Best Tips and Tricks Stress-Free Meal Planning
I’m no super meal planner with each day and each meal planned, but I consider myself a half-assed meal planner. Most of my meals are planned, not all!
But there’s a huge difference in my eating if I use meal planning then when I don’t use meal planning.
When I use meal planning, I give myself a base to work off of and life is more organized. When I don’t use meal planning and try to “wing it”, I make more crappy choices and I feel stressed at each meal time.
I don’t meal plan everything – I stick to what meals reduce stress for me if they are planned. And for me, that’s dinners! Weekdays are busy and if I have my dinners planned then it’s one less thing I have to think about. (Bonus – I use leftovers from dinner to make my lunches all week 😊).
So if being a half-assed meal planner resonates with you – here’s some ways to half ass it:
1- Simplify Meal Planning Create a weekly meal template: Plan out a rough structure for your meals, such as designating specific days for certain types of cuisine (e.g., Italian night, Mexican night) or theme nights (e.g., Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday).
Use a meal planning app or template: Utilize digital tools or printable meal planning templates to organize your meals, ingredients, and shopping lists.
Prep ingredients in bulk: Chop vegetables, cook grains, or prepare proteins in larger quantities and store them in portioned containers for quick and easy assembly throughout the week.
2 - Efficient Grocery Shopping Make a detailed list: Plan your meals in advance and create a comprehensive grocery list to avoid impulse purchases and ensure you have everything you need.
Stick to the perimeter: Most grocery stores place fresh produce, meats, and dairy along the outer aisles, so focus on filling your cart with nutritious whole foods from these sections.
Utilize online grocery delivery or pickup: Save time and avoid crowded stores by taking advantage of online grocery services that offer delivery or pickup options.
3- Meal Prep Hacks Pre-cut vegetables: Wash, peel, and chop vegetables ahead of time to have them ready for cooking or snacking. Store them in airtight containers or resealable bags to maintain freshness.
Marinate proteins in advance: Prepare marinades and marinate meats or tofu overnight to enhance flavor and save time when it's time to cook. Use kitchen gadgets: Invest in time-saving gadgets like a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or air fryer to simplify cooking and meal prep.
4 - Quick and Healthy Meal Options
Sheet pan meals: Toss your choice of protein, vegetables, and seasonings on a sheet pan and bake it all together for a simple, one-pan meal with minimal cleanup.
Stir-fries: Cook a combination of lean protein, colorful vegetables, and a sauce of your choice in a wok or skillet for a nutritious and flavorful meal in minutes.
Mason jar salads: Layer your favorite salad ingredients in a mason jar, starting with the dressing at the bottom and leafy greens on top. When ready to eat, simply shake it up, and you have a fresh and portable salad.
Join the half-ass meal planning tribe! And if you want custom and personalized support through this, reach out anytime!