You have good intentions. You make a list of nourishing meals for the week, you set out the intention to eat well and decrease the amount of times you order out. You do well for the first few days, but something happens mid-week. Your cravings start to kick in and you notice you are short on food. Where did you go wrong?
Last week, I got me and my boyfriend on the meal planning wagon. We got all our groceries on the Monday and batch cooked some soup and breakfast. It was going so well. We always had something to snack on, we knew what was on the menu, we didn't have to stop by the grocery store after work, it was easy and saved us a lot of time (and money!). But Thursday rolled around and I noticed we accidentally ate 2 servings each of last night's meal and we switched dinners around. I was frustrated, hungry and my PSM cravings were kicking in.
All I wanted was a burger.
On Thursday my schedule got disrupted, I was off my game and I needed to devote some time to studying for my upcoming exam. Meal planning that day was a complete flop. Friday, was even worse. Lunch and dinner came around and I had nothing planned. And for some reason, making decisions when you're hungry is hard and lunch is always the hardest to choose when you are limited.
I've learned a couple of tips and tricks during the week that will help you avoid the same mistakes I've made. Here are some ways you can successfully plan your meals, fuel your body and save money.
Tips for a Successful Meal-Plan
Plan your meals for the week
Now you might find this task overwhelming and resort to your usual pasta, salad and sandwiches combo, but the key here is to find inspiration from your favourite chefs, restaurants or refer to a meal plan from a cook book or meal planning service. My favourite meal planning service is That Clean Life (stay tuned for my review). It's one less thing to do and you get exposed to new meals you never thought of cooking.
Grocery shop and batch cook on Sundays
Depending on your schedule, find a day in the week (I prefer Sundays) to do one big grocery shop for the week and start cooking. Tips: If mornings are often rushed, prep breakfast the night before. A good breakfast you can make is overnight oatmeal that will last for the next 2-3 days in the fridge.
Modify recipes to your liking
If you are following a particular meal plan or recipes, don't be afraid to modify to your liking. If you don't eat meat, swamp it for a vegetarian option (ie. beans). There are appropriate alternatives for everything.
Adapt to changes
There are times when things won't go as planned, you might get held up at work or get invited for dinner, and that's okay. If you get invited for dinner, choose a restaurant that has fuelling and nourishing options. I would also suggest that you keep additional snacks at work or in your purse incase you get stuck at work or need to make an errand. Another great tip is to keep pre-made meals in the freeze in case you feel lazy or are pressed for times.
Remember, cooking and eating should be fun. Don't restrict yourself, listen to your cravings/body and choose what is best for you. There's is no ideal diet, there's only your diet.