevitably you will be hungry a few times a day and you will have 2 options- you can either have a healthy snack on hand to eat, or your hunger will take over and you’ll end up consuming whatever you can get your hands on (which is usually not the best thing for you)


the how

For me, the method that works best is planning meals and grocery shopping for about 2 weeks at a time. This doesn’t mean that every last bite is planned 2 weeks ahead. I just have a general idea of meals that I will be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- and depending on the circumstances of each day, I choose one of those meals I’ve planned. 

There are so many resources online for finding recipes. My favorites are pinterest and Skinny Taste. After I pick about 10 dinners (this allows for some days to have left overs and some days to eat out),  I comb through the recipes. I then make a big list and go grocery shopping! 

Now that I’m in a good routine for doing this I have certain things I keep on hand so that I don’t have to buy them as frequently. Some of these items include:

greek yogurt
cottage cheese
frozen berries
canned pineapple
oats
natural peanut butter
low sodium chicken broth
chicken breasts
seasonal veggies/ fruits
brown rice
wheat pasta
turkey sausage
eggs
…………..

I have gotten to the point where I keep a few of my favorite things on hand for breakfast and lunches so at this time I mainly just plan my dinners and snacks.  It’s important to know yourself and your triggers! If there is a certain time of day you get ravenously hungry, have something on hand (at your desk, in your pure or backpack, etc) and eat it before you are starving! 

Good luck with planning your meals! 

And remember

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