How To Plan Healthy Meals
It’s probably the #1 thing I see people struggle with when they’re trying to eat healthy. They forget to PLAN! If you think you’re going to stroll into your house after work, think of and cook a healthy meal on the fly, you’re either an amazing chef, or you’re kidding yourself. So let’s get real. Planning is a mandatory step if you want to eat healthy without blowing your budget on prepared meal deliver services. But it’s not difficult and it doesn’t take long. Thirty minutes of planning will save you hours of headaches throughout the week. Here’s what I do and use to plan ahead and make sure I have everything I need to get healthy food on the table. You can start by downloading my FREE Healthy Meal Planner here.
Pick you recipes.
I use Pinterest a lot to find healthy meal ideas and inspiration. You can follow me to see what I’m saving, cooking and eating (it’s not all healthy, but most of it is). And of course, you can pin your favorite Cucina recipes too! For my household of 2 adults, I usually pick out 5 recipes. Here’s why, we generally go out to eat at least 1 night a week, and by mid-week I usually have enough leftovers to do what we call “the fridge clean out buffet.” Those two things make up the difference in not having dinners planned for those nights. I generally only pick dinners because they double as leftovers for lunch the next day (no planning needed there). And for breakfast I just keep a few options in the house like eggs or oats, something easy that my husband can make for himself because our work schedules are off by several hours.
2. Make Your Grocery List.
Once I know what I want to serve, I make my grocery list for the week. Read through each recipe and see if you already have any of the ingredients in the house. Pantry staples for me are things like olive oil, whole grains like quinoa and rice, and canned beans. I almost always keep onions and garlic stocked. And I usually have a pound or two of shrimp stashed in the freezer. Once I know what I have, and what I need, I can plan my week.
3. Check Your Calendar.
Be honest with yourself. If you have a super busy week, but you know you have 2 hours on Tuesday afternoon, tell yourself that’s when you’ll do the shopping. Maybe your day off is Friday…that’s when you should do most of your cooking. Or, if you’re able to have a bit of free time everyday, plan to use some of it to do some cooking! Add your shopping and prep/cooking times to your calendar so you don’t forget and wind up scrambling to get dinner on the table.
4. Get As Much Done In Advance As You Can!
Mondays are usually the day I have to run errands and get things done around the house. It’s also when I do the bulk of my cooking. I usually do things like roast off a whole chicken, and make a HUGE pot of rice that we can pull from all week long. If I know I want roasted veggies, I’ll make a whole sheet pan of them and stash them in the fridge. They can easily be reheated in the toaster or a sauté pan. I’ll hard boil enough eggs for grab and go snacks/breakfasts all week too. Other things you can do to help yourself out is something like chop all your veggies for that week. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge or freeze them so you have them ready and on-hand when it’s time to cook.
5. Get Cooking!
People who cook even 1 night a week at home are generally healthier and have stronger family bonds. Up that to 5 nights a week and you will consume less salt, fat and sugar, even if you DO go out, even if you’re not TRYING to lose weight! Have kids? At 5 home cooked meals a week, they'll get better grades and are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Yea, a home cooked meal can do ALL of that! And if you’re really new to cooking, don’t forget there are over 200 step by step videos available to you for FREE, right here on this site or at youtube.com/carascucina! I’ll guide you through each one so you feel comfortable making it at home!
Buon appetito and stay healthy my friends!
If you feel you might benefit from working with a Health Coach, contact me here for your FREE consultation!