Meal Planning for Long Term Success
By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis
What’s for dinner? Seriously the worst question on the face of this planet because it happens every single day, day after day. Meal planning makes sense for everyone, but it can be trickier when you eat dinner by yourself.
A simple solution is picking up take out on your way home or having something yummy Door Dashed to your front steps. That simple solution can quickly become a habit that is expensive and usually not as great for our bodies as when we eat food we prepare ourselves.
Fast casual places serving woodfired pizza, burgers or Mexican can have just as much caloric damage as traditional fast food. We know how awful fast food can be for us. So where is the happy medium between not cooking every bite of everything from scratch and using some convenience foods?
The balance lies in the plan you create. When you put your week on paper and write in meals brought in at work, lunch or dinner with friends or a simple non-negotiable that you are choosing to eat at a particular place once each week because you LOVE it. Write it down and assess what your week looks like then begin to plan around it.
Plan meals that get you excited about eating. We have clients at our weight loss retreat who are happy to eat the same thing for dinner every night of the week where others can’t fathom the idea but are good with dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day. And some, crave something new every night of the week.
What is your style and need for variety? Do what brings you balance. Making an effort to plan out your week, your recipes and your grocery list will keep you heading in the right direction toward achieving your goals.
Tired of coming up with ideas and finding recipes that work for a party of one? Give www.realplans.com a few minutes of your time. This is a subscription menu planning site that will take your particular eating style (paleo, whole 30, keto, normal healthy, etc), how many servings you need and connect you with a list of amazing recipes from uber popular blogs. You select the recipes you want, and real plans supplies the recipe and a grocery list as well. Two words, game changer.
Here are my three favorite ideas when in a pinch and need something fast, easy and in manageable quantities without eating out or making enough food to feed a small army.
Organic Rotisserie chicken – shred it, top with salsa, black beans, tomatoes, olives, avocado etc and you have created a Mexican bowl that is delicious! Freeze the leftover chicken in the protein portions you eat so you don’t have to have chicken every day for 5 days to use it up.
Individually fresh OR frozen fish can be cooked and enjoyed in 20 minutes or less. Think one pan dinner with a filet of salmon (cook a few extra for the next couple of days and throw on top of a bed of greens for a salmon spinach salad) and baked at 325 for 12-15 minutes. Salad greens, your favorite veggies, like asparagus and little pesto for dressing and a clementine for dessert. Yum!
Use your grocery store salad bar as a place to meal prep. Get a box of salad greens in the produce section but gather all the veggies, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, etc. you love and skip all the chopping, jar opening, time consuming part of meal prepping. It will keep for 2-3 days just fine in your fridge.
You and your goals are worth a few minutes of your time each week to scratch out a meal plan. It’s not as cumbersome as it feels, and it will absolutely be worth it!